Instant Cocoa uses Serializers to transform string values into Foundation types, like NSDate and NSURL, which are used during mapping.

A serializer is an object that conforms to the ICSerializer protocol, which contains two methods:

- (NSString*)serializedObject:(id)object;
- (id)deserializedObjectFromString:(NSString*)stringRepresentation;

A serializer for a particular property may be specified with a method in the form - (id<ICSerializer>) serializerFor<propertyName>. For instance, if the property is called createdDate, the method to defined a serializer for that property would be -serializerForCreatedDate. Dictionary and JSON mappings will use that serializer to deserialize values for that property.

Instant Cocoa also will currently implicitly use serializers if the correct class is defined. If a serializer exists with the format <Prefix><TargetClassSansPrefix>Serializer, it will automatically be used. For example, for NSURL, the NS will be removed, leaving URL, and the existence of following classes will be checked: ICURLSerializer, NSURLSerializer, and serializers for any custom prefixes that have been added. If any of those classes exist, that serializer will be allocated and used automatically. This is probably going away soon, since it’s implicit nature makes it hard to predict. It will be replaced with an explicit registration model.

Instant Cocoa ships with serializers for Dates and URLs, but serializers can easily be written for other classes, like UIColor.