DateTime Ticks With Objective-C

If you need to generate unique strings for every case, the concept of DateTime.Ticks is probably the best solution for you. It represents the count of seconds since the oldest DateTime object available.

However, DateTime.Ticks usage comes from .NET platform and it is that easy in .NET, not in Objective-C.

To generate a ticks number in Objective-C, you need to do the following:

  1. Create an NSDate (01.01.0001), I know, rocking.
  2. Calculate the ticks between this oldest date and [NSDate date] (which means now).
  3. Turn that double variable to an integer. Well, long integer. Or… long long integer. (True story).

Here’s how I did it:

// Create the date formatter
NSDateFormatter *dateFormat = [[NSDateFormatter alloc] init];
[dateFormat setDateFormat:@"yyyyMMdd"];

// Create the oldest day possible
NSDate *ticksDate = [dateFormat dateFromString:@"00010101"];

// Get ticks difference between now and 01.01.0001 in double    
double ticksDouble = [[NSDate date] timeIntervalSinceDate:ticksDate];

// Turn it to a long long int
long long int ticks = llround(ticksDouble);

// Test it
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