Chloe  Butler

Chloe Butler

1667691420

Gedcom: A Perl Module to Manipulate Gedcom Genealogy Files

Gedcom - a module to manipulate GEDCOM genealogy files

SYNOPSIS

use Gedcom;

my $ged = Gedcom->new;
my $ged = Gedcom->new($gedcom_file);
my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_version => "5.5.1",
                      gedcom_file     => $gedcom_file,
                      read_only       => 1,
                      callback        => $cb);
my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_file => "gedcom-5.5.grammar",
                      gedcom_file  => $gedcom_file);

return unless $ged->validate;
my $xref = $self->resolve_xref($value);
$ged->resolve_xrefs;
$ged->unresolve_xrefs;
$ged->normalise_dates;
my %xrefs = $ged->renumber;
$ged->order;
$ged->set_encoding("utf-8");
$ged->write($new_gedcom_file, $flush);
$ged->write_xml($new_xml_file);
my @individuals = $ged->individuals;
my @families = $ged->families;
my $me = $ged->get_individual("Paul Johnson");
my $xref = $ged->next_xref("I");
my $record = $ged->add_header;
                   add_submitter
                   add_individual
                   add_family
                   add_note
                   add_repository
                   add_source
                   add_trailer
my $source = $ged->get_source("S1");

DESCRIPTION

This module provides for manipulation of GEDCOM files. GEDCOM is a format for storing genealogical information designed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (http://www.lds.org). Information about GEDCOM used to be available as a zip file at ftp://gedcom.org/pub/genealogy/gedcom/gedcom55.zip. That may still be the case, but it seems to be password protected now. However, the document in that archive seems to be available in a somewhat more accessible format at https://chronoplexsoftware.com/gedcomvalidator/gedcom/gedcom-5.5.pdf.

Requirements:

Perl 5.005 or later
ActivePerl5 Build Number 520 or later has been reported to work

Optional Modules:

Date::Manip.pm       to work with dates
Text::Soundex.pm     to use soundex
Parse::RecDescent.pm to use lines2perl
Roman.pm             to use the LifeLines function roman from lines2perl

The GEDCOM format is specified in a grammar file (gedcom-5.5.grammar). Gedcom.pm parses the grammar which is then used to validate and allow manipulation of the GEDCOM file. I have only used Gedcom.pm with versions 5.5 and 5.5.1 of the GEDCOM grammar, which I had to modify slightly to correct a few errors. The advantage of this approach is that Gedcom.pm should be useful if the GEDCOM grammar is ever updated. It also made the software easier to write, and probably more dependable too. I suppose this is the virtue of laziness shining through.

The vice of laziness is also shining brightly - I need to document how to use this module in much greater detail. This is happening - this release has more documentation than the previous ones - but if you would like information feel free to send me mail or better still, ask on the mailing list.

This module provides some functions which work over the entire GEDCOM file, such as reformatting dates, renumbering entries and ordering the entries. It also allows access to individuals, and then to relations of individuals, for example sons, siblings, spouse, parents and so forth.

The distribution includes a lines2perl program to convert LifeLines programs to Perl. The program works, but it has a few rough edges, and some missing functionality. I'll be working on it when it hits the top of my TODO list.

There is now an option for read only access to the GEDCOM file. Actually, this doesn't stop you changing or writing the file, but it does parse the GEDCOM file lazily, meaning that only those portions of the GEDCOM file which are needed will be read. This can provide a substantial saving of time and memory providing that not too much of the GEDCOM file is read. If you are going to read the whole GEDCOM file, this mode is less efficient unless you do some manual housekeeping.

Should you find this software useful, or if you make changes to it, or if you would like me to make changes to it, please send me mail. I would like to have some sort of an idea of the use this software is getting. Apart from being of interest to me, this will guide my decisions when I feel the need to make changes to the interface.

There is a low volume mailing list available for discussing the use of Perl in conjunction with genealogical work. This is an appropriate forum for discussing Gedcom.pm and if you use or are interested in this module I would encourage you to join the list. To subscribe send an empty message to perl-gedcom-subscribe@perl.org.

To store my genealogy I wrote a syntax file (gedcom.vim) and used vim (http://www.vim.org) to enter the data, and Gedcom.pm to validate and manipulate it. I find this to be a nice solution.

GETTING STARTED

This space is reserved for something of a tutorial. If you learn best by looking at examples, take a look at the test directory, t. The most simple test is birthdates.t.

The first thing to do is to read in the GEDCOM file. At its most simple, this will involve a statement such as

my $ged = Gedcom->new($gedcom_file);

It is now possible to access the records within the GEDCOM file. Each individual and family is a record. Records can contain other records. For example, an individual is a record. The birth information is a sub-record of the individual, and the date of birth is a sub-record of the birth record.

Some records, such as the birth record, are simply containers for other records. Some records have a value, such as the date record, whose value is a date. This is all defined in the GEDCOM standard.

To access an individual use a statement such as

my $i = $ged->get_individual("Paul Johnson");

To access information about the individual, use a function of the same name as the GEDCOM tag, or its description. Tags and descriptions are listed at the head of Gedcom.pm. For example

for my $b ($i->birth) {
}

will loop through all the birth records in the individual. Usually there will only be one such record, but there may be zero, one or more. Calling the function in scalar context will return only the first record.

my $b = $i->birth;

But the second record may be returned with

my $b = $i->birth(2);

If the record required has a value, for example

my $n = $i->name;

then the value is returned, in this case the name of the individual. If there is no value, as is the case for the birth record, then the record itself is returned. If there is a value, but the record itself is required, then the get_record() function can be used.

Information must be accessed through the GEDCOM structure so, for example, the birthdate is accessed via the date record from the birth record within an individual.

my $d = $b->date;

Be aware that if you access a record in scalar context, but there is no such record, then undef is returned. In this case, $d would be undef if $b had no date record. This is another reason why looping through records is a nice solution, all else being equal.

Access to values can also be gained through the get_value() function. This is a preferable solution where it is necessary to work down the GEDCOM structure. For example

my $bd = $i->get_value("birth date");
my $bd = $i->get_value(qw(birth date));

will both return an individual's birth date or undef if there is none. And

my @bd = $i->get_value("birth date");

will return all the birth dates. The second birth date, if there is one, is

my $bd2 = $i->get_value(["birth", 2], "date");

Using the get_record() function in place of the get_value() function, in all cases will return the record rather than the value.

All records are of a type derived from Gedcom::Item. Individuals are of type Gedcom::Individual. Families are of type Gedcom::Family. Events are of type Gedcom::Event. Other records are of type Gedcom::Record which is the base type of Gedcom::Individual, Gedcom::Family and Gedcom::Event.

As individuals are of type Gedcom::Individual, the functions in Gedcom::Individual.pm are available. These allow access to relations and other information specific to individuals, for example

my @sons = $i->sons;

It is possible to get all the individuals in the GEDCOM file as

my @individuals = $ged->individuals;

So putting everything together, here is a little program which will print out the names and birthdates of everyone in a GEDCOM file specified on the command line.

#!/bin/perl -w

use strict;
use Gedcom;

my $ged = Gedcom->new(shift);

for my $i ($ged->individuals) {
    for my $bd ($i->get_value("birth date")) {
        print $i->name, " was born on $bd\n";
    }
}

HASH MEMBERS

I have not gone the whole hog with data encapsulation and such within this module. Maybe I should have done. Maybe I will. For now though, the data is accessible though hash members. This is partly because having functions to do this is a little slow, especially on my old DECstation, and partly because of laziness again. I'm not too sure whether this is good or bad laziness yet. Time will tell no doubt.

As of version 1.05, you should be able to access all the data through functions, and as of version 1.10 write access is available. I have a faster machine now.

Some of the more important hash members are:

$ged->{grammar}

This contains the GEDCOM grammar.

See Gedcom::Grammar.pm for more details.

$ged->{record}

This contains the top level gedcom record. A record contains a number of items. Each of those items are themselves records. This is the way in which the hierarchies are modelled.

If you want to get at the data in the gedcom object, this is where you start.

See Gedcom::Record.pm for more details.

METHODS

new

my $ged = Gedcom->new;

my $ged = Gedcom->new($gedcom_file);

my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_version => "5.5.1",
                      gedcom_file     => $gedcom_file,
                      read_only       => 1,
                      callback        => $cb);

my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_file => "gedcom-5.5.grammar",
                      gedcom_file  => $gedcom_file);

Create a new gedcom object.

gedcom_file is the name of the GEDCOM file to parse. If you do not supply a gedcom_file parameter then you will get an empty Gedcom object, empty that is apart from a few mandatory records.

You may optionally pass grammar_version as the version number of the GEDCOM grammar you want to use. There are two versions available, 5.5 and 5.5.1. If you do not specify a grammar version, you may specify a grammar file as grammar_file. Usually, you will do neither of these, and in this case the grammar version will default to the latest full available version, currently 5.5. 5.5.1 is only a draft, but it is available if you specify it.

The read_only parameter indicates that the Gedcom data structure will be used primarily for read_only operations. In this mode the GEDCOM file is read lazily, such that whenever possible the Gedcom records are not read until they are needed. This can save on both memory and CPU usage, provided that not too much of the GEDCOM file is needed. If the whole of the GEDCOM file needs to be read, for example to validate it, or to write it out in a different format, then this option should not be used.

When using the read_only option an index file is kept which can also speed up operations. It's usage should be transparent, but will require write access to the directory containing the GEDCOM file. If you access individuals only by their xref (eg I20) then the index file will allow only the relevant parts of the GEDCOM file to be read.

With or without the read_only option, the GEDCOM file is accessed in the same fashion and the data structures can be changed. In this respect, the name read_only is not particularly accurate, but since changing the Gedcom data will generally mean that the data will be written which means that the data will first be read, the read_only option is generally useful when the data will not be written and when not all the data will be read. You may find it useful to experiment with this option and check the amount of CPU time and memory that your application uses. You may also need to read this paragraph a few times to understand it. Sorry.

callback is an optional reference to a subroutine which will be called at various times while the GEDCOM file (and the grammar file, if applicable) is being read. Its purpose is to provide feedback during potentially long operations. The subroutine is called with five arguments:

my ($title, $txt1, $txt2, $current, $total) = @_;

$title is a brief description of the current operation
$txt1 and $txt2 provide more information on the current operation
$current is the number of operations performed
$total is the number of operations that need to be performed

If the subroutine returns false, the operation is aborted.

set_encoding

$ged->set_encoding("utf-8");

Valid arguments are "ansel" and "utf-8". Defaults to "ansel" but is set to "utf-8" if the GEDCOM data was read from a file which was deemed to contain UTF-8, either due to the presence of a BOM or as specified by a CHAR item.

Set the encoding for the GEDCOM file. Calling this directly doesn't alter the CHAR item, but does affect the way in which files are written.

write

$ged->write($new_gedcom_file, $flush);

Write out the GEDCOM file.

Takes the name of the new GEDCOM file, and whether or not to indent the output according to the level of the record. $flush defaults to false, but the new file name must be specified.

write_xml

$ged->write_xml($new_xml_file);

Write the GEDCOM file as XML.

Takes the name of the new GEDCOM file.

Note that this function is experimental. The XML output doesn't conform to any standard; it's just me trying to turn the GEDCOM format into sensible XML.

collect_xrefs

$ged->collect_xrefs($callback);

Collect all the xrefs into a data structure ($ged->{xrefs}) for easy location. $callback is not used yet.

Called by new().

resolve_xref

my $xref = $self->resolve_xref($value);

Return the record $value points to, or undef.

resolve_xrefs

$ged->resolve_xrefs($callback);

Changes all xrefs to reference the record they are pointing to. Like changing a soft link to a hard link on a Unix filesystem. $callback is not used yet.

unresolve_xrefs

$ged->unresolve_xrefs($callback);

Changes all xrefs to name the record they contained. Like changing a hard link to a soft link on a Unix filesystem. $callback is not used yet.

validate

return unless $ged->validate($callback);

Validate the Gedcom object. This performs a number of consistency checks, but could do even more. $callback is not properly used yet.

Any errors found are given out as warnings. If this is unwanted, use $SIG{__WARN__} to catch the warnings.

Returns true iff the Gedcom object is valid.

normalise_dates

$ged->normalise_dates;
$ged->normalise_dates("%A, %E %B %Y");

Change all recognised dates into a consistent format. This routine uses Date::Manip to do the work, so you can look at its documentation regarding formats that are recognised and % sequences for the output.

Optionally takes a format to use for the output. The default is currently "%A, %E %B %Y", but I may change this, as it seems that some programs don't like that format.

renumber

$ged->renumber;
my %xrefs = $ged->renumber(INDI => 34, FAM => 12, xrefs => [$xref1, $xref2]);

Renumber all the records.

Optional parameters are:

tag name => last used number (defaults to 0)
xrefs    => list of xrefs to renumber first

As a record is renumbered, it is assigned the next available number. The husband, wife, children, parents and siblings are then renumbered in that order. This helps to ensure that families are numerically close together.

The hash returned is the updated hash that was passed in.

sort_sub

$ged->order($ged->sort_sub);

Default ordering subroutine.

The sort is by record type in the following order: HEAD, SUBM, INDI, FAM, NOTE, TRLR, and then by xref within the type.

order

$ged->order;
$ged->order($order_sub);

Order all the records. Optionally provide a sort subroutine.

This orders the entries within the Gedcom object, which will affect the order in which they are written out. The default sort function is Gedcom::sort_sub. You will need to ensure that the HEAD record is first and that the TRLR record is last.

individuals

my @individuals = $ged->individuals;

Return a list of all the individuals.

families

my @families = $ged->families;

Return a list of all the families.

get_individual

my $me = $ged->get_individual("Paul Johnson");

Return a list of all individuals matching the specified name.

There are thirteen matches performed, in decreasing order of exactitude. This means that the more likely matches are at the head of the list.

In scalar context return the first match found.

The matches are:

 1 - Xref
 2 - Exact
 3 - On word boundaries
 4 - Anywhere
 5 - Exact, case insensitive
 6 - On word boundaries, case insensitive
 7 - Anywhere, case insensitive
 8 - Names in any order, on word boundaries
 9 - Names in any order, anywhere
10 - Names in any order, on word boundaries, case insensitive
11 - Names in any order, anywhere, case insensitive
12 - Soundex code
13 - Soundex of name

next_xref

my $xref = $ged->next_xref("I");

Return the next available xref with the specified prefix.

add_record

   add_header
   add_submitter
   add_individual
   add_family
   add_note
   add_repository
   add_source
   add_trailer

Create and return a new record of the specified type.

Normally you will not want to pass any arguments to the function. Those functions which have an xref (ie not header or trailer) accept an optional first argument { xref => $x } which will use $x as the xref rather than letting the module automatically choose the xref.

add_note also accepts an optional second argument which is the text to be used on the first line of the note.

get_record

   get_header
   get_submitter
   get_family
   get_note
   get_repository
   get_source
   get_trailer

Return all records of the specified type. In scalar context just return the first record. If a parameter is passed in, just return records of that xref.

LICENCE

Copyright 1998-2019, Paul Johnson (paul@pjcj.net)

This software is free. It is licensed under the same terms as Perl itself.

The latest version of this software should be available from my homepage: http://www.pjcj.net


Download Details:

Author: pjcj
Source Code: https://github.com/pjcj/Gedcom.pm

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Gedcom: A Perl Module to Manipulate Gedcom Genealogy Files

Swift Tips: A Collection Useful Tips for The Swift Language

SwiftTips

The following is a collection of tips I find to be useful when working with the Swift language. More content is available on my Twitter account!

Property Wrappers as Debugging Tools

Property Wrappers allow developers to wrap properties with specific behaviors, that will be seamlessly triggered whenever the properties are accessed.

While their primary use case is to implement business logic within our apps, it's also possible to use Property Wrappers as debugging tools!

For example, we could build a wrapper called @History, that would be added to a property while debugging and would keep track of all the values set to this property.

import Foundation

@propertyWrapper
struct History<Value> {
    private var value: Value
    private(set) var history: [Value] = []

    init(wrappedValue: Value) {
        self.value = wrappedValue
    }
    
    var wrappedValue: Value {
        get { value }

        set {
            history.append(value)
            value = newValue
        }
    }
    
    var projectedValue: Self {
        return self
    }
}

// We can then decorate our business code
// with the `@History` wrapper
struct User {
    @History var name: String = ""
}

var user = User()

// All the existing call sites will still
// compile, without the need for any change
user.name = "John"
user.name = "Jane"

// But now we can also access an history of
// all the previous values!
user.$name.history // ["", "John"]

Localization through String interpolation

Swift 5 gave us the possibility to define our own custom String interpolation methods.

