Swift Summit 2015
21st - 22nd March 2015 | London 🏴
291 days after the launch of the Swift programming language, Swift Summit was held in London, March 21st 22nd. What an amazing 2 days it was. I met some amazing people, learnt some incredibly interesting and thought provoking things, and came away highly inspired and enthusiastic about the future of iOS development.
Many thanks to Beren Rumble (@devberen) , Ida Kristiansson (@NomadicIda) and Morgan Evetts (@morqon) for organising and hosting such an amazing event. 👏
Swift Summit website link, twitter link.
Here are the notes I took. They should not be considered definitive or 100% accurate to the content presented, they are more just a reminder of some cool and interesting things that were said. Where possible I have tried to find links to the slides or presentation material.
Functional View Controllers
By Chris Eidhof, @ChrisEidhof
- View controllers have a tendency to do a lot of things.
- Setup views.
- Load data.
- Show new view controllers.
- Use functional techniques to solve this problem.
- See the “flow” of the application:
let flow = navigationController(loginViewController()) >>> orgsScreen >>> reposScreen >>> issuesScreen
- No need to create view controller subclasses.
- Complete decoupling of view controllers from data and other view controllers.
GitHub repo: chriseidhof/github-issues
Shortly after Swift Summit Chris shipped Scenery; a Mac app written entirely in Swift. He wrote his thoughts on using Swift in production here.
Share Your Code, Swift API Design: Getting Results
By Brian Gesiak, @modocache
- How do you write code other people want to use?
- How do you write compelling code?
- Code should be:
- When you have to write documentation to explain code, users will not read it and ultimately it is not precise.
- LLamaKit (repo) includes
ResultType which allows for a more precise way for error handling.
- “Railway Oriented Programming” concept facilitates handling errors that can occur at different times.
map when you only have a collection of values.
flatMap when you have a collection of failable results.
Gift (repo) for interacting with the GitHub API in Swift, which uses the railway concept
Brian’s retrospective blog post on Swift Summit.
Closures In API Design
By Hermés Piqué, @hpique
- Closures are self contained blocks of functionality
- UIAlertController is block based.
- Closures encourage code locality, particularly in comparison to the delegate pattern.
@autoclosure is for parameter values we may not use. Looks like it automatically wraps the parameter in a closure for use inside the function.
@noescape is for parameters that will not outlive the function call.
- no-op as default parameter for closures.
Back To The Futures
By Javier Soto, @Javi
- Do not use NSError.
- Too easy to just pass
nil - I often do
- Do you check the domain?
- Do you check the error code?
- Probabbly not - I often don’t
- Better to create your own
ErrorType to define the error cases which you care about.
- Introduces Futures, also known as Promises.
- Encapsulate a deferred computation.
- More declarative for failable asynchronous computation.
- Errors are carried though.
- Look really cool and useful having implemented (attempted) asynchronous operations before. Will make things much clearer.
- Futures are related to Reactive Cocoa.
- In fact Signals > Futures.
- Futures only work 1 day.
- Signals allow objects to be told about things that happen in the future as well as say what things should happen.
- Reactive Cocoa 3 is in alpha and uses Swift.
Playground demo link.
The Monad Among Us
By Al Skipp, @ChromophoreApp
- Code without
nil is saner code
- Optionals are simple values, but they do add complexity
Static Types and Zero-Cost Abstractions
By Airspeed Velocity, @AirSpeedSwift
- Structs pay no runtime penalties like classes do.
- Don’t unintentionally rewrite the standard library functions.
- For example,
sort is very efficient. Use it to sort your own data types rather than writing your own (less efficient) implementation.
How Swift is Swift?
By Joseph Lord, @jl_hfl
- Swift is designed for speed.
final for classes.
- Use constants with
ContiguousArray is more performant for arrays of
- For performance avoid
- global / class / static vars
- Function calls that cannot be inlined.
What Haskell Taught Me About Writing Swift
By Abizer Nasir, @abizern
- Favour structs over classes as much as possible.
- Do not mutate structs.
typealias is useful for making code cleaner.
- Higher order functions are easier to read.
By Ayaka Nonaka, @ayanonagon
Slides, Git Repo
- Design assets difficult to keep track of.
- Use a cocoapod for images and other assets designers create that are used in apps.
- Designers make a pull request on the cocoapod repo.
- UIImage category is automatically created to make each asset available in code.
- Not sure how this works when using
- @indragie’s swiftsrc (also written in Swift!) looks like a great option to achieve the same result if you are using
- Category creation is done with a script… in Swift!
- Writing Swift scripts is a good way to learn Swift before writing it for production software.
- Get access to all the frameworks in iOS within your script.
