objective c - Lightweight migration of nspersistent document

I'm trying to do a lightweight migration of a SQLite store in Core Data. Working on Lion 10.7.3 with Xcode 4.3.1.

In my NSPersistentDocument subclass (AccountDocument), I've overridden the method used to configure the persistent store coordinator so that it gets the proper options for the migration:

- (BOOL)configurePersistentStoreCoordinatorForURL:(NSURL *)url ofType:(NSString *)fileType modelConfiguration:(NSString *)configuration storeOptions:(NSDictionary *)storeOptions error:(NSError **)error
    NSMutableDictionary *newStoreOptions;
    if (storeOptions == nil) {
        newStoreOptions = [NSMutableDictionary dictionary];
    else {
        newStoreOptions = [storeOptions mutableCopy];
    [newStoreOptions setObject:[NSNumber numberWithBool:YES] forKey:NSMigratePersistentStoresAutomaticallyOption];
    [newStoreOptions setObject:[NSNumber numberWithBool:YES] forKey:NSInferMappingModelAutomaticallyOption];

    BOOL result = [super configurePersistentStoreCoordinatorForURL:url ofType:fileType modelConfiguration:configuration storeOptions:newStoreOptions error:error];
    return result;

(Thanks to Malcolm Crawford for that tip: http://homepage.mac.com/mmalc/CocoaExamples/controllers.html)

When I run the app, it fails in NSPersistentDocument's implementation of -managedObjectModel:

* thread #1: tid = 0x2703, 0x00007fff931d9350 libobjc.A.dylib`objc_msgSend_vtable13 + 16, stop reason = EXC_BAD_ACCESS (code=13, address=0x0)
    frame #0: 0x00007fff931d9350 libobjc.A.dylib`objc_msgSend_vtable13 + 16
    frame #1: 0x00007fff8935e975 CoreData`-[NSKnownKeysDictionary1 _setValues:retain:] + 197
    frame #2: 0x00007fff8935f288 CoreData`_newReadModelFromBytes + 648
    frame #3: 0x00007fff8935b93e CoreData`+[NSManagedObjectModel(_NSManagedObjectModelPrivateMethods) _newModelFromOptimizedEncoding:error:] + 9310
    frame #4: 0x00007fff89359451 CoreData`-[NSManagedObjectModel(_NSManagedObjectModelPrivateMethods) initWithContentsOfOptimizedURL:] + 305
    frame #5: 0x00007fff89358d7b CoreData`-[NSManagedObjectModel initWithContentsOfURL:] + 443
    frame #6: 0x00007fff893e9519 CoreData`+[NSManagedObjectModel mergedModelFromBundles:] + 377
    frame #7: 0x00007fff8ded7037 AppKit`-[NSPersistentDocument managedObjectModel] + 301
    frame #8: 0x00007fff8ded70b3 AppKit`-[NSPersistentDocument managedObjectContext] + 75
    frame #9: 0x00007fff8ded6e3f AppKit`-[NSPersistentDocument _persistentStoreCoordinator] + 18
    frame #10: 0x00007fff8ded6b5d AppKit`-[NSPersistentDocument configurePersistentStoreCoordinatorForURL:ofType:modelConfiguration:storeOptions:error:] + 51
    frame #11: 0x0000000100003193 BeanCounter`-[AccountDocument configurePersistentStoreCoordinatorForURL:ofType:modelConfiguration:storeOptions:error:] + 419 at AccountDocument.m:298

From what I can tell from the documentation, the default implementation looks something like this:

- (id)managedObjectModel
    NSManagedObjectModel *result = [NSManagedObjectModel mergedModelFromBundles:nil];
    return result;

So to debug the problem a little more, I overrode that method with this:

- (id)managedObjectModel
    NSBundle *bundle = [NSBundle mainBundle];
    NSURL *url = [bundle URLForResource:@"AccountDocument2" withExtension:@"momd"];
    NSManagedObjectModel *result = [[[NSManagedObjectModel alloc] initWithContentsOfURL:url] autorelease];  
    return result;

(Thanks to Jeff LaMarche for the idea: http://iphonedevelopment.blogspot.com/2009/09/core-data-migration-problems.html)

The bundle and url both point to the places I expect (and I've followed Marcus Zarra's advice to clean the project so there aren't any stray .mom or .momd bundles in the application package: Using mergedModelFromBundles: and versioning (CoreData)). Yet the app continues to crash while loading the model from the url.

