NSCoder is an abstractClass which represents a stream of data. They are used in Archiving and Unarchiving objects. NSCoder objects are usually used in a method that is being implemented so that the class conforms to the protocol. (which has something like encodeObject and decodeObject methods in them).
NSCoder operates on objects, scalars, C arrays, structures, and strings, and on pointers to these types. It does not handle types whose implementation varies across platforms, such as union, void *, function pointers, and long chains of pointers. A coder object stores object type information along with the data, so an object decoded from a stream of bytes is normally of the same class as the object that was originally encoded into the stream.