June 19, 2014

Learning Swift: Optional Types

Note: this post is part of a series about the Swift programming language, introduced at WWDC 2014. I’m no more experienced in Swift than anyone else outside Apple, but I learn best by coding and talking through a problem. If there’s a better way to approach some of these topics, get in touch on Twitter!

We’ve had a little over two weeks to play with the Swift programming language now, and one sharp edge that keeps coming up is the language’s inclusion of what they call “optional types”. The vast majority of Objective-C developers are familiar with the use of nil to indicate a nonexistent value, but communicating that kind of information through a variable’s type is a bit more foreign.

In this post, we’ll have an introductory discussion about how Swift provides optional types, go over a couple of implementation details, and point out a few tough spots in the optional system.

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June 2, 2014

Learning Swift: Ordered Dictionaries

Note: this post begins a new series about the Swift programming language, introduced at WWDC 2014. I’m no more experienced in Swift than anyone else outside Apple, but I learn best by coding and talking through a problem. If there’s a better way to approach some of these topics, get in touch on Twitter!

An ordered dictionary is a useful data structure that combines attributes of an array and a dictionary. Like an array, it stores elements in the order they’re added, and enumeration happens in the same fixed order every time. It also satisfies the basic idea of a dictionary: it stores key-value pairs, and can look up values by key.

Ordered dictionaries are incredibly useful tools for all kinds of development. To crib an example from the Swift book, an ordered dictionary might help an app display people and their ages: you might use names for keys, ages for values, and use the order to provide data in table cells by index path (and support user-driven reordering, to boot).

In this article, we’ll build an ordered dictionary atop the two primitive collection types already in Swift: an Array and a Dictionary. Let’s go!

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May 28, 2013

AppleScripting Keynote PDF export

This past weekend I found myself in a situation where I would need to export 20 or so Keynote files to PDF ... and I really wanted to avoid having to go through all of them manually. More