- Carthage is a dependency manager that builds a framework to integrate with your code. Works well with Swift scripts that live outside an Xcode project.
- cocoapods-rome works in a similar way by building a framework.
- Carthage vs Rome. Get it?
JSON, Swift and Type Safety: It’s a wrap
By Anthony Levings, @SketchyTech
- A number of approaches to dealing with JSON parsing in swift.
- Enum type wrapping approach uses associated values.
- Used in.
- Also Iolcos and Aldwych , which uses principles outlined in the talk.
Wonderful use of a drama-school-esque prop. Good work!
Death By Indecision
By Alexsander Akers, @a2
- Emoji-Driven-Presentation 📈😃👍
- Everyone has a side project.
- Weird when you think about it really.
- Consider a farmer: After a hard day of harvesting crops, do they go home and work on their crop harvesting side project?
- Parkinson’s law states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
- Something will take as much time as you set your self, not less.
- Set (stricter) deadlines to stop this.
- Work with other people to ship something.
- Commit to talking.
- Open source while the code is still embarrassing so you have to fix it. Keeping it private gets you off the hook.
If you have a OSS Swift app contact Beren Rumble (@devberen) and he can help promote and share it.
By Sally Shepard & Mark Martin, @mostgood & @urban_teacher
- Swift can totally be used in education for teaching programming
- The language itself is great, but the tooling is not there yet.
(Functional) Programming For Everyone
By Daniel Steinberg, @dimsumthinking
GitHub repo: Swift playground using Logo-like commands to teach kids programming.
- Playgrounds with swift can be used for teaching children to code.
- Realtime inline feedback!
- Playgrounds now get their own directory structure much like an Xcode project.
- Allows you to provide helper code.
- And a place where children can put their own implementations.
- Interesting question: Should we teach kids functional programming from the start rather than procedural programming?
- Interesting answer from Daniel: (paraphrasing)In the same way I don’t want kids to be drinking alcohol, I’m not sure how much functional programming they should be doing either!
Day 1 Panel Discussion
Panel: Brian Gesiak, Ayaka Nonaka, Chirs Eidhof & Airspeed Velocity
- Swift can be a backend language, but it is the infrastructure that is missing, like Heroku and AWS.
- Exciting to see the development of a new language that is less than a year old!
- Apple changing the language based on our feedback.
- We can decide it’s destiny.
- We can decide the best practises.
- An amazing opportunity.
The big question: Is Swift ready for production?
Fantastic answer from Ayaka: Do you think Objective-C is ready for production?
let swift: Race?
By Jack Nutting, @jacknutting
- Starts off with a translation of a Bible quote into Swift.
- He has not written any Objective-C since November.
- Advice is not not just use Swift for the sake of it - be pragmatic.
- After all Objective-C is not a bad thing.
- Nested method calls like
[[[object foo] bar] baz] isn’t just bad syntax, it is bad form.
- When using Swift, don’t just use enums where subclassing would be better for customisability.
- Inheritance and polymorphism are good things, use them!
- Subclassing and comparability are sometimes better than using enums.
- If a huge chunk of code revolves around switching on an enum, maybe using classes would be better.
final limits customisation through subclassing.
- However, future developers will want the flexibility to extend your system in ways you cannot foresee. A compromise is therefore necessary,
- “Premature optimisation is the root of all evil”.
- Remember functional programming is not a silver bullet.
- Use the lensing approach to avoid mutability.
Swift, Meet Objective-C
By Daniel Tomlinson, @dantoml
- “All Objective-C you write now is technical debt”. Controversial 😮
- Swift is the future, we need to look to it.
- Try building new APIs in Swift.
- Experiment when building new features.
- Remember, you can use Objective-C and Swift together. 👫
- Bridging exposes Objective-C headers to Swift.
- Previously when using Objective-C APIs in Swift there was a mess of implicitly unwrapped values. Additions in Obj-C to help this:
__null_resetable for properties
__null_unspecified is the default
- What you do get when using Swift code in Objective-C (limited to the runtime):
- Classes, but not generics or subclassing.
- No generic methods
- No default methods
- No KVO
- Cannot be swizzled, except when using the
- Enum, which is converted to NSEnum
- What you don’t get:
- WWDC 2014 videos 406 & 407 go through a lot.
- Advice: create your API in Objective-C and then bridge to Swift. Pick which one you want.
- Remember to include what namespace you want when using
@Objc, other wise you will lose it.
By Boris Bügling, @NeoNacho
Slides & Github Repo
- Boris is on the core team at cocoapods.
- In Swift import
- You can use dynamic introspection for Swift objects.
reflect method is in the standard library, but it is private so be careful.