This feature can be used to power many use cases, but there is one that is guaranteed to make sense in most projects: localizing user-facing strings.

import Foundation

extension String.StringInterpolation {
    mutating func appendInterpolation(localized key: String, _ args: CVarArg...) {
        let localized = String(format: NSLocalizedString(key, comment: ""), arguments: args)
        appendLiteral(localized)
    }
}


/*
 Let's assume that this is the content of our Localizable.strings:
 
 "welcome.screen.greetings" = "Hello %@!";
 */

let userName = "John"
print("\(localized: "welcome.screen.greetings", userName)") // Hello John!

Implementing pseudo-inheritance between structs

If youโ€™ve always wanted to use some kind of inheritance mechanism for your structs, Swift 5.1 is going to make you very happy!

Using the new KeyPath-based dynamic member lookup, you can implement some pseudo-inheritance, where a type inherits the API of another one ๐ŸŽ‰

(However, be careful, Iโ€™m definitely not advocating inheritance as a go-to solution ๐Ÿ™ƒ)

import Foundation

protocol Inherits {
    associatedtype SuperType
    
    var `super`: SuperType { get }
}

extension Inherits {
    subscript<T>(dynamicMember keyPath: KeyPath<SuperType, T>) -> T {
        return self.`super`[keyPath: keyPath]
    }
}

struct Person {
    let name: String
}

@dynamicMemberLookup
struct User: Inherits {
    let `super`: Person
    
    let login: String
    let password: String
}

let user = User(super: Person(name: "John Appleseed"), login: "Johnny", password: "1234")

user.name // "John Appleseed"
user.login // "Johnny"

Composing NSAttributedString through a Function Builder

Swift 5.1 introduced Function Builders: a great tool for building custom DSL syntaxes, like SwiftUI. However, one doesn't need to be building a full-fledged DSL in order to leverage them.

For example, it's possible to write a simple Function Builder, whose job will be to compose together individual instances of NSAttributedString through a nicer syntax than the standard API.

import UIKit

@_functionBuilder
class NSAttributedStringBuilder {
    static func buildBlock(_ components: NSAttributedString...) -> NSAttributedString {
        let result = NSMutableAttributedString(string: "")
        
        return components.reduce(into: result) { (result, current) in result.append(current) }
    }
}

extension NSAttributedString {
    class func composing(@NSAttributedStringBuilder _ parts: () -> NSAttributedString) -> NSAttributedString {
        return parts()
    }
}

let result = NSAttributedString.composing {
    NSAttributedString(string: "Hello",
                       attributes: [.font: UIFont.systemFont(ofSize: 24),
                                    .foregroundColor: UIColor.red])
    NSAttributedString(string: " world!",
                       attributes: [.font: UIFont.systemFont(ofSize: 20),
                                    .foregroundColor: UIColor.orange])
}

Using switch and if as expressions

Contrary to other languages, like Kotlin, Swift does not allow switch and if to be used as expressions. Meaning that the following code is not valid Swift:

let constant = if condition {
                  someValue
               } else {
                  someOtherValue
               }

A common solution to this problem is to wrap the if or switch statement within a closure, that will then be immediately called. While this approach does manage to achieve the desired goal, it makes for a rather poor syntax.

To avoid the ugly trailing () and improve on the readability, you can define a resultOf function, that will serve the exact same purpose, in a more elegant way.

import Foundation

func resultOf<T>(_ code: () -> T) -> T {
    return code()
}

let randomInt = Int.random(in: 0...3)

let spelledOut: String = resultOf {
    switch randomInt {
    case 0:
        return "Zero"
    case 1:
        return "One"
    case 2:
        return "Two"
    case 3:
        return "Three"
    default:
        return "Out of range"
    }
}

print(spelledOut)

Avoiding double negatives within guard statements

A guard statement is a very convenient way for the developer to assert that a condition is met, in order for the execution of the program to keep going.

However, since the body of a guard statement is meant to be executed when the condition evaluates to false, the use of the negation (!) operator within the condition of a guard statement can make the code hard to read, as it becomes a double negative.

A nice trick to avoid such double negatives is to encapsulate the use of the ! operator within a new property or function, whose name does not include a negative.

import Foundation

extension Collection {
    var hasElements: Bool {
        return !isEmpty
    }
}

let array = Bool.random() ? [1, 2, 3] : []

guard array.hasElements else { fatalError("array was empty") }

print(array)

Defining a custom init without loosing the compiler-generated one

It's common knowledge for Swift developers that, when you define a struct, the compiler is going to automatically generate a memberwise init for you. That is, unless you also define an init of your own. Because then, the compiler won't generate any memberwise init.

Yet, there are many instances where we might enjoy the opportunity to get both. As it turns out, this goal is quite easy to achieve: you just need to define your own init in an extension rather than inside the type definition itself.

import Foundation

struct Point {
    let x: Int
    let y: Int
}

extension Point {
    init() {
        x = 0
        y = 0
    }
}

let usingDefaultInit = Point(x: 4, y: 3)
let usingCustomInit = Point()

Implementing a namespace through an empty enum

Swift does not really have an out-of-the-box support of namespaces. One could argue that a Swift module can be seen as a namespace, but creating a dedicated Framework for this sole purpose can legitimately be regarded as overkill.

Some developers have taken the habit to use a struct which only contains static fields to implement a namespace. While this does the job, it requires us to remember to implement an empty private init(), because it wouldn't make sense for such a struct to be instantiated.

It's actually possible to take this approach one step further, by replacing the struct with an enum. While it might seem weird to have an enum with no case, it's actually a very idiomatic way to declare a type that cannot be instantiated.

import Foundation

enum NumberFormatterProvider {
    static var currencyFormatter: NumberFormatter {
        let formatter = NumberFormatter()
        formatter.numberStyle = .currency
        formatter.roundingIncrement = 0.01
        return formatter
    }
    
    static var decimalFormatter: NumberFormatter {
        let formatter = NumberFormatter()
        formatter.numberStyle = .decimal
        formatter.decimalSeparator = ","
        return formatter
    }
}

NumberFormatterProvider() // โŒ impossible to instantiate by mistake

NumberFormatterProvider.currencyFormatter.string(from: 2.456) // $2.46
NumberFormatterProvider.decimalFormatter.string(from: 2.456) // 2,456

Using Never to represent impossible code paths

Never is quite a peculiar type in the Swift Standard Library: it is defined as an empty enum enum Never { }.

While this might seem odd at first glance, it actually yields a very interesting property: it makes it a type that cannot be constructed (i.e. it possesses no instances).

This way, Never can be used as a generic parameter to let the compiler know that a particular feature will not be used.

import Foundation

enum Result<Value, Error> {
    case success(value: Value)
    case failure(error: Error)
}

func willAlwaysSucceed(_ completion: @escaping ((Result<String, Never>) -> Void)) {
    completion(.success(value: "Call was successful"))
}

willAlwaysSucceed( { result in
    switch result {
    case .success(let value):
        print(value)
    // the compiler knows that the `failure` case cannot happen
    // so it doesn't require us to handle it.
    }
})

Providing a default value to a Decodable enum

Swift's Codable framework does a great job at seamlessly decoding entities from a JSON stream. However, when we integrate web-services, we are sometimes left to deal with JSONs that require behaviors that Codable does not provide out-of-the-box.

For instance, we might have a string-based or integer-based enum, and be required to set it to a default value when the data found in the JSON does not match any of its cases.

We might be tempted to implement this via an extensive switch statement over all the possible cases, but there is a much shorter alternative through the initializer init?(rawValue:):

import Foundation

enum State: String, Decodable {
    case active
    case inactive
    case undefined
    
    init(from decoder: Decoder) throws {
        let container = try decoder.singleValueContainer()
        let decodedString = try container.decode(String.self)
        
        self = State(rawValue: decodedString) ?? .undefined
    }
}

let data = """
["active", "inactive", "foo"]
""".data(using: .utf8)!

let decoded = try! JSONDecoder().decode([State].self, from: data)

print(decoded) // [State.active, State.inactive, State.undefined]

Another lightweight dependency injection through default values for function parameters

Dependency injection boils down to a simple idea: when an object requires a dependency, it shouldn't create it by itself, but instead it should be given a function that does it for him.

Now the great thing with Swift is that, not only can a function take another function as a parameter, but that parameter can also be given a default value.

When you combine both those features, you can end up with a dependency injection pattern that is both lightweight on boilerplate, but also type safe.

import Foundation

protocol Service {
    func call() -> String
}

class ProductionService: Service {
    func call() -> String {
        return "This is the production"
    }
}

class MockService: Service {
    func call() -> String {
        return "This is a mock"
    }
}

typealias Provider<T> = () -> T

class Controller {
    
    let service: Service
    
    init(serviceProvider: Provider<Service> = { return ProductionService() }) {
        self.service = serviceProvider()
    }
    
    func work() {
        print(service.call())
    }
}

let productionController = Controller()
productionController.work() // prints "This is the production"

let mockedController = Controller(serviceProvider: { return MockService() })
mockedController.work() // prints "This is a mock"

Lightweight dependency injection through protocol-oriented programming

Singletons are pretty bad. They make your architecture rigid and tightly coupled, which then results in your code being hard to test and refactor. Instead of using singletons, your code should rely on dependency injection, which is a much more architecturally sound approach.

But singletons are so easy to use, and dependency injection requires us to do extra-work. So maybe, for simple situations, we could find an in-between solution?

One possible solution is to rely on one of Swift's most know features: protocol-oriented programming. Using a protocol, we declare and access our dependency. We then store it in a private singleton, and perform the injection through an extension of said protocol.

This way, our code will indeed be decoupled from its dependency, while at the same time keeping the boilerplate to a minimum.

import Foundation

protocol Formatting {
    var formatter: NumberFormatter { get }
}

private let sharedFormatter: NumberFormatter = {
    let sharedFormatter = NumberFormatter()
    sharedFormatter.numberStyle = .currency
    return sharedFormatter
}()

extension Formatting {
    var formatter: NumberFormatter { return sharedFormatter }
}

class ViewModel: Formatting {
    var displayableAmount: String?
    
    func updateDisplay(to amount: Double) {
        displayableAmount = formatter.string(for: amount)
    }
}

let viewModel = ViewModel()

viewModel.updateDisplay(to: 42000.45)
viewModel.displayableAmount // "$42,000.45"

Getting rid of overabundant [weak self] and guard

Callbacks are a part of almost all iOS apps, and as frameworks such as RxSwift keep gaining in popularity, they become ever more present in our codebase.

Seasoned Swift developers are aware of the potential memory leaks that @escaping callbacks can produce, so they make real sure to always use [weak self], whenever they need to use self inside such a context. And when they need to have self be non-optional, they then add a guard statement along.

Consequently, this syntax of a [weak self] followed by a guard rapidly tends to appear everywhere in the codebase. The good thing is that, through a little protocol-oriented trick, it's actually possible to get rid of this tedious syntax, without loosing any of its benefits!

import Foundation
import PlaygroundSupport

PlaygroundPage.current.needsIndefiniteExecution = true

protocol Weakifiable: class { }

extension Weakifiable {
    func weakify(_ code: @escaping (Self) -> Void) -> () -> Void {
        return { [weak self] in
            guard let self = self else { return }
            
            code(self)
        }
    }
    
    func weakify<T>(_ code: @escaping (T, Self) -> Void) -> (T) -> Void {
        return { [weak self] arg in
            guard let self = self else { return }
            
            code(arg, self)
        }
    }
}

extension NSObject: Weakifiable { }

class Producer: NSObject {
    
    deinit {
        print("deinit Producer")
    }
    
    private var handler: (Int) -> Void = { _ in }
    
    func register(handler: @escaping (Int) -> Void) {
        self.handler = handler
        
        DispatchQueue.main.asyncAfter(deadline: .now() + 1.0, execute: { self.handler(42) })
    }
}

class Consumer: NSObject {
    
    deinit {
        print("deinit Consumer")
    }
    
    let producer = Producer()
    
    func consume() {
        producer.register(handler: weakify { result, strongSelf in
            strongSelf.handle(result)
        })
    }
    
    private func handle(_ result: Int) {
        print("๐ŸŽ‰ \(result)")
    }
}

var consumer: Consumer? = Consumer()

consumer?.consume()

DispatchQueue.main.asyncAfter(deadline: .now() + 2.0, execute: { consumer = nil })

// This code prints:
// ๐ŸŽ‰ 42
// deinit Consumer
// deinit Producer

Solving callback hell with function composition

Asynchronous functions are a big part of iOS APIs, and most developers are familiar with the challenge they pose when one needs to sequentially call several asynchronous APIs.

This often results in callbacks being nested into one another, a predicament often referred to as callback hell.

Many third-party frameworks are able to tackle this issue, for instance RxSwift or PromiseKit. Yet, for simple instances of the problem, there is no need to use such big guns, as it can actually be solved with simple function composition.

import Foundation

typealias CompletionHandler<Result> = (Result?, Error?) -> Void

infix operator ~>: MultiplicationPrecedence

func ~> <T, U>(_ first: @escaping (CompletionHandler<T>) -> Void, _ second: @escaping (T, CompletionHandler<U>) -> Void) -> (CompletionHandler<U>) -> Void {
    return { completion in
        first({ firstResult, error in
            guard let firstResult = firstResult else { completion(nil, error); return }
            
            second(firstResult, { (secondResult, error) in
                completion(secondResult, error)
            })
        })
    }
}

func ~> <T, U>(_ first: @escaping (CompletionHandler<T>) -> Void, _ transform: @escaping (T) -> U) -> (CompletionHandler<U>) -> Void {
    return { completion in
        first({ result, error in
            guard let result = result else { completion(nil, error); return }
            
            completion(transform(result), nil)
        })
    }
}

func service1(_ completionHandler: CompletionHandler<Int>) {
    completionHandler(42, nil)
}

func service2(arg: String, _ completionHandler: CompletionHandler<String>) {
    completionHandler("๐ŸŽ‰ \(arg)", nil)
}

let chainedServices = service1
    ~> { int in return String(int / 2) }
    ~> service2

chainedServices({ result, _ in
    guard let result = result else { return }
    
    print(result) // Prints: ๐ŸŽ‰ 21
})

Transform an asynchronous function into a synchronous one

Asynchronous functions are a great way to deal with future events without blocking a thread. Yet, there are times where we would like them to behave in exactly such a blocking way.

Think about writing unit tests and using mocked network calls. You will need to add complexity to your test in order to deal with asynchronous functions, whereas synchronous ones would be much easier to manage.

Thanks to Swift proficiency in the functional paradigm, it is possible to write a function whose job is to take an asynchronous function and transform it into a synchronous one.

import Foundation

func makeSynchrone<A, B>(_ asyncFunction: @escaping (A, (B) -> Void) -> Void) -> (A) -> B {
    return { arg in
        let lock = NSRecursiveLock()
        
        var result: B? = nil
        
        asyncFunction(arg) {
            result = $0
            lock.unlock()
        }
        
        lock.lock()
        
        return result!
    }
}

func myAsyncFunction(arg: Int, completionHandler: (String) -> Void) {
    completionHandler("๐ŸŽ‰ \(arg)")
}

let syncFunction = makeSynchrone(myAsyncFunction)

print(syncFunction(42)) // prints ๐ŸŽ‰ 42

Using KeyPaths instead of closures

Closures are a great way to interact with generic APIs, for instance APIs that allow to manipulate data structures through the use of generic functions, such as filter() or sorted().

The annoying part is that closures tend to clutter your code with many instances of {, } and $0, which can quickly undermine its readably.

A nice alternative for a cleaner syntax is to use a KeyPath instead of a closure, along with an operator that will deal with transforming the provided KeyPath in a closure.

import Foundation

prefix operator ^

prefix func ^ <Element, Attribute>(_ keyPath: KeyPath<Element, Attribute>) -> (Element) -> Attribute {
    return { element in element[keyPath: keyPath] }
}

struct MyData {
    let int: Int
    let string: String
}

let data = [MyData(int: 2, string: "Foo"), MyData(int: 4, string: "Bar")]

data.map(^\.int) // [2, 4]
data.map(^\.string) // ["Foo", "Bar"]

Bringing some type-safety to a userInfo Dictionary

Many iOS APIs still rely on a userInfo Dictionary to handle use-case specific data. This Dictionary usually stores untyped values, and is declared as follows: [String: Any] (or sometimes [AnyHashable: Any].

Retrieving data from such a structure will involve some conditional casting (via the as? operator), which is prone to both errors and repetitions. Yet, by introducing a custom subscript, it's possible to encapsulate all the tedious logic, and end-up with an easier and more robust API.

import Foundation

typealias TypedUserInfoKey<T> = (key: String, type: T.Type)

extension Dictionary where Key == String, Value == Any {
    subscript<T>(_ typedKey: TypedUserInfoKey<T>) -> T? {
        return self[typedKey.key] as? T
    }
}

let userInfo: [String : Any] = ["Foo": 4, "Bar": "forty-two"]

let integerTypedKey = TypedUserInfoKey(key: "Foo", type: Int.self)
let intValue = userInfo[integerTypedKey] // returns 4
type(of: intValue) // returns Int?

let stringTypedKey = TypedUserInfoKey(key: "Bar", type: String.self)
let stringValue = userInfo[stringTypedKey] // returns "forty-two"
type(of: stringValue) // returns String?

