Stenographic way to release all preserved properties?

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We all know an object's properties should be released through its dealloc method, but often for objects with many properties this can be pretty cumbersome. It's kind of a headache especially when adding or removing new properties to remember to go back to dealloc and add and remove release calls.

Is there any method of releasing all of an object's properties generically? I wasn't able to find anything while looking through the docs, but could this be done through reflection if it's not already implemented?

I guess another simple option might be to just place all the properties in an array or other container object and always just release the container. Any other options?


I saw one once (and even used it). It involves using the Objective-C Runtime to loop through the properties of a class, check which ones have either a retain or copy flag, and then set them to nil. Then, your -dealloc implementation can be reduced to something like [self cleanupProperties] or something.

The long story short, however, I've stopped using that because of really wacky problems that I can't explain. I don't know for sure that this is what caused it, but it just seems clever enough that it would have some sort of nasty, unforeseen side-effects.

So, in answer to your question: it's definitely possible, but I'd advise you don't. Use garbage collection if possible! :)