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Small data medium for transferring Swift ASTs
.package(url: "https://github.com/App-Maker-Software/SwiftASTConstructor.git", from: "0.50400.0")

Swift AST

A small data medium for transferring Swift ASTs. Primarily used in conjunction with SwiftInterpreter.

Internally, this library uses SwiftSyntax in conjuction with Swift compiler's libSyntax library. While SwiftSyntax is statically included in the prebuilt binary, libSyntax is not and must be linked yourself. For most, building on a Mac with Xcode installed will work, but many times (usually between Swift version updates) the expected libSyntax version will differ from what's installed on the system. Follow instructions on the SwiftSyntax repo for information for how to get a specific lib_InternalSwiftSyntaxParser.dylib needed for linking.


Declare SwiftPM dependency with release tag

Add this repository to the Package.swift manifest of your project:

// swift-tools-version:5.2
import PackageDescription

let package = Package(
  name: "MyTool",
  dependencies: [
    .package(name: "SwiftAST", url: "https://github.com/App-Maker-Software/SwiftAST.git", .exact("<#Specify Release tag#>")),
  targets: [
      name: "MyTool",
      dependencies: [
        .product(name: "SwiftASTConstructor", package: "SwiftAST")

Replace <#Specify Release tag#> by the version of SwiftAST that you want to use (see the following table for mapping details).

Xcode Release Swift Release Tag SwiftAST Release Tag
Xcode 12.5 swift-5.4-RELEASE 0.50400.0

Intended Flow

  1. String of Swift on a server.
import SwiftASTConstructor

let sourceCode: String = """
var message = "hello"
message = message + " interpreted swift!"
return message

let astData: Data = SwiftASTConstructor.constructAST(from: sourceCode)
  1. Send the raw AST Data to a client with the SwiftInterpreter embeded.

  2. Client feeds the raw Data to the interpreter.

import SwiftInterpreter

let astData: Data = ...

let result = try! SwiftInterpreter.interpret(astData)
if let message = result as? String {
    print(message) // -> hello interpreted swift!


There are two main reasons for doing the AST contruction (or parsing) work up front (i.e. on a server).

  1. It helps the interpreter stay small. Right now it's under one megabyte. Adding the Swift compiler's parser as a dependency could weigh it down significantly. (I have not confirmed the size of the parser after linked with dead code stripping, but it's about 7 megabytes when found as a dylib pre-shipped with Xcode.)
  2. Linking the parser for iOS builds is a real pain, and there are numerous problems with submitting to the App Store with the parser embeded. Meanwhile, it's trivial to get it running on a Mac (and not much harded on Linux if you wanted to do the work on a server).


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iOS Software Engineer @ Perry Street Software
Perry Street Software is Jack’d and SCRUFF. We are two of the world’s largest gay, bi, trans and queer social dating apps on iOS and Android. Our brands reach more than 20 million members worldwide so members can connect, meet and express themselves on a platform that prioritizes privacy and security. We invest heavily into SwiftUI and using Swift Packages to modularize the codebase.


Swiftpack is being maintained by Petr Pavlik | @ptrpavlik | @swiftpackco | API