ASIHTTPRequest is no more. I know many experienced /Cocoa( Touch)?/ developers who look upon it with heavy disdain, claiming that it was too big, too heavy, too much code, and that most developers wouldn't need all of its functionality. I've heard similar things about other projects, such as the Three20 framework from Facebook.

In almost every case, the complaints about libraries like ASIHTTPRequest are coming from highly experienced and well-respected engineers who understand far more about the low-level details of stuff like HTTP, asynchronous run-loop programming, security, authentication, and RESTful design. Where these complaints AREN'T coming from is less experienced engineers, or from people who don't work exclusively on Apple platforms. For someone who isn't a total Cocoa gearhead, they don't have time to learn the ins and outs of NSURLConnection, or understand how to best make use of NSRunLoop to process lots of requests concurrently in the background. They just want to make network requests, get the responses, and leave dealing with the delicacies of all of it to a library.

Up until very recently, doing anything involving networking in Objective-C required a lot of code. A lot of fragile code that required knowing where the framework was going to help you and where it was going to leave you on your own. A lot of code that was generally not well laid out in the documentation. Doing the wrong thing could lead to hung apps, or apps which crashed due to threading race conditions, or apps which had spurious errors. You can get it right, but it wasn't easy.

While ASIHTTPRequest was not perfect, it got the job done for a lot of people. People shipped real apps with it. It helped countless developers build better network-backed apps than they would have been able to build themselves in the same time. And it was a task pushed largely by the efforts of one guy, Ben Copsey, who certainly received his share of negative responses (including some from myself, which I humbly apologize for) from people who know better than the target audience. As he acknowledges in his blog post, ASIHTTPRequest had its own issues, but "given the vitriol I’ve seen over the last couple of days, I don’t think I want to do this anymore. Life’s too short".

So for those of us who have been around the Cocoa block for awhile (myself included), maybe we can tone down the rhetoric when we offhandedly shoot down the hard work of others, especially when it can help those of us less obsessed with Objective-C.
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