Lightweight data-binding for an MVVM implementation

MVVM is a great pattern to separate business logic from presentation logic. The main challenge to make it work, is to define a mechanism for the presentation layer to be notified of model updates.

RxSwift is a perfect choice to solve such a problem. Yet, some developers don't feel confortable with leveraging a third-party library for such a central part of their architecture.

For those situation, it's possible to define a lightweight Variable type, that will make the MVVM pattern very easy to use!

import Foundation

class Variable<Value> {
    var value: Value {
        didSet {
            onUpdate?(value)
        }
    }
    
    var onUpdate: ((Value) -> Void)? {
        didSet {
            onUpdate?(value)
        }
    }
    
    init(_ value: Value, _ onUpdate: ((Value) -> Void)? = nil) {
        self.value = value
        self.onUpdate = onUpdate
        self.onUpdate?(value)
    }
}

let variable: Variable<String?> = Variable(nil)

variable.onUpdate = { data in
    if let data = data {
        print(data)
    }
}

variable.value = "Foo"
variable.value = "Bar"

// prints:
// Foo
// Bar

Using typealias to its fullest

The keyword typealias allows developers to give a new name to an already existing type. For instance, Swift defines Void as a typealias of (), the empty tuple.

But a less known feature of this mechanism is that it allows to assign concrete types for generic parameters, or to rename them. This can help make the semantics of generic types much clearer, when used in specific use cases.

import Foundation

enum Either<Left, Right> {
    case left(Left)
    case right(Right)
}

typealias Result<Value> = Either<Value, Error>

typealias IntOrString = Either<Int, String>

Writing an interruptible overload of forEach

Iterating through objects via the forEach(_:) method is a great alternative to the classic for loop, as it allows our code to be completely oblivious of the iteration logic. One limitation, however, is that forEach(_:) does not allow to stop the iteration midway.

Taking inspiration from the Objective-C implementation, we can write an overload that will allow the developer to stop the iteration, if needed.

import Foundation

extension Sequence {
    func forEach(_ body: (Element, _ stop: inout Bool) throws -> Void) rethrows {
        var stop = false
        for element in self {
            try body(element, &stop)
            
            if stop {
                return
            }
        }
    }
}

["Foo", "Bar", "FooBar"].forEach { element, stop in
    print(element)
    stop = (element == "Bar")
}

// Prints:
// Foo
// Bar

Optimizing the use of reduce()

Functional programing is a great way to simplify a codebase. For instance, reduce is an alternative to the classic for loop, without most the boilerplate. Unfortunately, simplicity often comes at the price of performance.

Consider that you want to remove duplicate values from a Sequence. While reduce() is a perfectly fine way to express this computation, the performance will be sub optimal, because of all the unnecessary Array copying that will happen every time its closure gets called.

That's when reduce(into:_:) comes into play. This version of reduce leverages the capacities of copy-on-write type (such as Array or Dictionnary) in order to avoid unnecessary copying, which results in a great performance boost.

import Foundation

func time(averagedExecutions: Int = 1, _ code: () -> Void) {
    let start = Date()
    for _ in 0..<averagedExecutions { code() }
    let end = Date()
    
    let duration = end.timeIntervalSince(start) / Double(averagedExecutions)
    
    print("time: \(duration)")
}

let data = (1...1_000).map { _ in Int(arc4random_uniform(256)) }


// runs in 0.63s
time {
    let noDuplicates: [Int] = data.reduce([], { $0.contains($1) ? $0 : $0 + [$1] })
}

// runs in 0.15s
time {
    let noDuplicates: [Int] = data.reduce(into: [], { if !$0.contains($1) { $0.append($1) } } )
}

Avoiding hardcoded reuse identifiers

UI components such as UITableView and UICollectionView rely on reuse identifiers in order to efficiently recycle the views they display. Often, those reuse identifiers take the form of a static hardcoded String, that will be used for every instance of their class.

Through protocol-oriented programing, it's possible to avoid those hardcoded values, and instead use the name of the type as a reuse identifier.

import Foundation
import UIKit

protocol Reusable {
    static var reuseIdentifier: String { get }
}

extension Reusable {
    static var reuseIdentifier: String {
        return String(describing: self)
    }
}

extension UITableViewCell: Reusable { }

extension UITableView {
    func register<T: UITableViewCell>(_ class: T.Type) {
        register(`class`, forCellReuseIdentifier: T.reuseIdentifier)
    }
    func dequeueReusableCell<T: UITableViewCell>(for indexPath: IndexPath) -> T {
        return dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: T.reuseIdentifier, for: indexPath) as! T
    }
}

class MyCell: UITableViewCell { }

let tableView = UITableView()

tableView.register(MyCell.self)
let myCell: MyCell = tableView.dequeueReusableCell(for: [0, 0])

Defining a union type

The C language has a construct called union, that allows a single variable to hold values from different types. While Swift does not provide such a construct, it provides enums with associated values, which allows us to define a type called Either that implements a union of two types.

import Foundation

enum Either<A, B> {
    case left(A)
    case right(B)
    
    func either(ifLeft: ((A) -> Void)? = nil, ifRight: ((B) -> Void)? = nil) {
        switch self {
        case let .left(a):
            ifLeft?(a)
        case let .right(b):
            ifRight?(b)
        }
    }
}

extension Bool { static func random() -> Bool { return arc4random_uniform(2) == 0 } }

var intOrString: Either<Int, String> = Bool.random() ? .left(2) : .right("Foo")

intOrString.either(ifLeft: { print($0 + 1) }, ifRight: { print($0 + "Bar") })

If you're interested by this kind of data structure, I strongly recommend that you learn more about Algebraic Data Types.

Asserting that classes have associated NIBs and vice-versa

Most of the time, when we create a .xib file, we give it the same name as its associated class. From that, if we later refactor our code and rename such a class, we run the risk of forgetting to rename the associated .xib.

While the error will often be easy to catch, if the .xib is used in a remote section of its app, it might go unnoticed for sometime. Fortunately it's possible to build custom test predicates that will assert that 1) for a given class, there exists a .nib with the same name in a given Bundle, 2) for all the .nib in a given Bundle, there exists a class with the same name.

import XCTest

public func XCTAssertClassHasNib(_ class: AnyClass, bundle: Bundle, file: StaticString = #file, line: UInt = #line) {
    let associatedNibURL = bundle.url(forResource: String(describing: `class`), withExtension: "nib")
    
    XCTAssertNotNil(associatedNibURL, "Class \"\(`class`)\" has no associated nib file", file: file, line: line)
}

public func XCTAssertNibHaveClasses(_ bundle: Bundle, file: StaticString = #file, line: UInt = #line) {
    guard let bundleName = bundle.infoDictionary?["CFBundleName"] as? String,
        let basePath = bundle.resourcePath,
        let enumerator = FileManager.default.enumerator(at: URL(fileURLWithPath: basePath),
                                                    includingPropertiesForKeys: nil,
                                                    options: [.skipsHiddenFiles, .skipsSubdirectoryDescendants]) else { return }
    
    var nibFilesURLs = [URL]()
    
    for case let fileURL as URL in enumerator {
        if fileURL.pathExtension.uppercased() == "NIB" {
            nibFilesURLs.append(fileURL)
        }
    }
    
    nibFilesURLs.map { $0.lastPathComponent }
        .compactMap { $0.split(separator: ".").first }
        .map { String($0) }
        .forEach {
            let associatedClass: AnyClass? = bundle.classNamed("\(bundleName).\($0)")
            
            XCTAssertNotNil(associatedClass, "File \"\($0).nib\" has no associated class", file: file, line: line)
        }
}

XCTAssertClassHasNib(MyFirstTableViewCell.self, bundle: Bundle(for: AppDelegate.self))
XCTAssertClassHasNib(MySecondTableViewCell.self, bundle: Bundle(for: AppDelegate.self))
        
XCTAssertNibHaveClasses(Bundle(for: AppDelegate.self))

Many thanks Benjamin Lavialle for coming up with the idea behind the second test predicate.

Small footprint type-erasing with functions

Seasoned Swift developers know it: a protocol with associated type (PAT) "can only be used as a generic constraint because it has Self or associated type requirements". When we really need to use a PAT to type a variable, the goto workaround is to use a type-erased wrapper.

While this solution works perfectly, it requires a fair amount of boilerplate code. In instances where we are only interested in exposing one particular function of the PAT, a shorter approach using function types is possible.

import Foundation
import UIKit

protocol Configurable {
    associatedtype Model
    
    func configure(with model: Model)
}

typealias Configurator<Model> = (Model) -> ()

extension UILabel: Configurable {
    func configure(with model: String) {
        self.text = model
    }
}

let label = UILabel()
let configurator: Configurator<String> = label.configure

configurator("Foo")

label.text // "Foo"

Performing animations sequentially

UIKit exposes a very powerful and simple API to perform view animations. However, this API can become a little bit quirky to use when we want to perform animations sequentially, because it involves nesting closure within one another, which produces notoriously hard to maintain code.

Nonetheless, it's possible to define a rather simple class, that will expose a really nicer API for this particular use case ๐Ÿ‘Œ

import Foundation
import UIKit

class AnimationSequence {
    typealias Animations = () -> Void
    
    private let current: Animations
    private let duration: TimeInterval
    private var next: AnimationSequence? = nil
    
    init(animations: @escaping Animations, duration: TimeInterval) {
        self.current = animations
        self.duration = duration
    }
    
    @discardableResult func append(animations: @escaping Animations, duration: TimeInterval) -> AnimationSequence {
        var lastAnimation = self
        while let nextAnimation = lastAnimation.next {
            lastAnimation = nextAnimation
        }
        lastAnimation.next = AnimationSequence(animations: animations, duration: duration)
        return self
    }
    
    func run() {
        UIView.animate(withDuration: duration, animations: current, completion: { finished in
            if finished, let next = self.next {
                next.run()
            }
        })
    }
}

var firstView = UIView()
var secondView = UIView()

firstView.alpha = 0
secondView.alpha = 0

AnimationSequence(animations: { firstView.alpha = 1.0 }, duration: 1)
            .append(animations: { secondView.alpha = 1.0 }, duration: 0.5)
            .append(animations: { firstView.alpha = 0.0 }, duration: 2.0)
            .run()

Debouncing a function call

Debouncing is a very useful tool when dealing with UI inputs. Consider a search bar, whose content is used to query an API. It wouldn't make sense to perform a request for every character the user is typing, because as soon as a new character is entered, the result of the previous request has become irrelevant.

Instead, our code will perform much better if we "debounce" the API call, meaning that we will wait until some delay has passed, without the input being modified, before actually performing the call.

import Foundation

func debounced(delay: TimeInterval, queue: DispatchQueue = .main, action: @escaping (() -> Void)) -> () -> Void {
    var workItem: DispatchWorkItem?
    
    return {
        workItem?.cancel()
        workItem = DispatchWorkItem(block: action)
        queue.asyncAfter(deadline: .now() + delay, execute: workItem!)
    }
}

let debouncedPrint = debounced(delay: 1.0) { print("Action performed!") }

debouncedPrint()
debouncedPrint()
debouncedPrint()

// After a 1 second delay, this gets
// printed only once to the console:

// Action performed!

Providing useful operators for Optional booleans

When we need to apply the standard boolean operators to Optional booleans, we often end up with a syntax unnecessarily crowded with unwrapping operations. By taking a cue from the world of three-valued logics, we can define a couple operators that make working with Bool? values much nicer.

import Foundation

func && (lhs: Bool?, rhs: Bool?) -> Bool? {
    switch (lhs, rhs) {
    case (false, _), (_, false):
        return false
    case let (unwrapLhs?, unwrapRhs?):
        return unwrapLhs && unwrapRhs
    default:
        return nil
    }
}

func || (lhs: Bool?, rhs: Bool?) -> Bool? {
    switch (lhs, rhs) {
    case (true, _), (_, true):
        return true
    case let (unwrapLhs?, unwrapRhs?):
        return unwrapLhs || unwrapRhs
    default:
        return nil
    }
}

false && nil // false
true && nil // nil
[true, nil, false].reduce(true, &&) // false

nil || true // true
nil || false // nil
[true, nil, false].reduce(false, ||) // true

Removing duplicate values from a Sequence

Transforming a Sequence in order to remove all the duplicate values it contains is a classic use case. To implement it, one could be tempted to transform the Sequence into a Set, then back to an Array. The downside with this approach is that it will not preserve the order of the sequence, which can definitely be a dealbreaker. Using reduce() it is possible to provide a concise implementation that preserves ordering:

import Foundation

extension Sequence where Element: Equatable {
    func duplicatesRemoved() -> [Element] {
        return reduce([], { $0.contains($1) ? $0 : $0 + [$1] })
    }
}

let data = [2, 5, 2, 3, 6, 5, 2]

data.duplicatesRemoved() // [2, 5, 3, 6]

Shorter syntax to deal with optional strings

Optional strings are very common in Swift code, for instance many objects from UIKit expose the text they display as a String?. Many times you will need to manipulate this data as an unwrapped String, with a default value set to the empty string for nil cases.

While the nil-coalescing operator (e.g. ??) is a perfectly fine way to a achieve this goal, defining a computed variable like orEmpty can help a lot in cleaning the syntax.

import Foundation
import UIKit

extension Optional where Wrapped == String {
    var orEmpty: String {
        switch self {
        case .some(let value):
            return value
        case .none:
            return ""
        }
    }
}

func doesNotWorkWithOptionalString(_ param: String) {
    // do something with `param`
}

let label = UILabel()
label.text = "This is some text."

doesNotWorkWithOptionalString(label.text.orEmpty)

Encapsulating background computation and UI update

Every seasoned iOS developers knows it: objects from UIKit can only be accessed from the main thread. Any attempt to access them from a background thread is a guaranteed crash.

Still, running a costly computation on the background, and then using it to update the UI can be a common pattern.

In such cases you can rely on asyncUI to encapsulate all the boilerplate code.

import Foundation
import UIKit

func asyncUI<T>(_ computation: @autoclosure @escaping () -> T, qos: DispatchQoS.QoSClass = .userInitiated, _ completion: @escaping (T) -> Void) {
    DispatchQueue.global(qos: qos).async {
        let value = computation()
        DispatchQueue.main.async {
            completion(value)
        }
    }
}

let label = UILabel()

func costlyComputation() -> Int { return (0..<10_000).reduce(0, +) }

asyncUI(costlyComputation()) { value in
    label.text = "\(value)"
}

Retrieving all the necessary data to build a debug view

A debug view, from which any controller of an app can be instantiated and pushed on the navigation stack, has the potential to bring some real value to a development process. A requirement to build such a view is to have a list of all the classes from a given Bundle that inherit from UIViewController. With the following extension, retrieving this list becomes a piece of cake ๐Ÿฐ

import Foundation
import UIKit
import ObjectiveC

extension Bundle {
    func viewControllerTypes() -> [UIViewController.Type] {
        guard let bundlePath = self.executablePath else { return [] }
        
        var size: UInt32 = 0
        var rawClassNames: UnsafeMutablePointer<UnsafePointer<Int8>>!
        var parsedClassNames = [String]()
        
        rawClassNames = objc_copyClassNamesForImage(bundlePath, &size)
        
        for index in 0..<size {
            let className = rawClassNames[Int(index)]
            
            if let name = NSString.init(utf8String:className) as String?,
                NSClassFromString(name) is UIViewController.Type {
                parsedClassNames.append(name)
            }
        }
        
        return parsedClassNames
            .sorted()
            .compactMap { NSClassFromString($0) as? UIViewController.Type }
    }
}

// Fetch all view controller types in UIKit
Bundle(for: UIViewController.self).viewControllerTypes()

I share the credit for this tip with Benoรฎt Caron.

Defining a function to map over dictionaries

Update As it turns out, map is actually a really bad name for this function, because it does not preserve composition of transformations, a property that is required to fit the definition of a real map function.

