Building a generic doubly linked list using protocol-oriented Swift 4

My original article — “Protocol-oriented Data Structures in Swift 4: A Generic Doubly Linked List” — was published on appcoda.com.

Follow along with this tutorial! Download the Swift 4 code from GitHub.

Let’s talk about creating a list on steroids, i.e., a generic doubly linked list in Swift. For our purposes here, a list is a software receptacle that contains related data that we’re interested in inspecting, organizing, manipulating, etc. A doubly linked list stores a list of “nodes.” Each node contains data, knows about the preceding node in the list, and knows about the following node in the list. We’ll talk about adding nodes to the list, removing nodes from the list, displaying information stored in nodes in the list, and traversing the list. I’ve used the term generic because you’ll see that I can store store pretty much every built-in or custom Swift type in my linked list, like Double, UINavigationController, Int, CGFloat, UIView, CGAffineTransform… You can even store a collection of instances of a custom class or struct in my list (see section “Storing custom types” below). Most importantly, I’ll show you how to move towards generic programming, also known as generics, parametric polymorphism, templates, or parameterized types, where, when possible, we can write code that applies to many types, and thus reduces code redundancy.

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Self versus self in Swift 4 – capital “S” and lowercase “s”

RELATED: Find out how to make a copy of a class instance (object) using a C++-like copy constructor — a copy initializer in Swift.

Those of you who’ve used Objective-C and Swift for any meaningful length of time must be familiar with the self property of structs and classes. I’m not sure how many are aware of the Self “type” (sometimes called a “requirement”). I would be very interested in knowing how many understand the difference between self and Self. I’m talking about self with lower-case “s,” which I’ll call “small self” herein. It’s pretty well documented. Similarly, Self with an upper-case “S,” is what I’ll call “tall self” herein. It’s not very well documented.

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Class copy constructors in Swift 4 for defensive copying

Swift tutorials by iosbrain.com Notice that Swift almost seems to frown on making a copy of a reference type, i.e., a copy of an instance of a class, or, as some would rather put it, getting a copy of an object. I’m not talking about getting another reference to a class, I’m talking about getting an entire, separate copy of a class instance. This frowning on class copying is not an accident. Swift’s language architects want the syntax and semantics of the language to be crystal clear. They want developers to be confident that reference types and value types will both have 1) distinct and obvious meanings and that both types will 2) behave consistently. But still, why not be able to safely make a copy of a class instance? I’ll show you how in this tutorial by borrowing the copy constructor concept from C++. In Swift, we’d call this a “copy initializer.” (NOTE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know about NSCopying in Cocoa and Objective-C.)

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Two Structural Design Patterns in Swift: Facade and Adapter

Swift tutorials by iosbrain.com My original article — “Design Patterns in Swift #3: Facade and Adapter” — was published on appcoda.com.

This tutorial is the third installment in my series on design patterns. I started with a tutorial examining two examples of patterns in the “creational” category: factory method and singleton. I then discussed two examples of patterns in the “behavioral” category: observer and memento. In this tutorial, I’ll explain two examples of patterns in the “structural” category: facade and adapter. I urge you to review my first two posts mentioned above so you can familiarize yourself with the concept of software design patterns. Beyond a brief reminder today of what constitutes a design pattern, I’m not going to regurgitate all the definitions again. All the information you need to get up to speed is in my first to tutorials, here and here.

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How drawing works in an Xcode playground

How many of you use freeform drawing in Xcode playgrounds? How many of you understand how drawing in playgrounds work? Xcode playgrounds can serve as great tools for prototyping your in-development apps, whether it be experimenting with algorithms or toying with ideas for app user interfaces. Granted that drawing in playgrounds is not that well documented. So the subject of this tutorial is how drawing in Xcode playgrounds works and a good number of pointers to help you start drawing in playgrounds. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

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Swift 4.2 improvements? Member/dot syntax for subscripts. Trying it out in a protocol-oriented, generic linked list.

The code shown herein will only compile and link in Xcode 10 beta and run on iOS 12 beta and/or OS X 10.14 beta.

While working on a Swift protocol-oriented and generic linked list, I got to thinking about Apple’s “improvements” to version 4.2 of their flagship language. Since a linked list is a list, I thought, “Why not add a subscript to my linked list to facilitate finding specific nodes in my list?” I did that in Swift 4.1 and got what most developers would’ve expected, e.g., used linkedList["node4"] to get the node in the list associated with the keyword “node4.” With Swift 4.2, I can use the controversial new @dynamicMemberLookup language attribute and implement dot/member notation, like linkedList.node4 to get that same node in the list associated with “node4.” Big improvement, huh? Well, maybe. We’ll talk about how this new and improved subscript is more than just about syntactic sugar, but that the “driving motivation for this feature is to improve interoperability with inherently dynamic languages like Python, Javascript, Ruby and others.” Note that all code shown in this tutorial was written in two Xcode 10 beta playgrounds.

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Swift 4.2 improvements: #warning and #error compiler directives

The code shown herein will only compile and link in Xcode 10 beta and run on iOS 12 beta and/or OS X 10.14 beta.

We’re in the middle of Apple’s annual product upgrade cycle and this article is the second in a series of tutorials, started last week, meant to highlight the most important new features of Swift 4.2. Today, we’ll look at two two new Swift 4.2 features, the #warning and #error compiler directives.

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Two Behavioral Design Patterns in Swift: Observer and Memento

My original article — “Design Patterns in Swift #2: Observer and Memento” — was published on appcoda.com.

This tutorial is the second installment in a series on design patterns started last week. There are 23 classic software development design patterns probably first identified, collected, and explained all in one place by the “Gang of Four” (“GoF”), Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides in their seminal book, “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software.” Today, we’ll focus on two of these patterns, “observer” and “memento,” which fall into what the GoF calls the “behavioral” category. Follow along with the Xcode projects, both on GitHub, available for observer here and memento here.

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Swift 4.2 improvements to Collection and Sequence protocols with method allSatisfy

The code shown herein will only compile and link in Xcode 10 beta and run in iOS 12 beta and/or OS X 10.14 beta.

We’re in the middle of Apple’s annual product upgrade cycle and this article is the first in a series of tutorials meant to highlight the most important new features of Swift 4.2. Instead of trying to cover all of the 4.2 features/improvements in one very long article, I’m going go talk about each aspect of the new 4.2 version, one or two features at a time. (If you’re interested in more details as to why I’m focused on 4.2, see section “Swift version methodology” below.) Today, I’ll cover the allSatisfy(_:) instance method (see also here) of the Sequence protocol (see also here), of course intimately related to the Collection protocol (see also here).

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Controlling chaos: Error checking in Swift 4 with if let, guard, and failable initializers

Swift tutorials by iosbrain.com In this tutorial, the third in a series of tutorials, we’re going to finish the arduous topic of looking for unexpected values, events, and conditions that arise during program execution, using a technique I like to call “error checking.” Today, I’ll concentrate on nil values, optionals, optional binding, the guard statement, failable initializers, and finally, give you some advice about keeping your error checking code consistent, for example, when to use Swift “Error Handling” or when just to return true/false or use guard statements.

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