How should I store UIImages within my Core Data database? How should I store UIImages within my Core Data database? ios ios

How should I store UIImages within my Core Data database?

Storing images within a Core Data database is pretty easy to do. You just need to mark your image attribute as a transformable one and create a subclass of NSValueTransformer. Within that subclass, add code like the following:

+ (Class)transformedValueClass {    return [NSData class]; }+ (BOOL)allowsReverseTransformation {    return YES; }- (id)transformedValue:(id)value {    if (value == nil)        return nil;    // I pass in raw data when generating the image, save that directly to the database    if ([value isKindOfClass:[NSData class]])        return value;    return UIImagePNGRepresentation((UIImage *)value);}- (id)reverseTransformedValue:(id)value{    return [UIImage imageWithData:(NSData *)value];}

For your transformable attribute, specify this subclass's name as the Value Transformer Name.

You can then create an NSManagedObject subclass for the entity hosting this image attribute and declare a property for this image attribute:

@property(nonatomic, retain) UIImage *thumbnailImage;

You can read UIImages from and write UIImages to this property and they will be transparently changed to and from NSData to be stored in the database.

Whether or not to do this depends on your particular case. Larger images probably should not be stored in this manner, or at the least should be in their own entity so that they are not fetched into memory until a relationship to them is followed. Small thumbnail images are probably fine to put in your database this way.

A good example of the image transformer as described above is in the iPhoneCoreDataRecipes demo application.

Apple does provide some advice around BLOBs:Large Data Objects (BLOBs)

If your application uses large BLOBs ("Binary Large OBjects" such as image and sound data), you need to take care to minimize overheads. The exact definition of "small", "modest", and "large" is fluid and depends on an application's usage. A loose rule of thumb is that objects in the order of kilobytes in size are of a "modest" sized and those in the order of megabytes in size are "large" sized. Some developers have achieved good performance with 10MB BLOBs in a database. On the other hand, if an application has millions of rows in a table, even 128 bytes might be a "modest" sized CLOB (Character Large OBject) that needs to be normalized into a separate table.

In general, if you need to store BLOBs in a persistent store, you should use an SQLite store. The XML and binary stores require that the whole object graph reside in memory, and store writes are atomic (see “Persistent Store Features”) which means that they do not efficiently deal with large data objects. SQLite can scale to handle extremely large databases. Properly used, SQLite provides good performance for databases up to 100GB, and a single row can hold up to 1GB (although of course reading 1GB of data into memory is an expensive operation no matter how efficient the repository).

A BLOB often represents an attribute of an entity—for example, a photograph might be an attribute of an Employee entity. For small to modest sized BLOBs (and CLOBs), you should create a separate entity for the data and create a to-one relationship in place of the attribute. For example, you might create Employee and Photograph entities with a one-to-one relationship between them, where the relationship from Employee to Photograph replaces the Employee's photograph attribute. This pattern maximizes the benefits of object faulting (see “Faulting and Uniquing”). Any given photograph is only retrieved if it is actually needed (if the relationship is traversed).

It is better, however, if you are able to store BLOBs as resources on the filesystem, and to maintain links (such as URLs or paths) to those resources. You can then load a BLOB as and when necessary.