Surprisingly enough, the standard library doesn't define a map() function for dictionaries that allows to map both keys and values into a new Dictionary. Nevertheless, such a function can be helpful, for instance when converting data across different frameworks.

import Foundation

extension Dictionary {
    func map<T: Hashable, U>(_ transform: (Key, Value) throws -> (T, U)) rethrows -> [T: U] {
        var result: [T: U] = [:]
        
        for (key, value) in self {
            let (transformedKey, transformedValue) = try transform(key, value)
            result[transformedKey] = transformedValue
        }
        
        return result
    }
}

let data = [0: 5, 1: 6, 2: 7]
data.map { ("\($0)", $1 * $1) } // ["2": 49, "0": 25, "1": 36]

A shorter syntax to remove nil values

Swift provides the function compactMap(), that can be used to remove nil values from a Sequence of optionals when calling it with an argument that just returns its parameter (i.e. compactMap { $0 }). Still, for such use cases it would be nice to get rid of the trailing closure.

The implementation isn't as straightforward as your usual extension, but once it has been written, the call site definitely gets cleaner ๐Ÿ‘Œ

import Foundation

protocol OptionalConvertible {
    associatedtype Wrapped
    func asOptional() -> Wrapped?
}

extension Optional: OptionalConvertible {
    func asOptional() -> Wrapped? {
        return self
    }
}

extension Sequence where Element: OptionalConvertible {
    func compacted() -> [Element.Wrapped] {
        return compactMap { $0.asOptional() }
    }
}

let data = [nil, 1, 2, nil, 3, 5, nil, 8, nil]
data.compacted() // [1, 2, 3, 5, 8]

Dealing with expirable values

It might happen that your code has to deal with values that come with an expiration date. In a game, it could be a score multiplier that will only last for 30 seconds. Or it could be an authentication token for an API, with a 15 minutes lifespan. In both instances you can rely on the type Expirable to encapsulate the expiration logic.

import Foundation

struct Expirable<T> {
    private var innerValue: T
    private(set) var expirationDate: Date
    
    var value: T? {
        return hasExpired() ? nil : innerValue
    }
    
    init(value: T, expirationDate: Date) {
        self.innerValue = value
        self.expirationDate = expirationDate
    }
    
    init(value: T, duration: Double) {
        self.innerValue = value
        self.expirationDate = Date().addingTimeInterval(duration)
    }
    
    func hasExpired() -> Bool {
        return expirationDate < Date()
    }
}

let expirable = Expirable(value: 42, duration: 3)

sleep(2)
expirable.value // 42
sleep(2)
expirable.value // nil

I share the credit for this tip with Benoรฎt Caron.

Using parallelism to speed-up map()

Almost all Apple devices able to run Swift code are powered by a multi-core CPU, consequently making a good use of parallelism is a great way to improve code performance. map() is a perfect candidate for such an optimization, because it is almost trivial to define a parallel implementation.

import Foundation

extension Array {
    func parallelMap<T>(_ transform: (Element) -> T) -> [T] {
        let res = UnsafeMutablePointer<T>.allocate(capacity: count)
        
        DispatchQueue.concurrentPerform(iterations: count) { i in
            res[i] = transform(self[i])
        }
        
        let finalResult = Array<T>(UnsafeBufferPointer(start: res, count: count))
        res.deallocate(capacity: count)
        
        return finalResult
    }
}

let array = (0..<1_000).map { $0 }

func work(_ n: Int) -> Int {
    return (0..<n).reduce(0, +)
}

array.parallelMap { work($0) }

๐Ÿšจ Make sure to only use parallelMap() when the transform function actually performs some costly computations. Otherwise performances will be systematically slower than using map(), because of the multithreading overhead.

Measuring execution time with minimum boilerplate

During development of a feature that performs some heavy computations, it can be helpful to measure just how much time a chunk of code takes to run. The time() function is a nice tool for this purpose, because of how simple it is to add and then to remove when it is no longer needed.

import Foundation

func time(averagedExecutions: Int = 1, _ code: () -> Void) {
    let start = Date()
    for _ in 0..<averagedExecutions { code() }
    let end = Date()
    
    let duration = end.timeIntervalSince(start) / Double(averagedExecutions)
    
    print("time: \(duration)")
}

time {
    (0...10_000).map { $0 * $0 }
}
// time: 0.183973908424377

Running two pieces of code in parallel

Concurrency is definitely one of those topics were the right encapsulation bears the potential to make your life so much easier. For instance, with this piece of code you can easily launch two computations in parallel, and have the results returned in a tuple.

import Foundation

func parallel<T, U>(_ left: @autoclosure () -> T, _ right: @autoclosure () -> U) -> (T, U) {
    var leftRes: T?
    var rightRes: U?
    
    DispatchQueue.concurrentPerform(iterations: 2, execute: { id in
        if id == 0 {
            leftRes = left()
        } else {
            rightRes = right()
        }
    })
    
    return (leftRes!, rightRes!)
}

let values = (1...100_000).map { $0 }

let results = parallel(values.map { $0 * $0 }, values.reduce(0, +))

Making good use of #file, #line and #function

Swift exposes three special variables #file, #line and #function, that are respectively set to the name of the current file, line and function. Those variables become very useful when writing custom logging functions or test predicates.

import Foundation

func log(_ message: String, _ file: String = #file, _ line: Int = #line, _ function: String = #function) {
    print("[\(file):\(line)] \(function) - \(message)")
}

func foo() {
    log("Hello world!")
}

foo() // [MyPlayground.playground:8] foo() - Hello world!

Comparing Optionals through Conditional Conformance

Swift 4.1 has introduced a new feature called Conditional Conformance, which allows a type to implement a protocol only when its generic type also does.

With this addition it becomes easy to let Optional implement Comparable only when Wrapped also implements Comparable:

import Foundation

extension Optional: Comparable where Wrapped: Comparable {
    public static func < (lhs: Optional, rhs: Optional) -> Bool {
        switch (lhs, rhs) {
        case let (lhs?, rhs?):
            return lhs < rhs
        case (nil, _?):
            return true // anything is greater than nil
        case (_?, nil):
            return false // nil in smaller than anything
        case (nil, nil):
            return true // nil is not smaller than itself
        }
    }
}

let data: [Int?] = [8, 4, 3, nil, 12, 4, 2, nil, -5]
data.sorted() // [nil, nil, Optional(-5), Optional(2), Optional(3), Optional(4), Optional(4), Optional(8), Optional(12)]

Safely subscripting a Collection

Any attempt to access an Array beyond its bounds will result in a crash. While it's possible to write conditions such as if index < array.count { array[index] } in order to prevent such crashes, this approach will rapidly become cumbersome.

A great thing is that this condition can be encapsulated in a custom subscript that will work on any Collection:

import Foundation

extension Collection {
    subscript (safe index: Index) -> Element? {
        return indices.contains(index) ? self[index] : nil
    }
}

let data = [1, 3, 4]

data[safe: 1] // Optional(3)
data[safe: 10] // nil

Easier String slicing using ranges

Subscripting a string with a range can be very cumbersome in Swift 4. Let's face it, no one wants to write lines like someString[index(startIndex, offsetBy: 0)..<index(startIndex, offsetBy: 10)] on a regular basis.

Luckily, with the addition of one clever extension, strings can be sliced as easily as arrays ๐ŸŽ‰

import Foundation

extension String {
    public subscript(value: CountableClosedRange<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.lowerBound)...index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: CountableRange<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.lowerBound)..<index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: PartialRangeUpTo<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[..<index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: PartialRangeThrough<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[...index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: PartialRangeFrom<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.lowerBound)...]
        }
    }
}

let data = "This is a string!"

data[..<4]  // "This"
data[5..<9] // "is a"
data[10...] // "string!"

Concise syntax for sorting using a KeyPath

By using a KeyPath along with a generic type, a very clean and concise syntax for sorting data can be implemented:

import Foundation

extension Sequence {
    func sorted<T: Comparable>(by attribute: KeyPath<Element, T>) -> [Element] {
        return sorted(by: { $0[keyPath: attribute] < $1[keyPath: attribute] })
    }
}

let data = ["Some", "words", "of", "different", "lengths"]

data.sorted(by: \.count) // ["of", "Some", "words", "lengths", "different"]

If you like this syntax, make sure to checkout KeyPathKit!

Manufacturing cache-efficient versions of pure functions

By capturing a local variable in a returned closure, it is possible to manufacture cache-efficient versions of pure functions. Be careful though, this trick only works with non-recursive function!

import Foundation

func cached<In: Hashable, Out>(_ f: @escaping (In) -> Out) -> (In) -> Out {
    var cache = [In: Out]()
    
    return { (input: In) -> Out in
        if let cachedValue = cache[input] {
            return cachedValue
        } else {
            let result = f(input)
            cache[input] = result
            return result
        }
    }
}

let cachedCos = cached { (x: Double) in cos(x) }

cachedCos(.pi * 2) // value of cos for 2ฯ€ is now cached

Simplifying complex conditions with pattern matching

When distinguishing between complex boolean conditions, using a switch statement along with pattern matching can be more readable than the classic series of if {} else if {}.

import Foundation

let expr1: Bool
let expr2: Bool
let expr3: Bool

if expr1 && !expr3 {
    functionA()
} else if !expr2 && expr3 {
    functionB()
} else if expr1 && !expr2 && expr3 {
    functionC()
}

switch (expr1, expr2, expr3) {
    
case (true, _, false):
    functionA()
case (_, false, true):
    functionB()
case (true, false, true):
    functionC()
default:
    break
}

Easily generating arrays of data

Using map() on a range makes it easy to generate an array of data.

import Foundation

func randomInt() -> Int { return Int(arc4random()) }

let randomArray = (1...10).map { _ in randomInt() }

Using @autoclosure for cleaner call sites

Using @autoclosure enables the compiler to automatically wrap an argument within a closure, thus allowing for a very clean syntax at call sites.

import UIKit

extension UIView {
    class func animate(withDuration duration: TimeInterval, _ animations: @escaping @autoclosure () -> Void) {
        UIView.animate(withDuration: duration, animations: animations)
    }
}

let view = UIView()

UIView.animate(withDuration: 0.3, view.backgroundColor = .orange)

Observing new and old value with RxSwift

When working with RxSwift, it's very easy to observe both the current and previous value of an observable sequence by simply introducing a shift using skip().

import RxSwift

let values = Observable.of(4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42)

let newAndOld = Observable.zip(values, values.skip(1)) { (previous: $0, current: $1) }
    .subscribe(onNext: { pair in
        print("current: \(pair.current) - previous: \(pair.previous)")
    })

//current: 8 - previous: 4
//current: 15 - previous: 8
//current: 16 - previous: 15
//current: 23 - previous: 16
//current: 42 - previous: 23

Implicit initialization from literal values

Using protocols such as ExpressibleByStringLiteral it is possible to provide an init that will be automatically when a literal value is provided, allowing for nice and short syntax. This can be very helpful when writing mock or test data.

import Foundation

extension URL: ExpressibleByStringLiteral {
    public init(stringLiteral value: String) {
        self.init(string: value)!
    }
}

let url: URL = "http://www.google.fr"

NSURLConnection.canHandle(URLRequest(url: "http://www.google.fr"))

Achieving systematic validation of data

Through some clever use of Swift private visibility it is possible to define a container that holds any untrusted value (such as a user input) from which the only way to retrieve the value is by making it successfully pass a validation test.

import Foundation

struct Untrusted<T> {
    private(set) var value: T
}

protocol Validator {
    associatedtype T
    static func validation(value: T) -> Bool
}

extension Validator {
    static func validate(untrusted: Untrusted<T>) -> T? {
        if self.validation(value: untrusted.value) {
            return untrusted.value
        } else {
            return nil
        }
    }
}

struct FrenchPhoneNumberValidator: Validator {
    static func validation(value: String) -> Bool {
       return (value.count) == 10 && CharacterSet(charactersIn: value).isSubset(of: CharacterSet.decimalDigits)
    }
}

let validInput = Untrusted(value: "0122334455")
let invalidInput = Untrusted(value: "0123")

FrenchPhoneNumberValidator.validate(untrusted: validInput) // returns "0122334455"
FrenchPhoneNumberValidator.validate(untrusted: invalidInput) // returns nil

Implementing the builder pattern with keypaths

With the addition of keypaths in Swift 4, it is now possible to easily implement the builder pattern, that allows the developer to clearly separate the code that initializes a value from the code that uses it, without the burden of defining a factory method.

import UIKit

protocol With {}

extension With where Self: AnyObject {
    @discardableResult
    func with<T>(_ property: ReferenceWritableKeyPath<Self, T>, setTo value: T) -> Self {
        self[keyPath: property] = value
        return self
    }
}

extension UIView: With {}

let view = UIView()

let label = UILabel()
    .with(\.textColor, setTo: .red)
    .with(\.text, setTo: "Foo")
    .with(\.textAlignment, setTo: .right)
    .with(\.layer.cornerRadius, setTo: 5)

view.addSubview(label)

๐Ÿšจ The Swift compiler does not perform OS availability checks on properties referenced by keypaths. Any attempt to use a KeyPath for an unavailable property will result in a runtime crash.

I share the credit for this tip with Marion Curtil.

Storing functions rather than values

When a type stores values for the sole purpose of parametrizing its functions, itโ€™s then possible to not store the values but directly the function, with no discernable difference at the call site.

import Foundation

struct MaxValidator {
    let max: Int
    let strictComparison: Bool
    
    func isValid(_ value: Int) -> Bool {
        return self.strictComparison ? value < self.max : value <= self.max
    }
}

struct MaxValidator2 {
    var isValid: (_ value: Int) -> Bool
    
    init(max: Int, strictComparison: Bool) {
        self.isValid = strictComparison ? { $0 < max } : { $0 <= max }
    }
}

MaxValidator(max: 5, strictComparison: true).isValid(5) // false
MaxValidator2(max: 5, strictComparison: false).isValid(5) // true

Defining operators on function types

Functions are first-class citizen types in Swift, so it is perfectly legal to define operators for them.

import Foundation

let firstRange = { (0...3).contains($0) }
let secondRange = { (5...6).contains($0) }

func ||(_ lhs: @escaping (Int) -> Bool, _ rhs: @escaping (Int) -> Bool) -> (Int) -> Bool {
    return { value in
        return lhs(value) || rhs(value)
    }
}

(firstRange || secondRange)(2) // true
(firstRange || secondRange)(4) // false
(firstRange || secondRange)(6) // true

Typealiases for functions

Typealiases are great to express function signatures in a more comprehensive manner, which then enables us to easily define functions that operate on them, resulting in a nice way to write and use some powerful API.

import Foundation

typealias RangeSet = (Int) -> Bool

func union(_ left: @escaping RangeSet, _ right: @escaping RangeSet) -> RangeSet {
    return { left($0) || right($0) }
}

let firstRange = { (0...3).contains($0) }
let secondRange = { (5...6).contains($0) }

let unionRange = union(firstRange, secondRange)

unionRange(2) // true
unionRange(4) // false

Encapsulating state within a function

By returning a closure that captures a local variable, it's possible to encapsulate a mutable state within a function.

import Foundation

func counterFactory() -> () -> Int {
    var counter = 0
    
    return {
        counter += 1
        return counter
    }
}

let counter = counterFactory()

counter() // returns 1
counter() // returns 2

Generating all cases for an Enum

โš ๏ธ Since Swift 4.2, allCases can now be synthesized at compile-time by simply conforming to the protocol CaseIterable. The implementation below should no longer be used in production code.

Through some clever leveraging of how enums are stored in memory, it is possible to generate an array that contains all the possible cases of an enum. This can prove particularly useful when writing unit tests that consume random data.

import Foundation

enum MyEnum { case first; case second; case third; case fourth }

protocol EnumCollection: Hashable {
    static var allCases: [Self] { get }
}

extension EnumCollection {
    public static var allCases: [Self] {
        var i = 0
        return Array(AnyIterator {
            let next = withUnsafePointer(to: &i) {
                $0.withMemoryRebound(to: Self.self, capacity: 1) { $0.pointee }
            }
            if next.hashValue != i { return nil }
            i += 1
            return next
        })
    }
}

extension MyEnum: EnumCollection { }

MyEnum.allCases // [.first, .second, .third, .fourth]

Using map on optional values

The if-let syntax is a great way to deal with optional values in a safe manner, but at times it can prove to be just a little bit to cumbersome. In such cases, using the Optional.map() function is a nice way to achieve a shorter code while retaining safeness and readability.

import UIKit

let date: Date? = Date() // or could be nil, doesn't matter
let formatter = DateFormatter()
let label = UILabel()

if let safeDate = date {
    label.text = formatter.string(from: safeDate)
}

label.text = date.map { return formatter.string(from: $0) }

label.text = date.map(formatter.string(from:)) // even shorter, tough less readable

๐Ÿ“ฃ NEW ๐Ÿ“ฃ Swift Tips are now available on YouTube ๐Ÿ‘‡

Summary

Tips


Download Details:

Author: vincent-pradeilles
Source code: https://github.com/vincent-pradeilles/swift-tips

License: MIT license
#swift 

Rupert  Beatty

Rupert Beatty

1673365703

Swift-tips: A Collection Useful Tips for The Swift Language

SwiftTips

The following is a collection of tips I find to be useful when working with the Swift language. More content is available on my Twitter account!

