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MulleFoundation, technically speaking

The class library of mulle-objc is the MulleFoundation. For compatibility its name is shortened in #import statements to just “Foundation”. e.g. #import <Foundation/Foundation.h>.

Dependency Graph MulleFoundation

The MulleFoundation is assembled on a per-platform basis from various components.

Library Contains
MulleObjC NSObject, NSThread, NSAutoreleasePool…
MulleObjCDarwinFoundation OS X specifica (OS X only)
MulleObjCExpatFoundation XML PropertyList support
MulleObjCFoundation NSString, NSArray, NSException, KVC …
MulleObjCICUFoundation NSCalendar…
MulleObjCLinuxFoundation Linux specifica ( Linux only)
MulleObjCPosixFoundation NSTask, NSBundle, NSFileManager…

Required Toolset


The dependencies are managed with mulle-bootstrap. If you clone the MulleFoundation repository, mulle-bootstrap will fetch and build all dependencies.


git is used by mulle-bootstrap to download the dependencies.

cmake (make)

cmake is a cross-platform Makefile generator. It is used instead of autoconf because it is somewhat easier to use and is available on more platforms (Windows).


The mulle-clang compiler is needed to compile the various frameworks. They do not work with a different Objective-C compiler.

Required Libraries

(In addition to those needed by the runtime itself)

Library Use
mulle-sprintf A sprintf style formatted printer, needed for %@ arguments
mulle-objc-runtime The Objective-C Runtime
mulle-utf A unicode library for detection and conversion of Unicode strings.
mulle-container A collection of C data structures

Porting considerations

The Foundation is designed so that you can add and remove Features cleanly and quickly.

  • You don’t have and want Expat/XML ?
    • Rip out the MulleObjCExpatFoundation.
  • libicu is too heavy and you don’t need NSCalendar ?
    • Drop MulleObjCICUFoundation from the build.
  • You want to support another platform ?
    • Don’t obscure the code with #ifdefs but add your platform specific code in categories like MulleObjCDarwinFoundation does.

MulleObjC and MulleObjCFoundation should be ready to run on any platform. For a new platform, try to build on top of MulleObjCPosixFoundation if possible. Otherwise consider creating a MulleObjCCommonFoundation and extracting reusable code from MulleObjCPosixFoundation to MulleObjCCommonFoundation. Then build your MulleObjCPlatformFoundation on top of this MulleObjCCommonFoundation.

If you want to run a different class library with mulle-objc, it would be probably easiest to build on top of MulleObjC.

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