iOS 11 Files app integration and the UIDocumentBrowserViewController

My original article — How to Integrate Your App with Files App in iOS 11 — was published on

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to embrace iOS 11’s Files app. First, I’ll walk you through configuration of an app so that any files stored in its iOS file system-based “Documents” folder are made visible in the Files app and exposed to other apps installed on your device. Second, I’ll demonstrate how you can incorporate a Files app-like interface and functionality into your own apps. All of the Swift code I wrote to accomplish these two tasks is included below — and I’ve taken lots of screenshots regarding Files app integration. Sit back, enjoy, and learn about a fundamental paradigm shift in the iOS zeitgeist, moving from a “hide-the-details” (like hiding individual files) mindset to providing users with the ability to look at and manipulate files related to their apps using a macOS Finder-like interface, except on iOS.

To pique your interest, let’s look at a feature I encoded in the final app for this tutorial. We’ll use my app, named “Document-Based App,” to view an image file in the app’s main folder:

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Swift 4 memory management via ARC for reference types (classes)

RELATED: Learn how to identify and fix memory leaks, specifically strong reference cycles, in “Fixing memory leaks — strong reference cycles — in Swift 4.”

Most developers assume that Swift is a “safe” language in terms of memory management. That’s probably true most of the time, but there are some notable exceptions, especially when dealing with certain scenarios when using what are called “reference types” and “reference semantics.”

This tutorial is ultimately meant to prepare you for in-depth discussion of what seems to be inevitable shift from reference semantics to value semantics. Before I plunge into this software development paradigm shift, I want to provide you with a strong and understanding of how memory is managed when you create and use instances of the class type, a reference type. Oftentimes, reference-based memory management “just works” … until it doesn’t. Things don’t work mainly in situations where class types are designed with interdependencies and/or when multiple threads access the same instance (object) of a class type, and you get “memory leaks.” Swift manages reference-based memory with a technology Apple has dubbed “Automatic Reference Counting” (ARC). Before even begin talking about debugging memory leaks, you must understand ARC.

This discussion does not pertain to memory management for value types (struct, enum), but note that I will mention value types and value semantics several times in terms of comparison to reference types and reference semantics.

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