๐Ÿ“ฃ NEW ๐Ÿ“ฃ Swift Tips are now available on YouTube ๐Ÿ‘‡

Tips

Property Wrappers as Debugging Tools

Property Wrappers allow developers to wrap properties with specific behaviors, that will be seamlessly triggered whenever the properties are accessed.

While their primary use case is to implement business logic within our apps, it's also possible to use Property Wrappers as debugging tools!

For example, we could build a wrapper called @History, that would be added to a property while debugging and would keep track of all the values set to this property.

import Foundation

@propertyWrapper
struct History<Value> {
    private var value: Value
    private(set) var history: [Value] = []

    init(wrappedValue: Value) {
        self.value = wrappedValue
    }
    
    var wrappedValue: Value {
        get { value }

        set {
            history.append(value)
            value = newValue
        }
    }
    
    var projectedValue: Self {
        return self
    }
}

// We can then decorate our business code
// with the `@History` wrapper
struct User {
    @History var name: String = ""
}

var user = User()

// All the existing call sites will still
// compile, without the need for any change
user.name = "John"
user.name = "Jane"

// But now we can also access an history of
// all the previous values!
user.$name.history // ["", "John"]

Localization through String interpolation

Swift 5 gave us the possibility to define our own custom String interpolation methods.

This feature can be used to power many use cases, but there is one that is guaranteed to make sense in most projects: localizing user-facing strings.

import Foundation

extension String.StringInterpolation {
    mutating func appendInterpolation(localized key: String, _ args: CVarArg...) {
        let localized = String(format: NSLocalizedString(key, comment: ""), arguments: args)
        appendLiteral(localized)
    }
}


/*
 Let's assume that this is the content of our Localizable.strings:
 
 "welcome.screen.greetings" = "Hello %@!";
 */

let userName = "John"
print("\(localized: "welcome.screen.greetings", userName)") // Hello John!

Implementing pseudo-inheritance between structs

If youโ€™ve always wanted to use some kind of inheritance mechanism for your structs, Swift 5.1 is going to make you very happy!

Using the new KeyPath-based dynamic member lookup, you can implement some pseudo-inheritance, where a type inherits the API of another one ๐ŸŽ‰

(However, be careful, Iโ€™m definitely not advocating inheritance as a go-to solution ๐Ÿ™ƒ)

import Foundation

protocol Inherits {
    associatedtype SuperType
    
    var `super`: SuperType { get }
}

extension Inherits {
    subscript<T>(dynamicMember keyPath: KeyPath<SuperType, T>) -> T {
        return self.`super`[keyPath: keyPath]
    }
}

struct Person {
    let name: String
}

@dynamicMemberLookup
struct User: Inherits {
    let `super`: Person
    
    let login: String
    let password: String
}

let user = User(super: Person(name: "John Appleseed"), login: "Johnny", password: "1234")

user.name // "John Appleseed"
user.login // "Johnny"

Composing NSAttributedString through a Function Builder

Swift 5.1 introduced Function Builders: a great tool for building custom DSL syntaxes, like SwiftUI. However, one doesn't need to be building a full-fledged DSL in order to leverage them.

For example, it's possible to write a simple Function Builder, whose job will be to compose together individual instances of NSAttributedString through a nicer syntax than the standard API.

import UIKit

@_functionBuilder
class NSAttributedStringBuilder {
    static func buildBlock(_ components: NSAttributedString...) -> NSAttributedString {
        let result = NSMutableAttributedString(string: "")
        
        return components.reduce(into: result) { (result, current) in result.append(current) }
    }
}

extension NSAttributedString {
    class func composing(@NSAttributedStringBuilder _ parts: () -> NSAttributedString) -> NSAttributedString {
        return parts()
    }
}

let result = NSAttributedString.composing {
    NSAttributedString(string: "Hello",
                       attributes: [.font: UIFont.systemFont(ofSize: 24),
                                    .foregroundColor: UIColor.red])
    NSAttributedString(string: " world!",
                       attributes: [.font: UIFont.systemFont(ofSize: 20),
                                    .foregroundColor: UIColor.orange])
}

Using switch and if as expressions

Contrary to other languages, like Kotlin, Swift does not allow switch and if to be used as expressions. Meaning that the following code is not valid Swift:

let constant = if condition {
                  someValue
               } else {
                  someOtherValue
               }

A common solution to this problem is to wrap the if or switch statement within a closure, that will then be immediately called. While this approach does manage to achieve the desired goal, it makes for a rather poor syntax.

To avoid the ugly trailing () and improve on the readability, you can define a resultOf function, that will serve the exact same purpose, in a more elegant way.

import Foundation

func resultOf<T>(_ code: () -> T) -> T {
    return code()
}

let randomInt = Int.random(in: 0...3)

let spelledOut: String = resultOf {
    switch randomInt {
    case 0:
        return "Zero"
    case 1:
        return "One"
    case 2:
        return "Two"
    case 3:
        return "Three"
    default:
        return "Out of range"
    }
}

print(spelledOut)

Avoiding double negatives within guard statements

A guard statement is a very convenient way for the developer to assert that a condition is met, in order for the execution of the program to keep going.

However, since the body of a guard statement is meant to be executed when the condition evaluates to false, the use of the negation (!) operator within the condition of a guard statement can make the code hard to read, as it becomes a double negative.

A nice trick to avoid such double negatives is to encapsulate the use of the ! operator within a new property or function, whose name does not include a negative.

import Foundation

extension Collection {
    var hasElements: Bool {
        return !isEmpty
    }
}

let array = Bool.random() ? [1, 2, 3] : []

guard array.hasElements else { fatalError("array was empty") }

print(array)

Defining a custom init without loosing the compiler-generated one

It's common knowledge for Swift developers that, when you define a struct, the compiler is going to automatically generate a memberwise init for you. That is, unless you also define an init of your own. Because then, the compiler won't generate any memberwise init.

Yet, there are many instances where we might enjoy the opportunity to get both. As it turns out, this goal is quite easy to achieve: you just need to define your own init in an extension rather than inside the type definition itself.

import Foundation

struct Point {
    let x: Int
    let y: Int
}

extension Point {
    init() {
        x = 0
        y = 0
    }
}

let usingDefaultInit = Point(x: 4, y: 3)
let usingCustomInit = Point()

Implementing a namespace through an empty enum

Swift does not really have an out-of-the-box support of namespaces. One could argue that a Swift module can be seen as a namespace, but creating a dedicated Framework for this sole purpose can legitimately be regarded as overkill.

Some developers have taken the habit to use a struct which only contains static fields to implement a namespace. While this does the job, it requires us to remember to implement an empty private init(), because it wouldn't make sense for such a struct to be instantiated.

It's actually possible to take this approach one step further, by replacing the struct with an enum. While it might seem weird to have an enum with no case, it's actually a very idiomatic way to declare a type that cannot be instantiated.

import Foundation

enum NumberFormatterProvider {
    static var currencyFormatter: NumberFormatter {
        let formatter = NumberFormatter()
        formatter.numberStyle = .currency
        formatter.roundingIncrement = 0.01
        return formatter
    }
    
    static var decimalFormatter: NumberFormatter {
        let formatter = NumberFormatter()
        formatter.numberStyle = .decimal
        formatter.decimalSeparator = ","
        return formatter
    }
}

NumberFormatterProvider() // โŒ impossible to instantiate by mistake

NumberFormatterProvider.currencyFormatter.string(from: 2.456) // $2.46
NumberFormatterProvider.decimalFormatter.string(from: 2.456) // 2,456

Using Never to represent impossible code paths

Never is quite a peculiar type in the Swift Standard Library: it is defined as an empty enum enum Never { }.

While this might seem odd at first glance, it actually yields a very interesting property: it makes it a type that cannot be constructed (i.e. it possesses no instances).

This way, Never can be used as a generic parameter to let the compiler know that a particular feature will not be used.

import Foundation

enum Result<Value, Error> {
    case success(value: Value)
    case failure(error: Error)
}

func willAlwaysSucceed(_ completion: @escaping ((Result<String, Never>) -> Void)) {
    completion(.success(value: "Call was successful"))
}

willAlwaysSucceed( { result in
    switch result {
    case .success(let value):
        print(value)
    // the compiler knows that the `failure` case cannot happen
    // so it doesn't require us to handle it.
    }
})

Providing a default value to a Decodable enum

Swift's Codable framework does a great job at seamlessly decoding entities from a JSON stream. However, when we integrate web-services, we are sometimes left to deal with JSONs that require behaviors that Codable does not provide out-of-the-box.

For instance, we might have a string-based or integer-based enum, and be required to set it to a default value when the data found in the JSON does not match any of its cases.

We might be tempted to implement this via an extensive switch statement over all the possible cases, but there is a much shorter alternative through the initializer init?(rawValue:):

import Foundation

enum State: String, Decodable {
    case active
    case inactive
    case undefined
    
    init(from decoder: Decoder) throws {
        let container = try decoder.singleValueContainer()
        let decodedString = try container.decode(String.self)
        
        self = State(rawValue: decodedString) ?? .undefined
    }
}

let data = """
["active", "inactive", "foo"]
""".data(using: .utf8)!

let decoded = try! JSONDecoder().decode([State].self, from: data)

print(decoded) // [State.active, State.inactive, State.undefined]

Another lightweight dependency injection through default values for function parameters

Dependency injection boils down to a simple idea: when an object requires a dependency, it shouldn't create it by itself, but instead it should be given a function that does it for him.

Now the great thing with Swift is that, not only can a function take another function as a parameter, but that parameter can also be given a default value.

When you combine both those features, you can end up with a dependency injection pattern that is both lightweight on boilerplate, but also type safe.

import Foundation

protocol Service {
    func call() -> String
}

class ProductionService: Service {
    func call() -> String {
        return "This is the production"
    }
}

class MockService: Service {
    func call() -> String {
        return "This is a mock"
    }
}

typealias Provider<T> = () -> T

class Controller {
    
    let service: Service
    
    init(serviceProvider: Provider<Service> = { return ProductionService() }) {
        self.service = serviceProvider()
    }
    
    func work() {
        print(service.call())
    }
}

let productionController = Controller()
productionController.work() // prints "This is the production"

let mockedController = Controller(serviceProvider: { return MockService() })
mockedController.work() // prints "This is a mock"

Lightweight dependency injection through protocol-oriented programming

Singletons are pretty bad. They make your architecture rigid and tightly coupled, which then results in your code being hard to test and refactor. Instead of using singletons, your code should rely on dependency injection, which is a much more architecturally sound approach.

But singletons are so easy to use, and dependency injection requires us to do extra-work. So maybe, for simple situations, we could find an in-between solution?

One possible solution is to rely on one of Swift's most know features: protocol-oriented programming. Using a protocol, we declare and access our dependency. We then store it in a private singleton, and perform the injection through an extension of said protocol.

This way, our code will indeed be decoupled from its dependency, while at the same time keeping the boilerplate to a minimum.

import Foundation

protocol Formatting {
    var formatter: NumberFormatter { get }
}

private let sharedFormatter: NumberFormatter = {
    let sharedFormatter = NumberFormatter()
    sharedFormatter.numberStyle = .currency
    return sharedFormatter
}()

extension Formatting {
    var formatter: NumberFormatter { return sharedFormatter }
}

class ViewModel: Formatting {
    var displayableAmount: String?
    
    func updateDisplay(to amount: Double) {
        displayableAmount = formatter.string(for: amount)
    }
}

let viewModel = ViewModel()

viewModel.updateDisplay(to: 42000.45)
viewModel.displayableAmount // "$42,000.45"

Getting rid of overabundant [weak self] and guard

Callbacks are a part of almost all iOS apps, and as frameworks such as RxSwift keep gaining in popularity, they become ever more present in our codebase.

Seasoned Swift developers are aware of the potential memory leaks that @escaping callbacks can produce, so they make real sure to always use [weak self], whenever they need to use self inside such a context. And when they need to have self be non-optional, they then add a guard statement along.

Consequently, this syntax of a [weak self] followed by a guard rapidly tends to appear everywhere in the codebase. The good thing is that, through a little protocol-oriented trick, it's actually possible to get rid of this tedious syntax, without loosing any of its benefits!

import Foundation
import PlaygroundSupport

PlaygroundPage.current.needsIndefiniteExecution = true

protocol Weakifiable: class { }

extension Weakifiable {
    func weakify(_ code: @escaping (Self) -> Void) -> () -> Void {
        return { [weak self] in
            guard let self = self else { return }
            
            code(self)
        }
    }
    
    func weakify<T>(_ code: @escaping (T, Self) -> Void) -> (T) -> Void {
        return { [weak self] arg in
            guard let self = self else { return }
            
            code(arg, self)
        }
    }
}

extension NSObject: Weakifiable { }

class Producer: NSObject {
    
    deinit {
        print("deinit Producer")
    }
    
    private var handler: (Int) -> Void = { _ in }
    
    func register(handler: @escaping (Int) -> Void) {
        self.handler = handler
        
        DispatchQueue.main.asyncAfter(deadline: .now() + 1.0, execute: { self.handler(42) })
    }
}

class Consumer: NSObject {
    
    deinit {
        print("deinit Consumer")
    }
    
    let producer = Producer()
    
    func consume() {
        producer.register(handler: weakify { result, strongSelf in
            strongSelf.handle(result)
        })
    }
    
    private func handle(_ result: Int) {
        print("๐ŸŽ‰ \(result)")
    }
}

var consumer: Consumer? = Consumer()

consumer?.consume()

DispatchQueue.main.asyncAfter(deadline: .now() + 2.0, execute: { consumer = nil })

// This code prints:
// ๐ŸŽ‰ 42
// deinit Consumer
// deinit Producer

Solving callback hell with function composition

Asynchronous functions are a big part of iOS APIs, and most developers are familiar with the challenge they pose when one needs to sequentially call several asynchronous APIs.

This often results in callbacks being nested into one another, a predicament often referred to as callback hell.

Many third-party frameworks are able to tackle this issue, for instance RxSwift or PromiseKit. Yet, for simple instances of the problem, there is no need to use such big guns, as it can actually be solved with simple function composition.

import Foundation

typealias CompletionHandler<Result> = (Result?, Error?) -> Void

infix operator ~>: MultiplicationPrecedence

func ~> <T, U>(_ first: @escaping (CompletionHandler<T>) -> Void, _ second: @escaping (T, CompletionHandler<U>) -> Void) -> (CompletionHandler<U>) -> Void {
    return { completion in
        first({ firstResult, error in
            guard let firstResult = firstResult else { completion(nil, error); return }
            
            second(firstResult, { (secondResult, error) in
                completion(secondResult, error)
            })
        })
    }
}

func ~> <T, U>(_ first: @escaping (CompletionHandler<T>) -> Void, _ transform: @escaping (T) -> U) -> (CompletionHandler<U>) -> Void {
    return { completion in
        first({ result, error in
            guard let result = result else { completion(nil, error); return }
            
            completion(transform(result), nil)
        })
    }
}

func service1(_ completionHandler: CompletionHandler<Int>) {
    completionHandler(42, nil)
}

func service2(arg: String, _ completionHandler: CompletionHandler<String>) {
    completionHandler("๐ŸŽ‰ \(arg)", nil)
}

let chainedServices = service1
    ~> { int in return String(int / 2) }
    ~> service2

chainedServices({ result, _ in
    guard let result = result else { return }
    
    print(result) // Prints: ๐ŸŽ‰ 21
})

Transform an asynchronous function into a synchronous one

Asynchronous functions are a great way to deal with future events without blocking a thread. Yet, there are times where we would like them to behave in exactly such a blocking way.

Think about writing unit tests and using mocked network calls. You will need to add complexity to your test in order to deal with asynchronous functions, whereas synchronous ones would be much easier to manage.

Thanks to Swift proficiency in the functional paradigm, it is possible to write a function whose job is to take an asynchronous function and transform it into a synchronous one.

import Foundation

func makeSynchrone<A, B>(_ asyncFunction: @escaping (A, (B) -> Void) -> Void) -> (A) -> B {
    return { arg in
        let lock = NSRecursiveLock()
        
        var result: B? = nil
        
        asyncFunction(arg) {
            result = $0
            lock.unlock()
        }
        
        lock.lock()
        
        return result!
    }
}

func myAsyncFunction(arg: Int, completionHandler: (String) -> Void) {
    completionHandler("๐ŸŽ‰ \(arg)")
}

let syncFunction = makeSynchrone(myAsyncFunction)

print(syncFunction(42)) // prints ๐ŸŽ‰ 42

Using KeyPaths instead of closures

Closures are a great way to interact with generic APIs, for instance APIs that allow to manipulate data structures through the use of generic functions, such as filter() or sorted().

