Book Image

Swift Essentials - Second Edition

By : Alex Blewitt
Book Image

Swift Essentials - Second Edition

By: Alex Blewitt

Overview of this book

Swift was considered one of the biggest innovations last year, and certainly with Swift 2 announced at WWDC in 2015, this segment of the developer space will continue to be hot and dominating. This is a fast-paced guide to provide an overview of Swift programming and then walks you through in detail how to write iOS applications. Progress through chapters on custom views, networking, parsing and build a complete application as a Git repository, all by using Swift as the core language
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Swift Essentials Second Edition
About the Author
About the Reviewer

Conditional logic

There are three key types of conditional logic in Swift (known as branch statements in the grammar): the if statement, the switch statement, and the guard statement. Unlike other languages, the body of the if must be surrounded with braces {}; and if typed in at the interpreter, the { opening brace must be on the same line as the if statement. The guard statement is a specialized if statement for use with functions and is covered in the section on functions later in this chapter.

If statements

Conditionally unwrapping an optional value is so common that a specific Swift pattern optional binding has been created to avoid evaluating the expression twice:

> var shopping = [ "Milk", "Eggs", "Coffee", "Tea", ]
> var costs = [ "Milk":1, "Eggs":2, "Coffee":3, "Tea":4, ]
> var cost = 0
> if let cc = costs["Coffee"] {
.   cost += cc
. }
> cost
$R0: Int = 3

The if block only executes if the optional value exists. The definition of the cc constant only exists for the body of the if block, and it does not exist outside of that scope. Furthermore, cc is a non-optional type, so it is guaranteed not to be nil.


Swift 1 only allowed a single let assignment in an if block causing a pyramid of nested if statements. Swift 2 allows multiple comma-separated let assignments in a single if statement.

> if let cm = costs["Milk"], let ct = costs["Tea"] {
.   cost += cm + ct
. }
> cost
$R1: Int = 8

To execute an alternative block if the item cannot be found, an else block can be used:

> if let cb = costs["Bread"] {
.   cost += cb
. } else {
.   print("Cannot find any Bread")
. }
Cannot find any Bread

Other boolean expressions can include the true and false literals, and any expression that conforms to the BooleanType protocol, the == and != equality operators, the === and !== identity operators, as well as the <, <=, >, and >= comparison operators. The is type operator provides a test to see whether an element is of a particular type.


The difference between the equality operator and the identity operator is relevant for classes or other reference types. The equality operator asks Are these two values equivalent to each other?, whereas the identity operator asks Are these two references equal to each other?

There is a boolean operator that is specific to Swift, which is the ~= pattern match operator. Despite the name, this isn't anything to do with regular expressions; rather, it's a way of asking whether a pattern matches a particular value. This is used in the implementation of the switch block, which is covered in the next section.

As well as the if statement, there is a ternary if expression that is similar to other languages. After a condition, a question mark (?) is used followed by an expression to be used if the condition is true, then a colon (:) followed by the false expression:

> var i = 17
i: Int = 17
> i % 2 == 0 ? "Even" : "Odd"
$R0: String = "Odd"

Switch statements

Swift has a switch statement that is similar to C and Java's switch. However, it differs in two important ways. Firstly, case statements no longer have a default fall-through behavior (so there are no bugs introduced by missing a break statement), and secondly, the value of the case statements can be expressions instead of values, pattern matching on type and range. At the end of the corresponding case statement, the evaluation jumps to the end of the switch block unless the fallthrough keyword is used. If no case statements match, the default statements are executed.


A default statement is required when the list of cases is not exhaustive. If they are not, the compiler will give an error saying that the list is not exhaustive and that a default statement is required.

> var position = 21
position: Int = 21
> switch position {
.   case 1: print("First")
.   case 2: print("Second")
.   case 3: print("Third")
.   case 4...20: print("\(position)th")
.   case position where (position % 10) == 1:
.     print("\(position)st")
.   case let p where (p % 10) == 2:
.     print("\(p)nd")
.   case let p where (p % 10) == 3:
.     print("\(p)rd")
.   default: print("\(position)th")
. }

In the preceding example, the expression prints out First, Second, or Third if the position is 1, 2, or 3, respectively. For numbers between 4 and 20 (inclusive), it prints out the position with a th ordinal. Otherwise, for numbers that end with 1, it prints st; for numbers that end with 2, it prints nd, and for numbers that end with 3, it prints rd. For all other numbers it prints th.

The 4...20 range expression in a case statement represents a pattern. If the value of the expression matches that pattern, then the corresponding statements will be executed:

> 4...10 ~= 4
$R0: Bool = true
> 4...10 ~= 21
$R1: Bool = false

There are two range operators in Swift: an inclusive or closed range, and an exclusive or half-open range. The closed range is specified with three dots; so 1...12 will give a list of integers between one and twelve. The half-open range is specified with two dots and a less than operator; so 1..<10 will provide integers from 1 to 9 but excluding 10.

The where clause in the switch block allows an arbitrary expression to be evaluated provided that the pattern matches. These are evaluated in order, in the sequence they are in the source file. If a where clause evaluates to true, then the corresponding set of statements will be executed.

The let variable syntax can be used to define a constant that refers to the value in the switch block. This local constant can be used in the where clause or the corresponding statements for that specific case. Alternatively, variables can be used from the surrounding scope.


If multiple case statements need to match the same pattern, they can be separated with commas as an expression list. Alternatively, the fallthrough keyword can be used to allow the same implementation to be used for multiple case statements.