Swift concurrency

The difference between checked and unsafe continuations in Swift

Published on: April 24, 2022

When you’re writing a conversion layer to transform your callback based code into code that supports async/await in Swift, you’ll typically find yourself using continuations. A continuation is a closure that you can call with the result of your asynchronous work. You have the option to pass it the output of your work, an object that conforms to Error, or you can pass it a Result. In this post, I won’t go in-depth on showing you how to convert your callback based code to async/await (you can refer to this post if you’re interested in learning more). Instead, I’d like...

Read more...

Wrapping existing asynchronous code in async/await in Swift

Published on: April 24, 2022

Swift’s async/await feature is an amazing way to improve the readability of asynchronous code on iOS 13 and newer. For new projects, this means that we can write more expressive, more readable, and easier to debug asynchronous code that reads very similar to synchronous code. Unfortunately, for some of us adopting async/await means that we might need to make pretty significant changes to our codebase if it’s asynchronous API is currently based on functions with completion handlers. Luckily, we can leverage some of Swift’s built-in mechanisms to provide a lightweight wrapper around traditional asynchronous code to bring it into the...

Read more...

Comparing lifecycle management for async sequences and publishers

Published on: April 12, 2022

In my previous post you learned about some different use cases where you might have to choose between an async sequence and Combine while also clearly seeing that async sequence are almost always better looking in the examples I’ve used, it’s time to take a more realistic look at how you might be using each mechanism in your apps. The details on how the lifecycle of a Combine subscription or async for-loop should be handled will vary based on how you’re using them so I’ll be providing examples for two situations: Managing your lifecycles in SwiftUI Managing your lifecycles virtually...

Read more...

Comparing use cases for async sequences and publishers

Published on: April 12, 2022

Swift 5.5 introduces async/await and a whole new concurrency model that includes a new protocol: AsyncSequence. This protocol allows developers to asynchronously iterate over values coming from a sequence by awaiting them. This means that the sequence can generate or obtain its values asynchronously over time, and provide these values to a for-loop as they become available. If this sounds familiar, that’s because a Combine publisher does roughly the same thing. A publisher will obtain or generate its values (asynchronously) over time, and it will send these values to subscribers whenever they are available. While the basis of what we...

Read more...

Understanding Swift’s AsyncSequence

Published on: November 1, 2021

The biggest features in Swift 5.5 all revolve around its new and improved concurrency features. There's actors, async/await, and more. With these features folks are wondering whether async/await will replace Combine eventually. While I overall do not think that async/await can or will replace Combine on its own, Swift 5.5 comes with some concurrency features that provide very similar functionality to Combine. If you're curious about my thoughts on Combine and async/await specifically, I still believe that what I wrote about this topic earlier is true. Async/await will be a great tool for work that have a clearly defined start...

Read more...

Using Swift’s async/await to build an image loader

Published on: September 6, 2021

Async/await will be the defacto way of doing asynchronous programming on iOS 15 and above. I've already written quite a bit about the new Swift Concurrency features, and there's still plenty to write about. In this post, I'm going to take a look at building an asynchronous image loader that has support for caching. SwiftUI on iOS 15 already has a component that allows us to load images from the network but it doesn't support caching (other than what’s already offered by URLSession), and it only works with a URL rather than also accepting a URLRequest. The component will be...

Read more...

Building a token refresh flow with async/await and Swift Concurrency

Published on: August 16, 2021

One of my favorite concurrency problems to solve is building concurrency-proof token refresh flows. Refreshing authentication tokens is something that a lot of us deal with regularly, and doing it correctly can be a pretty challenging task. Especially when you want to make sure you only issue a single token refresh request even if multiple network calls encounter the need to refresh a token. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you automatically retry a request that failed due to a token expiration after you've obtained a new (valid) authentication token. I wrote about a flow that does this before,...

Read more...

Using Swift Concurrency’s task group for tasks with varying output

Published on: August 9, 2021

Earlier, I published a post on Swift Concurrency's task groups. If you haven't read that post yet, and you're not familiar with task groups, I recommend that you read that post first because I won't be explaining task groups in this post. Instead, you will learn about a technique that you can use to work around a limitation of task groups. Task groups can run a number of child tasks where every child task in the task group produces the same output. This is a hard requirement of the withTaskGroup function. This means that task groups are not the right...

Read more...

Running tasks concurrently with Swift Concurrency’s async let

Published on: August 9, 2021

In last week's post, I demonstrated how you can use a task group in Swift to concurrently run multiple tasks that produce the same output. This is useful when you're loading a bunch of images, or in any other case where you have a potentially undefined number of tasks to run, as long as you (somehow) make sure that every task in your group produces the same output. Unfortunately, this isn't always a reasonable thing to do. For example, you might already know that you only have a very limited, predetermined, number of tasks that you want to run. These...

Read more...

Running tasks in parallel with Swift Concurrency’s task groups

Published on: August 5, 2021

With Apple's overhaul of how concurrency will work in Swift 5.5 and newer, we need to learn a lot of things from scratch. While we might have used DispatchQueue.async or other mechanisms to kick off multiple asynchronous tasks in the past, we shouldn't use these older concurrency tools in Swift's new concurrency model. Luckily, Swift Concurrency comes with many features already which means that for a lot of our old uses cases, a new paradigm exists. In this post, you will learn what Swift Concurrency's task groups are, and how you can use them to concurrently perform a lot of...

Read more...