The annoying part is that closures tend to clutter your code with many instances of {, } and $0, which can quickly undermine its readably.

A nice alternative for a cleaner syntax is to use a KeyPath instead of a closure, along with an operator that will deal with transforming the provided KeyPath in a closure.

import Foundation

prefix operator ^

prefix func ^ <Element, Attribute>(_ keyPath: KeyPath<Element, Attribute>) -> (Element) -> Attribute {
    return { element in element[keyPath: keyPath] }
}

struct MyData {
    let int: Int
    let string: String
}

let data = [MyData(int: 2, string: "Foo"), MyData(int: 4, string: "Bar")]

data.map(^\.int) // [2, 4]
data.map(^\.string) // ["Foo", "Bar"]

Bringing some type-safety to a userInfo Dictionary

Many iOS APIs still rely on a userInfo Dictionary to handle use-case specific data. This Dictionary usually stores untyped values, and is declared as follows: [String: Any] (or sometimes [AnyHashable: Any].

Retrieving data from such a structure will involve some conditional casting (via the as? operator), which is prone to both errors and repetitions. Yet, by introducing a custom subscript, it's possible to encapsulate all the tedious logic, and end-up with an easier and more robust API.

import Foundation

typealias TypedUserInfoKey<T> = (key: String, type: T.Type)

extension Dictionary where Key == String, Value == Any {
    subscript<T>(_ typedKey: TypedUserInfoKey<T>) -> T? {
        return self[typedKey.key] as? T
    }
}

let userInfo: [String : Any] = ["Foo": 4, "Bar": "forty-two"]

let integerTypedKey = TypedUserInfoKey(key: "Foo", type: Int.self)
let intValue = userInfo[integerTypedKey] // returns 4
type(of: intValue) // returns Int?

let stringTypedKey = TypedUserInfoKey(key: "Bar", type: String.self)
let stringValue = userInfo[stringTypedKey] // returns "forty-two"
type(of: stringValue) // returns String?

Lightweight data-binding for an MVVM implementation

MVVM is a great pattern to separate business logic from presentation logic. The main challenge to make it work, is to define a mechanism for the presentation layer to be notified of model updates.

RxSwift is a perfect choice to solve such a problem. Yet, some developers don't feel confortable with leveraging a third-party library for such a central part of their architecture.

For those situation, it's possible to define a lightweight Variable type, that will make the MVVM pattern very easy to use!

import Foundation

class Variable<Value> {
    var value: Value {
        didSet {
            onUpdate?(value)
        }
    }
    
    var onUpdate: ((Value) -> Void)? {
        didSet {
            onUpdate?(value)
        }
    }
    
    init(_ value: Value, _ onUpdate: ((Value) -> Void)? = nil) {
        self.value = value
        self.onUpdate = onUpdate
        self.onUpdate?(value)
    }
}

let variable: Variable<String?> = Variable(nil)

variable.onUpdate = { data in
    if let data = data {
        print(data)
    }
}

variable.value = "Foo"
variable.value = "Bar"

// prints:
// Foo
// Bar

Using typealias to its fullest

The keyword typealias allows developers to give a new name to an already existing type. For instance, Swift defines Void as a typealias of (), the empty tuple.

But a less known feature of this mechanism is that it allows to assign concrete types for generic parameters, or to rename them. This can help make the semantics of generic types much clearer, when used in specific use cases.

import Foundation

enum Either<Left, Right> {
    case left(Left)
    case right(Right)
}

typealias Result<Value> = Either<Value, Error>

typealias IntOrString = Either<Int, String>

Writing an interruptible overload of forEach

Iterating through objects via the forEach(_:) method is a great alternative to the classic for loop, as it allows our code to be completely oblivious of the iteration logic. One limitation, however, is that forEach(_:) does not allow to stop the iteration midway.

Taking inspiration from the Objective-C implementation, we can write an overload that will allow the developer to stop the iteration, if needed.

import Foundation

extension Sequence {
    func forEach(_ body: (Element, _ stop: inout Bool) throws -> Void) rethrows {
        var stop = false
        for element in self {
            try body(element, &stop)
            
            if stop {
                return
            }
        }
    }
}

["Foo", "Bar", "FooBar"].forEach { element, stop in
    print(element)
    stop = (element == "Bar")
}

// Prints:
// Foo
// Bar

Optimizing the use of reduce()

Functional programing is a great way to simplify a codebase. For instance, reduce is an alternative to the classic for loop, without most the boilerplate. Unfortunately, simplicity often comes at the price of performance.

Consider that you want to remove duplicate values from a Sequence. While reduce() is a perfectly fine way to express this computation, the performance will be sub optimal, because of all the unnecessary Array copying that will happen every time its closure gets called.

That's when reduce(into:_:) comes into play. This version of reduce leverages the capacities of copy-on-write type (such as Array or Dictionnary) in order to avoid unnecessary copying, which results in a great performance boost.

import Foundation

func time(averagedExecutions: Int = 1, _ code: () -> Void) {
    let start = Date()
    for _ in 0..<averagedExecutions { code() }
    let end = Date()
    
    let duration = end.timeIntervalSince(start) / Double(averagedExecutions)
    
    print("time: \(duration)")
}

let data = (1...1_000).map { _ in Int(arc4random_uniform(256)) }


// runs in 0.63s
time {
    let noDuplicates: [Int] = data.reduce([], { $0.contains($1) ? $0 : $0 + [$1] })
}

// runs in 0.15s
time {
    let noDuplicates: [Int] = data.reduce(into: [], { if !$0.contains($1) { $0.append($1) } } )
}

Avoiding hardcoded reuse identifiers

UI components such as UITableView and UICollectionView rely on reuse identifiers in order to efficiently recycle the views they display. Often, those reuse identifiers take the form of a static hardcoded String, that will be used for every instance of their class.

Through protocol-oriented programing, it's possible to avoid those hardcoded values, and instead use the name of the type as a reuse identifier.

import Foundation
import UIKit

protocol Reusable {
    static var reuseIdentifier: String { get }
}

extension Reusable {
    static var reuseIdentifier: String {
        return String(describing: self)
    }
}

extension UITableViewCell: Reusable { }

extension UITableView {
    func register<T: UITableViewCell>(_ class: T.Type) {
        register(`class`, forCellReuseIdentifier: T.reuseIdentifier)
    }
    func dequeueReusableCell<T: UITableViewCell>(for indexPath: IndexPath) -> T {
        return dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: T.reuseIdentifier, for: indexPath) as! T
    }
}

class MyCell: UITableViewCell { }

let tableView = UITableView()

tableView.register(MyCell.self)
let myCell: MyCell = tableView.dequeueReusableCell(for: [0, 0])

Defining a union type

The C language has a construct called union, that allows a single variable to hold values from different types. While Swift does not provide such a construct, it provides enums with associated values, which allows us to define a type called Either that implements a union of two types.

import Foundation

enum Either<A, B> {
    case left(A)
    case right(B)
    
    func either(ifLeft: ((A) -> Void)? = nil, ifRight: ((B) -> Void)? = nil) {
        switch self {
        case let .left(a):
            ifLeft?(a)
        case let .right(b):
            ifRight?(b)
        }
    }
}

extension Bool { static func random() -> Bool { return arc4random_uniform(2) == 0 } }

var intOrString: Either<Int, String> = Bool.random() ? .left(2) : .right("Foo")

intOrString.either(ifLeft: { print($0 + 1) }, ifRight: { print($0 + "Bar") })

If you're interested by this kind of data structure, I strongly recommend that you learn more about Algebraic Data Types.

Asserting that classes have associated NIBs and vice-versa

Most of the time, when we create a .xib file, we give it the same name as its associated class. From that, if we later refactor our code and rename such a class, we run the risk of forgetting to rename the associated .xib.

While the error will often be easy to catch, if the .xib is used in a remote section of its app, it might go unnoticed for sometime. Fortunately it's possible to build custom test predicates that will assert that 1) for a given class, there exists a .nib with the same name in a given Bundle, 2) for all the .nib in a given Bundle, there exists a class with the same name.

import XCTest

public func XCTAssertClassHasNib(_ class: AnyClass, bundle: Bundle, file: StaticString = #file, line: UInt = #line) {
    let associatedNibURL = bundle.url(forResource: String(describing: `class`), withExtension: "nib")
    
    XCTAssertNotNil(associatedNibURL, "Class \"\(`class`)\" has no associated nib file", file: file, line: line)
}

public func XCTAssertNibHaveClasses(_ bundle: Bundle, file: StaticString = #file, line: UInt = #line) {
    guard let bundleName = bundle.infoDictionary?["CFBundleName"] as? String,
        let basePath = bundle.resourcePath,
        let enumerator = FileManager.default.enumerator(at: URL(fileURLWithPath: basePath),
                                                    includingPropertiesForKeys: nil,
                                                    options: [.skipsHiddenFiles, .skipsSubdirectoryDescendants]) else { return }
    
    var nibFilesURLs = [URL]()
    
    for case let fileURL as URL in enumerator {
        if fileURL.pathExtension.uppercased() == "NIB" {
            nibFilesURLs.append(fileURL)
        }
    }
    
    nibFilesURLs.map { $0.lastPathComponent }
        .compactMap { $0.split(separator: ".").first }
        .map { String($0) }
        .forEach {
            let associatedClass: AnyClass? = bundle.classNamed("\(bundleName).\($0)")
            
            XCTAssertNotNil(associatedClass, "File \"\($0).nib\" has no associated class", file: file, line: line)
        }
}

XCTAssertClassHasNib(MyFirstTableViewCell.self, bundle: Bundle(for: AppDelegate.self))
XCTAssertClassHasNib(MySecondTableViewCell.self, bundle: Bundle(for: AppDelegate.self))
        
XCTAssertNibHaveClasses(Bundle(for: AppDelegate.self))

Many thanks Benjamin Lavialle for coming up with the idea behind the second test predicate.

Small footprint type-erasing with functions

Seasoned Swift developers know it: a protocol with associated type (PAT) "can only be used as a generic constraint because it has Self or associated type requirements". When we really need to use a PAT to type a variable, the goto workaround is to use a type-erased wrapper.

While this solution works perfectly, it requires a fair amount of boilerplate code. In instances where we are only interested in exposing one particular function of the PAT, a shorter approach using function types is possible.

import Foundation
import UIKit

protocol Configurable {
    associatedtype Model
    
    func configure(with model: Model)
}

typealias Configurator<Model> = (Model) -> ()

extension UILabel: Configurable {
    func configure(with model: String) {
        self.text = model
    }
}

let label = UILabel()
let configurator: Configurator<String> = label.configure

configurator("Foo")

label.text // "Foo"

Performing animations sequentially

UIKit exposes a very powerful and simple API to perform view animations. However, this API can become a little bit quirky to use when we want to perform animations sequentially, because it involves nesting closure within one another, which produces notoriously hard to maintain code.

Nonetheless, it's possible to define a rather simple class, that will expose a really nicer API for this particular use case ๐Ÿ‘Œ

import Foundation
import UIKit

class AnimationSequence {
    typealias Animations = () -> Void
    
    private let current: Animations
    private let duration: TimeInterval
    private var next: AnimationSequence? = nil
    
    init(animations: @escaping Animations, duration: TimeInterval) {
        self.current = animations
        self.duration = duration
    }
    
    @discardableResult func append(animations: @escaping Animations, duration: TimeInterval) -> AnimationSequence {
        var lastAnimation = self
        while let nextAnimation = lastAnimation.next {
            lastAnimation = nextAnimation
        }
        lastAnimation.next = AnimationSequence(animations: animations, duration: duration)
        return self
    }
    
    func run() {
        UIView.animate(withDuration: duration, animations: current, completion: { finished in
            if finished, let next = self.next {
                next.run()
            }
        })
    }
}

var firstView = UIView()
var secondView = UIView()

firstView.alpha = 0
secondView.alpha = 0

AnimationSequence(animations: { firstView.alpha = 1.0 }, duration: 1)
            .append(animations: { secondView.alpha = 1.0 }, duration: 0.5)
            .append(animations: { firstView.alpha = 0.0 }, duration: 2.0)
            .run()

Debouncing a function call

Debouncing is a very useful tool when dealing with UI inputs. Consider a search bar, whose content is used to query an API. It wouldn't make sense to perform a request for every character the user is typing, because as soon as a new character is entered, the result of the previous request has become irrelevant.

Instead, our code will perform much better if we "debounce" the API call, meaning that we will wait until some delay has passed, without the input being modified, before actually performing the call.

import Foundation

func debounced(delay: TimeInterval, queue: DispatchQueue = .main, action: @escaping (() -> Void)) -> () -> Void {
    var workItem: DispatchWorkItem?
    
    return {
        workItem?.cancel()
        workItem = DispatchWorkItem(block: action)
        queue.asyncAfter(deadline: .now() + delay, execute: workItem!)
    }
}

let debouncedPrint = debounced(delay: 1.0) { print("Action performed!") }

debouncedPrint()
debouncedPrint()
debouncedPrint()

// After a 1 second delay, this gets
// printed only once to the console:

// Action performed!

Providing useful operators for Optional booleans

When we need to apply the standard boolean operators to Optional booleans, we often end up with a syntax unnecessarily crowded with unwrapping operations. By taking a cue from the world of three-valued logics, we can define a couple operators that make working with Bool? values much nicer.

import Foundation

func && (lhs: Bool?, rhs: Bool?) -> Bool? {
    switch (lhs, rhs) {
    case (false, _), (_, false):
        return false
    case let (unwrapLhs?, unwrapRhs?):
        return unwrapLhs && unwrapRhs
    default:
        return nil
    }
}

func || (lhs: Bool?, rhs: Bool?) -> Bool? {
    switch (lhs, rhs) {
    case (true, _), (_, true):
        return true
    case let (unwrapLhs?, unwrapRhs?):
        return unwrapLhs || unwrapRhs
    default:
        return nil
    }
}

false && nil // false
true && nil // nil
[true, nil, false].reduce(true, &&) // false

nil || true // true
nil || false // nil
[true, nil, false].reduce(false, ||) // true

Removing duplicate values from a Sequence

Transforming a Sequence in order to remove all the duplicate values it contains is a classic use case. To implement it, one could be tempted to transform the Sequence into a Set, then back to an Array. The downside with this approach is that it will not preserve the order of the sequence, which can definitely be a dealbreaker. Using reduce() it is possible to provide a concise implementation that preserves ordering:

import Foundation

extension Sequence where Element: Equatable {
    func duplicatesRemoved() -> [Element] {
        return reduce([], { $0.contains($1) ? $0 : $0 + [$1] })
    }
}

let data = [2, 5, 2, 3, 6, 5, 2]

data.duplicatesRemoved() // [2, 5, 3, 6]

Shorter syntax to deal with optional strings

Optional strings are very common in Swift code, for instance many objects from UIKit expose the text they display as a String?. Many times you will need to manipulate this data as an unwrapped String, with a default value set to the empty string for nil cases.

While the nil-coalescing operator (e.g. ??) is a perfectly fine way to a achieve this goal, defining a computed variable like orEmpty can help a lot in cleaning the syntax.

import Foundation
import UIKit

extension Optional where Wrapped == String {
    var orEmpty: String {
        switch self {
        case .some(let value):
            return value
        case .none:
            return ""
        }
    }
}

func doesNotWorkWithOptionalString(_ param: String) {
    // do something with `param`
}

let label = UILabel()
label.text = "This is some text."

doesNotWorkWithOptionalString(label.text.orEmpty)

Encapsulating background computation and UI update

Every seasoned iOS developers knows it: objects from UIKit can only be accessed from the main thread. Any attempt to access them from a background thread is a guaranteed crash.

Still, running a costly computation on the background, and then using it to update the UI can be a common pattern.

In such cases you can rely on asyncUI to encapsulate all the boilerplate code.

import Foundation
import UIKit

func asyncUI<T>(_ computation: @autoclosure @escaping () -> T, qos: DispatchQoS.QoSClass = .userInitiated, _ completion: @escaping (T) -> Void) {
    DispatchQueue.global(qos: qos).async {
        let value = computation()
        DispatchQueue.main.async {
            completion(value)
        }
    }
}

let label = UILabel()

func costlyComputation() -> Int { return (0..<10_000).reduce(0, +) }

asyncUI(costlyComputation()) { value in
    label.text = "\(value)"
}

Retrieving all the necessary data to build a debug view

A debug view, from which any controller of an app can be instantiated and pushed on the navigation stack, has the potential to bring some real value to a development process. A requirement to build such a view is to have a list of all the classes from a given Bundle that inherit from UIViewController. With the following extension, retrieving this list becomes a piece of cake ๐Ÿฐ

import Foundation
import UIKit
import ObjectiveC

extension Bundle {
    func viewControllerTypes() -> [UIViewController.Type] {
        guard let bundlePath = self.executablePath else { return [] }
        
        var size: UInt32 = 0
        var rawClassNames: UnsafeMutablePointer<UnsafePointer<Int8>>!
        var parsedClassNames = [String]()
        
        rawClassNames = objc_copyClassNamesForImage(bundlePath, &size)
        
        for index in 0..<size {
            let className = rawClassNames[Int(index)]
            
            if let name = NSString.init(utf8String:className) as String?,
                NSClassFromString(name) is UIViewController.Type {
                parsedClassNames.append(name)
            }
        }
        
        return parsedClassNames
            .sorted()
            .compactMap { NSClassFromString($0) as? UIViewController.Type }
    }
}

// Fetch all view controller types in UIKit
Bundle(for: UIViewController.self).viewControllerTypes()

I share the credit for this tip with Benoรฎt Caron.