NSInvocation does not exist in Swift.
Testing In Swift
By Jan Riehn, @jriehn
Slides & GitHub Repo
- Testing is an art.
- Swift offers some reflection, but it is private, so don’t use it.
- Cannot set variables through reflection so don’t use it.
- Learn to create your own test doubles rather than relying on mocking.
- This is easier and nicer in Swift as you can do it inline.
- You can use OCMock in Swift with some setup.
- But restricts you writing your tests in Objective-C 😞
- Create different test classes.
- One for the success cases.
- One for the failure cases.
- Separate your UI from the business logic.
- Create thin view controllers.
- From Swift 1.2 onwards no need to add your production test code to the test target.
- OCHamcrest has nice syntax for optionals.
Debugging In Swift
By Carola Nitz, @_Caro_N
- Swift can be hard to debug.
- Output from lldb it not helpful.
- Error messages make no sense.
- In lldb,
po is just an alias for
expression -O -- myObject
- For nicer output use
expression -l objc -O -- (id) <memoryAddress>
- Utilise conditional breakpoints. e.g. play a sound for feedback.
- Use exception breakpoint.
- Use symbolic breakpoints.
- Stop when a method is called.
- Can also stop on private methods.
- Tips for dealing with compilation errors:
- Remove variables.
- Split up instructions.
- You can use launch arguments passed at the start to override defaults.
- In the scheme editor:
- Add concurrency arguments for Core Data to check for thread safety.
AppleLanguages (es de)
- Use can use the Swift repl from inside lldb.
xcrun swift to clean the repl session.
- You can use activity tracing with breadcrumbs.
- Included in the crash report,
- However cannot log strings for user privacy.
- More info in objc.io
By Radek Pietruszewski, @radexp
Slides & related blogpost
- Focus on clarity
- Don’t write clever code. “Keep it simple, stupid”.
- Clarity ≠ Verbosity.
- Find the sweetspot between brevity and verbosity.
- This is where clarity lies.
- Remove the noise.
- Good example of this is the
replace string method, and a rewrite of NSTimer.
- Have an open mind when writing Swift.
- Programs must be read as well as executed.
- Use default arguments for methods that usually take arguments.
By Marcin Krzyżanowski, @krzyzanowskim
- Common Crypto framework available in Swift.
- SwiftSSL is a Swift wrapper around CommonCrypto.
- NaCL (Salt).
- Crypto Swift is pure Swift framework, but is slower. Supports:
- Symmetric Ciphers
- Block Cipher
By Simon Gladman, @FlexMonkey
Slides & related blogpost
- Metal is faster then SceneKit as it is lower level.
- But there is more of a development overhead.
- Has C++ style syntax.
Taylor Swift HTTP Framework
By Jorge Izquierdo, @izqui9
- Taylor is an HTTP server written in Swift.
- Can use Taylor in Playgrounds.
- Can embed it in your app for workarounds with WKWebView.
View From The Otherside
By Gem Barrett, @gembarrett
- Stereotype of Apple developers from web developers:
- Don’t touch this.
- Secrecy, lack of open source.
- Web / Native / Hybrid argument
By Kyle Fuller, @kylefuller
Representor - Hypermedia resource framework in Swift
- Kyle is the tech lead at CocoaPods
- REST is for good API design
- Lets us embrace change
- You should anticipate change.
- Facebook freeze their API for 2 years to ensure compatibility.
- REST promotes change.
- Take on Mark Zuckerberg quote: “Move fast and dont break things.”
- REST let’s us embrace change, so we can move fast and break nothing.
- REST is not about exposing a database.
- Design your API around representations, i.e. states.
- This avoids coupling implementation details, which can change.
- HATEOAS is a REST constraint. If you are not using HATEOAS you are not doing REST.
- API can be dynamic in what things it can do.
- Client is taught about the semantics so it can discover things for itself.
- Gracefully handle features that the API lacks / turns off.
- Use the SIREN JSON format for hypermedia.
Representor: Swift library for building and consuming Hypermedia messages
A collection of REST (HATEOAS) APIs:
- Exploring new concepts in Swift we didn’t have in Objective-C.
- You could use 👍 and 👎 emoji to indicate success and failure.
- We still need dynamic features in Swift as we have to use Objective-C for them still.
- Swift tooling needs improving.
- We can decide and make the best practises ourselves - golden opportunity.
- Be pragmatic about using Swift and Objective-C.
- Core Data is ripe for Swift rework. Hell Yes
- Maybe Apple would open source Swift? Only a question of when?
- Open sourcing would lead to Swift web frameworks as it would be available on every platform.