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CocoaPods Hits 1 Millon Downloads

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Orta Therox, a core contributor to the CocoaPods project, last week announced that the project has now topped 1 million downloads.  This announcement rounds off a year which has seen significant developments in the project and growth in its user base.

CocoaPods is a dependency management tool for programming languages that execute on the Objective-C runtime.  Strongly inspired by RubyGems it has standardized the concept of a Pod, a distribution format for open-source Objective-C libraries.  Each Pod contains the source code for the library along with a Podspec, which contains metadata such as the project homepage, version and required frameworks.  Developers can in turn depend upon Pods by adding them to their project's Podfile, which describes all of the project's third party dependencies.  Taking this approach to dependency management offers a number of benefits:

  • Removes the need to copy third party source code directly into the project or link to external repositories via Git submodules.
  • Simplifies the process of tracking and updating the versions of third party libraries used.
  • Automates any build configuration steps required by third party libraries e.g. linking any required frameworks.

A major focus of the CocoaPods team's efforts this year has been placed on improving the community experience of the tool.  In particular the team re-designed the CocoaPods homepage, re-focusing its attention to discovery of Pods.  Visitors to the CocoPods website are now immediately prompted to search the CocoaPods repository.  This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of searches performed on the site, up from 70,000 to 825,000 per month since last year.

Significant effort has also been directed into automating the administration the main CocoaPods specs repository.  This central repository was previously manually administered with submissions carried out via pull requests.  However this year an automated submission process with built-in authentication mechanisms was introduced.  This has improved the project's throughput of Pod submissions, which have increased from 1,800 in 2013 to 4,200 in 2014.

Rounding of his post Orta alluded to some major plans for the CocoaPods project in 2015. In particular the 0.35 version of the tool has just been released with the inclusion of the new Molinillo dependency resolver.  Developed by Samuel Giddins, with the support of Stripe, Molinillo is generic dependency resolver for CocoaPods and Bundler that offers improved conflict resolution and performance.  Significant ongoing effort is also being placed on introducing Swift support, the progress of which can be observed via a single pull request.

The CocoaPods team has written of guides that will prove useful for developers wishing to begin working with the tool.  In particular the Using CocoaPods guide walks developers through the process of creating an Xcode project that uses CocoaPods for dependency resolution.  Alternatively, developers looking to distribute their projects as Pods should refer to the Making a CocoaPod guide.

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