Defining a function to map over dictionaries

Update As it turns out, map is actually a really bad name for this function, because it does not preserve composition of transformations, a property that is required to fit the definition of a real map function.

Surprisingly enough, the standard library doesn't define a map() function for dictionaries that allows to map both keys and values into a new Dictionary. Nevertheless, such a function can be helpful, for instance when converting data across different frameworks.

import Foundation

extension Dictionary {
    func map<T: Hashable, U>(_ transform: (Key, Value) throws -> (T, U)) rethrows -> [T: U] {
        var result: [T: U] = [:]
        
        for (key, value) in self {
            let (transformedKey, transformedValue) = try transform(key, value)
            result[transformedKey] = transformedValue
        }
        
        return result
    }
}

let data = [0: 5, 1: 6, 2: 7]
data.map { ("\($0)", $1 * $1) } // ["2": 49, "0": 25, "1": 36]

A shorter syntax to remove nil values

Swift provides the function compactMap(), that can be used to remove nil values from a Sequence of optionals when calling it with an argument that just returns its parameter (i.e. compactMap { $0 }). Still, for such use cases it would be nice to get rid of the trailing closure.

The implementation isn't as straightforward as your usual extension, but once it has been written, the call site definitely gets cleaner ๐Ÿ‘Œ

import Foundation

protocol OptionalConvertible {
    associatedtype Wrapped
    func asOptional() -> Wrapped?
}

extension Optional: OptionalConvertible {
    func asOptional() -> Wrapped? {
        return self
    }
}

extension Sequence where Element: OptionalConvertible {
    func compacted() -> [Element.Wrapped] {
        return compactMap { $0.asOptional() }
    }
}

let data = [nil, 1, 2, nil, 3, 5, nil, 8, nil]
data.compacted() // [1, 2, 3, 5, 8]

Dealing with expirable values

It might happen that your code has to deal with values that come with an expiration date. In a game, it could be a score multiplier that will only last for 30 seconds. Or it could be an authentication token for an API, with a 15 minutes lifespan. In both instances you can rely on the type Expirable to encapsulate the expiration logic.

import Foundation

struct Expirable<T> {
    private var innerValue: T
    private(set) var expirationDate: Date
    
    var value: T? {
        return hasExpired() ? nil : innerValue
    }
    
    init(value: T, expirationDate: Date) {
        self.innerValue = value
        self.expirationDate = expirationDate
    }
    
    init(value: T, duration: Double) {
        self.innerValue = value
        self.expirationDate = Date().addingTimeInterval(duration)
    }
    
    func hasExpired() -> Bool {
        return expirationDate < Date()
    }
}

let expirable = Expirable(value: 42, duration: 3)

sleep(2)
expirable.value // 42
sleep(2)
expirable.value // nil

I share the credit for this tip with Benoรฎt Caron.

Using parallelism to speed-up map()

Almost all Apple devices able to run Swift code are powered by a multi-core CPU, consequently making a good use of parallelism is a great way to improve code performance. map() is a perfect candidate for such an optimization, because it is almost trivial to define a parallel implementation.

import Foundation

extension Array {
    func parallelMap<T>(_ transform: (Element) -> T) -> [T] {
        let res = UnsafeMutablePointer<T>.allocate(capacity: count)
        
        DispatchQueue.concurrentPerform(iterations: count) { i in
            res[i] = transform(self[i])
        }
        
        let finalResult = Array<T>(UnsafeBufferPointer(start: res, count: count))
        res.deallocate(capacity: count)
        
        return finalResult
    }
}

let array = (0..<1_000).map { $0 }

func work(_ n: Int) -> Int {
    return (0..<n).reduce(0, +)
}

array.parallelMap { work($0) }

๐Ÿšจ Make sure to only use parallelMap() when the transform function actually performs some costly computations. Otherwise performances will be systematically slower than using map(), because of the multithreading overhead.

Measuring execution time with minimum boilerplate

During development of a feature that performs some heavy computations, it can be helpful to measure just how much time a chunk of code takes to run. The time() function is a nice tool for this purpose, because of how simple it is to add and then to remove when it is no longer needed.

import Foundation

func time(averagedExecutions: Int = 1, _ code: () -> Void) {
    let start = Date()
    for _ in 0..<averagedExecutions { code() }
    let end = Date()
    
    let duration = end.timeIntervalSince(start) / Double(averagedExecutions)
    
    print("time: \(duration)")
}

time {
    (0...10_000).map { $0 * $0 }
}
// time: 0.183973908424377

Running two pieces of code in parallel

Concurrency is definitely one of those topics were the right encapsulation bears the potential to make your life so much easier. For instance, with this piece of code you can easily launch two computations in parallel, and have the results returned in a tuple.

import Foundation

func parallel<T, U>(_ left: @autoclosure () -> T, _ right: @autoclosure () -> U) -> (T, U) {
    var leftRes: T?
    var rightRes: U?
    
    DispatchQueue.concurrentPerform(iterations: 2, execute: { id in
        if id == 0 {
            leftRes = left()
        } else {
            rightRes = right()
        }
    })
    
    return (leftRes!, rightRes!)
}

let values = (1...100_000).map { $0 }

let results = parallel(values.map { $0 * $0 }, values.reduce(0, +))

Making good use of #file, #line and #function

Swift exposes three special variables #file, #line and #function, that are respectively set to the name of the current file, line and function. Those variables become very useful when writing custom logging functions or test predicates.

import Foundation

func log(_ message: String, _ file: String = #file, _ line: Int = #line, _ function: String = #function) {
    print("[\(file):\(line)] \(function) - \(message)")
}

func foo() {
    log("Hello world!")
}

foo() // [MyPlayground.playground:8] foo() - Hello world!

Comparing Optionals through Conditional Conformance

Swift 4.1 has introduced a new feature called Conditional Conformance, which allows a type to implement a protocol only when its generic type also does.

With this addition it becomes easy to let Optional implement Comparable only when Wrapped also implements Comparable:

import Foundation

extension Optional: Comparable where Wrapped: Comparable {
    public static func < (lhs: Optional, rhs: Optional) -> Bool {
        switch (lhs, rhs) {
        case let (lhs?, rhs?):
            return lhs < rhs
        case (nil, _?):
            return true // anything is greater than nil
        case (_?, nil):
            return false // nil in smaller than anything
        case (nil, nil):
            return true // nil is not smaller than itself
        }
    }
}

let data: [Int?] = [8, 4, 3, nil, 12, 4, 2, nil, -5]
data.sorted() // [nil, nil, Optional(-5), Optional(2), Optional(3), Optional(4), Optional(4), Optional(8), Optional(12)]

Safely subscripting a Collection

Any attempt to access an Array beyond its bounds will result in a crash. While it's possible to write conditions such as if index < array.count { array[index] } in order to prevent such crashes, this approach will rapidly become cumbersome.

A great thing is that this condition can be encapsulated in a custom subscript that will work on any Collection:

import Foundation

extension Collection {
    subscript (safe index: Index) -> Element? {
        return indices.contains(index) ? self[index] : nil
    }
}

let data = [1, 3, 4]

data[safe: 1] // Optional(3)
data[safe: 10] // nil

Easier String slicing using ranges

Subscripting a string with a range can be very cumbersome in Swift 4. Let's face it, no one wants to write lines like someString[index(startIndex, offsetBy: 0)..<index(startIndex, offsetBy: 10)] on a regular basis.

Luckily, with the addition of one clever extension, strings can be sliced as easily as arrays ๐ŸŽ‰

import Foundation

extension String {
    public subscript(value: CountableClosedRange<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.lowerBound)...index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: CountableRange<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.lowerBound)..<index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: PartialRangeUpTo<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[..<index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: PartialRangeThrough<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[...index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.upperBound)]
        }
    }
    
    public subscript(value: PartialRangeFrom<Int>) -> Substring {
        get {
            return self[index(startIndex, offsetBy: value.lowerBound)...]
        }
    }
}

let data = "This is a string!"

data[..<4]  // "This"
data[5..<9] // "is a"
data[10...] // "string!"

Concise syntax for sorting using a KeyPath

By using a KeyPath along with a generic type, a very clean and concise syntax for sorting data can be implemented:

import Foundation

extension Sequence {
    func sorted<T: Comparable>(by attribute: KeyPath<Element, T>) -> [Element] {
        return sorted(by: { $0[keyPath: attribute] < $1[keyPath: attribute] })
    }
}

let data = ["Some", "words", "of", "different", "lengths"]

data.sorted(by: \.count) // ["of", "Some", "words", "lengths", "different"]

If you like this syntax, make sure to checkout KeyPathKit!

Manufacturing cache-efficient versions of pure functions

By capturing a local variable in a returned closure, it is possible to manufacture cache-efficient versions of pure functions. Be careful though, this trick only works with non-recursive function!

import Foundation

func cached<In: Hashable, Out>(_ f: @escaping (In) -> Out) -> (In) -> Out {
    var cache = [In: Out]()
    
    return { (input: In) -> Out in
        if let cachedValue = cache[input] {
            return cachedValue
        } else {
            let result = f(input)
            cache[input] = result
            return result
        }
    }
}

let cachedCos = cached { (x: Double) in cos(x) }

cachedCos(.pi * 2) // value of cos for 2ฯ€ is now cached

Simplifying complex conditions with pattern matching

When distinguishing between complex boolean conditions, using a switch statement along with pattern matching can be more readable than the classic series of if {} else if {}.

import Foundation

let expr1: Bool
let expr2: Bool
let expr3: Bool

if expr1 && !expr3 {
    functionA()
} else if !expr2 && expr3 {
    functionB()
} else if expr1 && !expr2 && expr3 {
    functionC()
}

switch (expr1, expr2, expr3) {
    
case (true, _, false):
    functionA()
case (_, false, true):
    functionB()
case (true, false, true):
    functionC()
default:
    break
}

Easily generating arrays of data

Using map() on a range makes it easy to generate an array of data.

import Foundation

func randomInt() -> Int { return Int(arc4random()) }

let randomArray = (1...10).map { _ in randomInt() }

Using @autoclosure for cleaner call sites

Using @autoclosure enables the compiler to automatically wrap an argument within a closure, thus allowing for a very clean syntax at call sites.

import UIKit

extension UIView {
    class func animate(withDuration duration: TimeInterval, _ animations: @escaping @autoclosure () -> Void) {
        UIView.animate(withDuration: duration, animations: animations)
    }
}

let view = UIView()

UIView.animate(withDuration: 0.3, view.backgroundColor = .orange)

Observing new and old value with RxSwift

When working with RxSwift, it's very easy to observe both the current and previous value of an observable sequence by simply introducing a shift using skip().

import RxSwift

let values = Observable.of(4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42)

let newAndOld = Observable.zip(values, values.skip(1)) { (previous: $0, current: $1) }
    .subscribe(onNext: { pair in
        print("current: \(pair.current) - previous: \(pair.previous)")
    })

//current: 8 - previous: 4
//current: 15 - previous: 8
//current: 16 - previous: 15
//current: 23 - previous: 16
//current: 42 - previous: 23

Implicit initialization from literal values

Using protocols such as ExpressibleByStringLiteral it is possible to provide an init that will be automatically when a literal value is provided, allowing for nice and short syntax. This can be very helpful when writing mock or test data.

import Foundation

extension URL: ExpressibleByStringLiteral {
    public init(stringLiteral value: String) {
        self.init(string: value)!
    }
}

let url: URL = "http://www.google.fr"

NSURLConnection.canHandle(URLRequest(url: "http://www.google.fr"))

Achieving systematic validation of data

Through some clever use of Swift private visibility it is possible to define a container that holds any untrusted value (such as a user input) from which the only way to retrieve the value is by making it successfully pass a validation test.

import Foundation

struct Untrusted<T> {
    private(set) var value: T
}

protocol Validator {
    associatedtype T
    static func validation(value: T) -> Bool
}

extension Validator {
    static func validate(untrusted: Untrusted<T>) -> T? {
        if self.validation(value: untrusted.value) {
            return untrusted.value
        } else {
            return nil
        }
    }
}

struct FrenchPhoneNumberValidator: Validator {
    static func validation(value: String) -> Bool {
       return (value.count) == 10 && CharacterSet(charactersIn: value).isSubset(of: CharacterSet.decimalDigits)
    }
}

let validInput = Untrusted(value: "0122334455")
let invalidInput = Untrusted(value: "0123")

FrenchPhoneNumberValidator.validate(untrusted: validInput) // returns "0122334455"
FrenchPhoneNumberValidator.validate(untrusted: invalidInput) // returns nil

Implementing the builder pattern with keypaths

With the addition of keypaths in Swift 4, it is now possible to easily implement the builder pattern, that allows the developer to clearly separate the code that initializes a value from the code that uses it, without the burden of defining a factory method.

import UIKit

protocol With {}

extension With where Self: AnyObject {
    @discardableResult
    func with<T>(_ property: ReferenceWritableKeyPath<Self, T>, setTo value: T) -> Self {
        self[keyPath: property] = value
        return self
    }
}

extension UIView: With {}

let view = UIView()

let label = UILabel()
    .with(\.textColor, setTo: .red)
    .with(\.text, setTo: "Foo")
    .with(\.textAlignment, setTo: .right)
    .with(\.layer.cornerRadius, setTo: 5)

view.addSubview(label)

๐Ÿšจ The Swift compiler does not perform OS availability checks on properties referenced by keypaths. Any attempt to use a KeyPath for an unavailable property will result in a runtime crash.

I share the credit for this tip with Marion Curtil.

Storing functions rather than values

When a type stores values for the sole purpose of parametrizing its functions, itโ€™s then possible to not store the values but directly the function, with no discernable difference at the call site.

import Foundation

struct MaxValidator {
    let max: Int
    let strictComparison: Bool
    
    func isValid(_ value: Int) -> Bool {
        return self.strictComparison ? value < self.max : value <= self.max
    }
}

struct MaxValidator2 {
    var isValid: (_ value: Int) -> Bool
    
    init(max: Int, strictComparison: Bool) {
        self.isValid = strictComparison ? { $0 < max } : { $0 <= max }
    }
}

MaxValidator(max: 5, strictComparison: true).isValid(5) // false
MaxValidator2(max: 5, strictComparison: false).isValid(5) // true

Defining operators on function types

Functions are first-class citizen types in Swift, so it is perfectly legal to define operators for them.

import Foundation

let firstRange = { (0...3).contains($0) }
let secondRange = { (5...6).contains($0) }

func ||(_ lhs: @escaping (Int) -> Bool, _ rhs: @escaping (Int) -> Bool) -> (Int) -> Bool {
    return { value in
        return lhs(value) || rhs(value)
    }
}

(firstRange || secondRange)(2) // true
(firstRange || secondRange)(4) // false
(firstRange || secondRange)(6) // true

Typealiases for functions

Typealiases are great to express function signatures in a more comprehensive manner, which then enables us to easily define functions that operate on them, resulting in a nice way to write and use some powerful API.

import Foundation

typealias RangeSet = (Int) -> Bool

func union(_ left: @escaping RangeSet, _ right: @escaping RangeSet) -> RangeSet {
    return { left($0) || right($0) }
}

let firstRange = { (0...3).contains($0) }
let secondRange = { (5...6).contains($0) }

let unionRange = union(firstRange, secondRange)

unionRange(2) // true
unionRange(4) // false

Encapsulating state within a function

By returning a closure that captures a local variable, it's possible to encapsulate a mutable state within a function.

import Foundation

func counterFactory() -> () -> Int {
    var counter = 0
    
    return {
        counter += 1
        return counter
    }
}

let counter = counterFactory()

counter() // returns 1
counter() // returns 2

Generating all cases for an Enum

โš ๏ธ Since Swift 4.2, allCases can now be synthesized at compile-time by simply conforming to the protocol CaseIterable. The implementation below should no longer be used in production code.