I've checked that the AccountDocument2.xcdatamodeld is a package that has two models for versioning: AccountDocument 2.xcdatamodel and (the original) AccountDocument.xcdatamodel. The "Versioned Core Data Model" popup menu in the file properties is set to "AccountDocument 2".

The only difference between the two models is that one Entity has an additional (and optional) Attribute. My understanding is that qualifies the model for a lightweight migration.

Obviously, I'm doing something wrong here, but I have no idea what. Any help would be most appreciated…


Per Martin's suggestion (and a check of the NSPersistentDocument documentation) I tried using this code for the accessor:

- (id)managedObjectModel
    static id sharedManagedObjectModel = nil;

    if (sharedManagedObjectModel == nil) {
        NSBundle *bundle = [NSBundle mainBundle];
        NSURL *url = [bundle URLForResource:@"AccountDocument2" withExtension:@"momd"];
        sharedManagedObjectModel = [[NSManagedObjectModel alloc] initWithContentsOfURL:url];

    return sharedManagedObjectModel;

Still crashing…


After some suggestions on Twitter, I upgraded to Xcode 4.3.2, but the problems persist.


I just created the versioned model package (AccountDocument2.xcdatamodeld) using Xcode 4.2 on Snow Leopard. After building and running the app, everything works as expected.

I then took the AccountDocument2.xcdatamodeld file package back over to Lion and Xcode 4.3.2. When I build and run the app, it continues to crash while loading the .momd resource. Yes kids, that means Xcode 4.3.x and the Data Model Compiler (MOMC) are to blame. I don't see a workaround other than doing all my builds on Snow Leopard.

I'm not one to bash Xcode 4, but when we find ourselves in a situation where the toolchain can't produce an opaque file (.mom and .momd) from an opaque specification (.xcdatamodel and .xcdatamodeld) it's pretty hard to be upbeat about the state of Mac and iOS tools. It's ridiculous that a core component of these platforms breaks to the degree where I can't build and run my app on the latest version of the SDK and developer tools.

It's Come To This Update

More proof that this is a serious bug with the Data Model Compiler (MOMC) in Xcode 4.3.2: if I copy the .momd bundle from the Resource folder created by Xcode 4.2 into my project and add them to the build as a Copy Files build phase, the application works fine.

I also did some tests where I removed validation rules and default values for the Attributes of the various Entities (based on Marcus' suggestion below.) No change, the compiler still creates an invalid .momd. I also tried creating a versioned model where NOTHING was changed: the compiled .momd continued to crash. So whatever you have in your current models (and data they represent) is the source of the problem.

Also of note: this bug is not isolated to NSPersistentDocument (as I originally thought when I started this question.) I can cause an app to crash by just using [[NSManagedObjectModel alloc] initWithContentsOfURL:modelURL].

For now, I'll be editing/versioning my models using Xcode 4.2 on Snow Leopard and moving the compiled resources over to Xcode 4.3.2 on Lion. If you use Core Data in any way, I suggest you do the same until this bug is addressed. Trust me, you'll spend days trying to figure out what the hell is going on if you don't.

Now to submit a Radar…

Radar Update

I just submitted this Radar:


The Oh Crap It Must Be Lion Update

I just downloaded and installed the Xcode 4.2 for Lion tools from http://developer.apple.com/downloads. The sample application used in the Radar still crashes.

(Note: you can't install Xcode 4.2.1 because the certificate used to sign the DeveloperTools.pkg has expired. Only Xcode 4.2 will work.)

If you're under NDA you'll also find that the beta tools aren't helpful either.

Hope you have a copy of Snow Leopard with Xcode 4.2 sitting around: http://furbo.org/2012/03/28/vmware-for-developers/

The WTF Do Fetch Requests Have To Do With Versioned Entities and Attributes Update

Via Evadne Wu on Twitter:


And how she did it:


(.mom files are binary plists.)

The root of the problem is a single Fetch Request. How that figures into a migration of data from one model to another is for an engineer at Apple to figure out.

This question and all comments follow the "Attribution Required."

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