Through some clever leveraging of how enums are stored in memory, it is possible to generate an array that contains all the possible cases of an enum. This can prove particularly useful when writing unit tests that consume random data.

import Foundation

enum MyEnum { case first; case second; case third; case fourth }

protocol EnumCollection: Hashable {
    static var allCases: [Self] { get }
}

extension EnumCollection {
    public static var allCases: [Self] {
        var i = 0
        return Array(AnyIterator {
            let next = withUnsafePointer(to: &i) {
                $0.withMemoryRebound(to: Self.self, capacity: 1) { $0.pointee }
            }
            if next.hashValue != i { return nil }
            i += 1
            return next
        })
    }
}

extension MyEnum: EnumCollection { }

MyEnum.allCases // [.first, .second, .third, .fourth]

Using map on optional values

The if-let syntax is a great way to deal with optional values in a safe manner, but at times it can prove to be just a little bit to cumbersome. In such cases, using the Optional.map() function is a nice way to achieve a shorter code while retaining safeness and readability.

import UIKit

let date: Date? = Date() // or could be nil, doesn't matter
let formatter = DateFormatter()
let label = UILabel()

if let safeDate = date {
    label.text = formatter.string(from: safeDate)
}

label.text = date.map { return formatter.string(from: $0) }

label.text = date.map(formatter.string(from:)) // even shorter, tough less readable

Download Details:

Author: Vincent-pradeilles
Source Code: https://github.com/vincent-pradeilles/swift-tips 
License: MIT license

#swift #tips 

Chloe  Butler

Chloe Butler

1667691420

Gedcom: A Perl Module to Manipulate Gedcom Genealogy Files

Gedcom - a module to manipulate GEDCOM genealogy files

SYNOPSIS

use Gedcom;

my $ged = Gedcom->new;
my $ged = Gedcom->new($gedcom_file);
my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_version => "5.5.1",
                      gedcom_file     => $gedcom_file,
                      read_only       => 1,
                      callback        => $cb);
my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_file => "gedcom-5.5.grammar",
                      gedcom_file  => $gedcom_file);

return unless $ged->validate;
my $xref = $self->resolve_xref($value);
$ged->resolve_xrefs;
$ged->unresolve_xrefs;
$ged->normalise_dates;
my %xrefs = $ged->renumber;
$ged->order;
$ged->set_encoding("utf-8");
$ged->write($new_gedcom_file, $flush);
$ged->write_xml($new_xml_file);
my @individuals = $ged->individuals;
my @families = $ged->families;
my $me = $ged->get_individual("Paul Johnson");
my $xref = $ged->next_xref("I");
my $record = $ged->add_header;
                   add_submitter
                   add_individual
                   add_family
                   add_note
                   add_repository
                   add_source
                   add_trailer
my $source = $ged->get_source("S1");

DESCRIPTION

This module provides for manipulation of GEDCOM files. GEDCOM is a format for storing genealogical information designed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (http://www.lds.org). Information about GEDCOM used to be available as a zip file at ftp://gedcom.org/pub/genealogy/gedcom/gedcom55.zip. That may still be the case, but it seems to be password protected now. However, the document in that archive seems to be available in a somewhat more accessible format at https://chronoplexsoftware.com/gedcomvalidator/gedcom/gedcom-5.5.pdf.

Requirements:

Perl 5.005 or later
ActivePerl5 Build Number 520 or later has been reported to work

Optional Modules:

Date::Manip.pm       to work with dates
Text::Soundex.pm     to use soundex
Parse::RecDescent.pm to use lines2perl
Roman.pm             to use the LifeLines function roman from lines2perl

The GEDCOM format is specified in a grammar file (gedcom-5.5.grammar). Gedcom.pm parses the grammar which is then used to validate and allow manipulation of the GEDCOM file. I have only used Gedcom.pm with versions 5.5 and 5.5.1 of the GEDCOM grammar, which I had to modify slightly to correct a few errors. The advantage of this approach is that Gedcom.pm should be useful if the GEDCOM grammar is ever updated. It also made the software easier to write, and probably more dependable too. I suppose this is the virtue of laziness shining through.

The vice of laziness is also shining brightly - I need to document how to use this module in much greater detail. This is happening - this release has more documentation than the previous ones - but if you would like information feel free to send me mail or better still, ask on the mailing list.

This module provides some functions which work over the entire GEDCOM file, such as reformatting dates, renumbering entries and ordering the entries. It also allows access to individuals, and then to relations of individuals, for example sons, siblings, spouse, parents and so forth.

The distribution includes a lines2perl program to convert LifeLines programs to Perl. The program works, but it has a few rough edges, and some missing functionality. I'll be working on it when it hits the top of my TODO list.

There is now an option for read only access to the GEDCOM file. Actually, this doesn't stop you changing or writing the file, but it does parse the GEDCOM file lazily, meaning that only those portions of the GEDCOM file which are needed will be read. This can provide a substantial saving of time and memory providing that not too much of the GEDCOM file is read. If you are going to read the whole GEDCOM file, this mode is less efficient unless you do some manual housekeeping.

Should you find this software useful, or if you make changes to it, or if you would like me to make changes to it, please send me mail. I would like to have some sort of an idea of the use this software is getting. Apart from being of interest to me, this will guide my decisions when I feel the need to make changes to the interface.

There is a low volume mailing list available for discussing the use of Perl in conjunction with genealogical work. This is an appropriate forum for discussing Gedcom.pm and if you use or are interested in this module I would encourage you to join the list. To subscribe send an empty message to perl-gedcom-subscribe@perl.org.

To store my genealogy I wrote a syntax file (gedcom.vim) and used vim (http://www.vim.org) to enter the data, and Gedcom.pm to validate and manipulate it. I find this to be a nice solution.

GETTING STARTED

This space is reserved for something of a tutorial. If you learn best by looking at examples, take a look at the test directory, t. The most simple test is birthdates.t.

The first thing to do is to read in the GEDCOM file. At its most simple, this will involve a statement such as

my $ged = Gedcom->new($gedcom_file);

It is now possible to access the records within the GEDCOM file. Each individual and family is a record. Records can contain other records. For example, an individual is a record. The birth information is a sub-record of the individual, and the date of birth is a sub-record of the birth record.

Some records, such as the birth record, are simply containers for other records. Some records have a value, such as the date record, whose value is a date. This is all defined in the GEDCOM standard.

To access an individual use a statement such as

my $i = $ged->get_individual("Paul Johnson");

To access information about the individual, use a function of the same name as the GEDCOM tag, or its description. Tags and descriptions are listed at the head of Gedcom.pm. For example

for my $b ($i->birth) {
}

will loop through all the birth records in the individual. Usually there will only be one such record, but there may be zero, one or more. Calling the function in scalar context will return only the first record.

my $b = $i->birth;

But the second record may be returned with

my $b = $i->birth(2);

If the record required has a value, for example

my $n = $i->name;

then the value is returned, in this case the name of the individual. If there is no value, as is the case for the birth record, then the record itself is returned. If there is a value, but the record itself is required, then the get_record() function can be used.

Information must be accessed through the GEDCOM structure so, for example, the birthdate is accessed via the date record from the birth record within an individual.

my $d = $b->date;

Be aware that if you access a record in scalar context, but there is no such record, then undef is returned. In this case, $d would be undef if $b had no date record. This is another reason why looping through records is a nice solution, all else being equal.

Access to values can also be gained through the get_value() function. This is a preferable solution where it is necessary to work down the GEDCOM structure. For example

my $bd = $i->get_value("birth date");
my $bd = $i->get_value(qw(birth date));

will both return an individual's birth date or undef if there is none. And

my @bd = $i->get_value("birth date");

will return all the birth dates. The second birth date, if there is one, is

my $bd2 = $i->get_value(["birth", 2], "date");

Using the get_record() function in place of the get_value() function, in all cases will return the record rather than the value.

All records are of a type derived from Gedcom::Item. Individuals are of type Gedcom::Individual. Families are of type Gedcom::Family. Events are of type Gedcom::Event. Other records are of type Gedcom::Record which is the base type of Gedcom::Individual, Gedcom::Family and Gedcom::Event.

As individuals are of type Gedcom::Individual, the functions in Gedcom::Individual.pm are available. These allow access to relations and other information specific to individuals, for example

my @sons = $i->sons;

It is possible to get all the individuals in the GEDCOM file as

my @individuals = $ged->individuals;

So putting everything together, here is a little program which will print out the names and birthdates of everyone in a GEDCOM file specified on the command line.

#!/bin/perl -w

use strict;
use Gedcom;

my $ged = Gedcom->new(shift);

for my $i ($ged->individuals) {
    for my $bd ($i->get_value("birth date")) {
        print $i->name, " was born on $bd\n";
    }
}

HASH MEMBERS

I have not gone the whole hog with data encapsulation and such within this module. Maybe I should have done. Maybe I will. For now though, the data is accessible though hash members. This is partly because having functions to do this is a little slow, especially on my old DECstation, and partly because of laziness again. I'm not too sure whether this is good or bad laziness yet. Time will tell no doubt.

As of version 1.05, you should be able to access all the data through functions, and as of version 1.10 write access is available. I have a faster machine now.

Some of the more important hash members are:

$ged->{grammar}

This contains the GEDCOM grammar.

See Gedcom::Grammar.pm for more details.

$ged->{record}

This contains the top level gedcom record. A record contains a number of items. Each of those items are themselves records. This is the way in which the hierarchies are modelled.

If you want to get at the data in the gedcom object, this is where you start.

See Gedcom::Record.pm for more details.

METHODS

new

my $ged = Gedcom->new;

my $ged = Gedcom->new($gedcom_file);

my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_version => "5.5.1",
                      gedcom_file     => $gedcom_file,
                      read_only       => 1,
                      callback        => $cb);

my $ged = Gedcom->new(grammar_file => "gedcom-5.5.grammar",
                      gedcom_file  => $gedcom_file);

Create a new gedcom object.

gedcom_file is the name of the GEDCOM file to parse. If you do not supply a gedcom_file parameter then you will get an empty Gedcom object, empty that is apart from a few mandatory records.

You may optionally pass grammar_version as the version number of the GEDCOM grammar you want to use. There are two versions available, 5.5 and 5.5.1. If you do not specify a grammar version, you may specify a grammar file as grammar_file. Usually, you will do neither of these, and in this case the grammar version will default to the latest full available version, currently 5.5. 5.5.1 is only a draft, but it is available if you specify it.

The read_only parameter indicates that the Gedcom data structure will be used primarily for read_only operations. In this mode the GEDCOM file is read lazily, such that whenever possible the Gedcom records are not read until they are needed. This can save on both memory and CPU usage, provided that not too much of the GEDCOM file is needed. If the whole of the GEDCOM file needs to be read, for example to validate it, or to write it out in a different format, then this option should not be used.

When using the read_only option an index file is kept which can also speed up operations. It's usage should be transparent, but will require write access to the directory containing the GEDCOM file. If you access individuals only by their xref (eg I20) then the index file will allow only the relevant parts of the GEDCOM file to be read.

With or without the read_only option, the GEDCOM file is accessed in the same fashion and the data structures can be changed. In this respect, the name read_only is not particularly accurate, but since changing the Gedcom data will generally mean that the data will be written which means that the data will first be read, the read_only option is generally useful when the data will not be written and when not all the data will be read. You may find it useful to experiment with this option and check the amount of CPU time and memory that your application uses. You may also need to read this paragraph a few times to understand it. Sorry.

callback is an optional reference to a subroutine which will be called at various times while the GEDCOM file (and the grammar file, if applicable) is being read. Its purpose is to provide feedback during potentially long operations. The subroutine is called with five arguments:

my ($title, $txt1, $txt2, $current, $total) = @_;

$title is a brief description of the current operation
$txt1 and $txt2 provide more information on the current operation
$current is the number of operations performed
$total is the number of operations that need to be performed

If the subroutine returns false, the operation is aborted.

set_encoding

$ged->set_encoding("utf-8");

Valid arguments are "ansel" and "utf-8". Defaults to "ansel" but is set to "utf-8" if the GEDCOM data was read from a file which was deemed to contain UTF-8, either due to the presence of a BOM or as specified by a CHAR item.

Set the encoding for the GEDCOM file. Calling this directly doesn't alter the CHAR item, but does affect the way in which files are written.

write

$ged->write($new_gedcom_file, $flush);

Write out the GEDCOM file.

Takes the name of the new GEDCOM file, and whether or not to indent the output according to the level of the record. $flush defaults to false, but the new file name must be specified.

write_xml

$ged->write_xml($new_xml_file);

Write the GEDCOM file as XML.

Takes the name of the new GEDCOM file.

Note that this function is experimental. The XML output doesn't conform to any standard; it's just me trying to turn the GEDCOM format into sensible XML.

collect_xrefs

$ged->collect_xrefs($callback);

Collect all the xrefs into a data structure ($ged->{xrefs}) for easy location. $callback is not used yet.

Called by new().

resolve_xref

my $xref = $self->resolve_xref($value);

Return the record $value points to, or undef.

resolve_xrefs

$ged->resolve_xrefs($callback);

Changes all xrefs to reference the record they are pointing to. Like changing a soft link to a hard link on a Unix filesystem. $callback is not used yet.

unresolve_xrefs

$ged->unresolve_xrefs($callback);

Changes all xrefs to name the record they contained. Like changing a hard link to a soft link on a Unix filesystem. $callback is not used yet.

validate

return unless $ged->validate($callback);

Validate the Gedcom object. This performs a number of consistency checks, but could do even more. $callback is not properly used yet.

Any errors found are given out as warnings. If this is unwanted, use $SIG{__WARN__} to catch the warnings.

Returns true iff the Gedcom object is valid.

normalise_dates

$ged->normalise_dates;
$ged->normalise_dates("%A, %E %B %Y");

Change all recognised dates into a consistent format. This routine uses Date::Manip to do the work, so you can look at its documentation regarding formats that are recognised and % sequences for the output.

Optionally takes a format to use for the output. The default is currently "%A, %E %B %Y", but I may change this, as it seems that some programs don't like that format.

renumber

$ged->renumber;
my %xrefs = $ged->renumber(INDI => 34, FAM => 12, xrefs => [$xref1, $xref2]);

Renumber all the records.

Optional parameters are:

tag name => last used number (defaults to 0)
xrefs    => list of xrefs to renumber first

As a record is renumbered, it is assigned the next available number. The husband, wife, children, parents and siblings are then renumbered in that order. This helps to ensure that families are numerically close together.

The hash returned is the updated hash that was passed in.

sort_sub

$ged->order($ged->sort_sub);

Default ordering subroutine.

The sort is by record type in the following order: HEAD, SUBM, INDI, FAM, NOTE, TRLR, and then by xref within the type.

order

$ged->order;
$ged->order($order_sub);

Order all the records. Optionally provide a sort subroutine.

This orders the entries within the Gedcom object, which will affect the order in which they are written out. The default sort function is Gedcom::sort_sub. You will need to ensure that the HEAD record is first and that the TRLR record is last.

individuals

my @individuals = $ged->individuals;

Return a list of all the individuals.

families

my @families = $ged->families;

Return a list of all the families.

get_individual

my $me = $ged->get_individual("Paul Johnson");

Return a list of all individuals matching the specified name.

There are thirteen matches performed, in decreasing order of exactitude. This means that the more likely matches are at the head of the list.

In scalar context return the first match found.

The matches are:

 1 - Xref
 2 - Exact
 3 - On word boundaries
 4 - Anywhere
 5 - Exact, case insensitive
 6 - On word boundaries, case insensitive
 7 - Anywhere, case insensitive
 8 - Names in any order, on word boundaries
 9 - Names in any order, anywhere
10 - Names in any order, on word boundaries, case insensitive
11 - Names in any order, anywhere, case insensitive
12 - Soundex code
13 - Soundex of name

next_xref

my $xref = $ged->next_xref("I");

Return the next available xref with the specified prefix.

add_record

   add_header
   add_submitter
   add_individual
   add_family
   add_note
   add_repository
   add_source
   add_trailer

Create and return a new record of the specified type.

Normally you will not want to pass any arguments to the function. Those functions which have an xref (ie not header or trailer) accept an optional first argument { xref => $x } which will use $x as the xref rather than letting the module automatically choose the xref.

add_note also accepts an optional second argument which is the text to be used on the first line of the note.

get_record

   get_header
   get_submitter
   get_family
   get_note
   get_repository
   get_source
   get_trailer

Return all records of the specified type. In scalar context just return the first record. If a parameter is passed in, just return records of that xref.

LICENCE

Copyright 1998-2019, Paul Johnson (paul@pjcj.net)

This software is free. It is licensed under the same terms as Perl itself.

The latest version of this software should be available from my homepage: http://www.pjcj.net


Download Details:

Author: pjcj
Source Code: https://github.com/pjcj/Gedcom.pm

#perl 

I am Developer

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