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allaboutapps/DataSource 8.1.3
Simplifies the setup of UITableView data sources using type-safe descriptors for cells and sections. Animated diffing built-in.
⭐️ 72
🕓 14 weeks ago
iOS macOS watchOS tvOS
.package(url: "https://github.com/allaboutapps/DataSource.git", from: "8.1.3")


Swift 5 Carthage compatible CocoaPods compatible

Framework to simplify the setup and configuration of UITableView data sources and cells. It allows a type-safe setup of UITableViewDataSource and (optionally) UITableViewDelegate. DataSource also provides out-of-the-box diffing and animated deletions, inserts, moves and changes.


An example app is included demonstrating DataSource's functionality. The example demonstrates various uses cases ranging from a simple list of strings to more complex uses cases such as setting up a dynamic form.

Getting Started

Create a DataSource with a CellDescriptor that describes how the UITableViewCell (in this case a TitleCell) is configured using a data model (Example). Additionally, we also add a handler for didSelect which handles the didSelectRowAtIndexPath method of UITableViewDelegate.

let dataSource: DataSource = {
        cellDescriptors: [
            CellDescriptor<Example, TitleCell>()
                .configure { (example, cell, indexPath) in
                    cell.textLabel?.text = example.title
                    cell.accessoryType = .disclosureIndicator
                .didSelect { (example, indexPath) in
                    self.performSegue(withIdentifier: example.segue, sender: nil)
                    return .deselect

Next, setup your dataSource as the dataSource and delegate of UITableView.

tableView.dataSource = dataSource
tableView.delegate = dataSource

Next, create and set the models. Don't forget to call reloadData.

dataSource.sections = [
    Section(items: [
        Example(title: "Random Persons", segue: "showRandomPersons"),
        Example(title: "Form", segue: "showForm"),
        Example(title: "Lazy Rows", segue: "showLazyRows"),
        Example(title: "Diff & Update", segue: "showDiff"),

dataSource.reloadData(tableView, animated: false)


DataSource can also be used to configure section headers and footers. Similar to CellDescriptors you can define one or more SectionDescriptors:

let dataSource: DataSource = {
        cellDescriptors: [
                .configure { (person, cell, indexPath) in
                    cell.configure(person: person)
        sectionDescriptors: [
                .header { (title, _) in

Sections headers and footers can have custom views (.view(...)) or simple titles (.title(...)). Delegate methods such as heightForHeaderInSection are supported as well (headerHeight).


Diffing and animated changes between two sets of data are supported if your data models implement the Diffable protocol.

public protocol Diffable {    
    var diffIdentifier: String { get }    
    func isEqualToDiffable(_ other: Diffable?) -> Bool

diffIdentifier is a String identifier which describes whether the identity of two models is different. Think of it as a primary key in a database. Different diffIdentifiers will lead to an animated insert, delete or move change. Additionally, isEqualToDiffable can be used to describe whether the data or content of a models has changed even if the diffIdentifier is the same. For example, if the name of a person was changed in a database, the primarykey of that person would usually remain the same. In such cases you usually don't want an insert, delete or move but instead and (potentially animated) update of the corresponding row in your table.

Diffing is demonstrated by two examples:

RandomPersonsViewController creates a random set of persons in two sections and animates the changes between the datasets.

private func randomData() -> [SectionType] {
    let count = Int.random(5, 15)

    let persons = (0 ..< count).map { _ in Person.random()  }.sorted()

    let letters = Set(["A", "B", "C", "D", "E", "F", "G", "H", "I", "J", "K", "L"])

    let firstGroup = persons.filter {
        $0.lastNameStartsWith(letters: letters)

    let secondGroup = persons.filter {
        !$0.lastNameStartsWith(letters: letters)

    return [
        Section("A - L", items: firstGroup),
        Section("M - Z", items: secondGroup),

@IBAction func refresh(_ sender: Any) {
    dataSource.sections = randomData()
    dataSource.reloadData(tableView, animated: true)

DiffViewController creates rows of numbers where the diffIdentifier is the number itself and the content is the name of that number in English or German. This shows how the animated row changes can be accomplished.

struct DiffItem {    
    let value: Int
    let text: String
    let diffIdentifier: String

    init(_ value: Int, text: String) {
        self.value = value
        self.text = text
        self.diffIdentifier = String(value)

extension DiffItem: Diffable {    
    public func isEqualToDiffable(_ other: Diffable?) -> Bool {
        guard let other = other as? DiffItem else { return false }
        return self.text == other.text

Please refer to the examples for the full code.

Hiding Rows and Sections

Both, CellDescriptor and SectionDescriptor provide an isHidden closure, which allow to simply hide and show rows based on any custom criteria.

The FormViewController example uses this to only show the last name field whenever the first name is not empty, and also shows an "additional fields" section whenever a switch is enabled:

lazy var dataSource: DataSource = {
        cellDescriptors: [
                .isHidden { (field, indexPath) in
                    if field.id == self.lastNameField.id {
                        return self.firstNameField.text?.isEmpty ?? true
                    } else {
                        return false
        sectionDescriptors: [
                .headerHeight { .zero },

                .header {
                    .title("Additional Fields")
                .isHidden {

The isHidden closure is evaluated whenever dataSource.reloadData(...) is called.

Delegates and Fallbacks

DataSource provides a convenient way to handle all UITableViewDelegate methods in a type-safe and simple way using closures. In most cases you define those closures on the CellDescriptor or SectionDescriptor. However, sometimes this leads to duplicated code if, for example, you have different cells but the code executed for a selection is the same. In these cases you can set the delegate closures on the DataSource itself:

dataSource.didSelect = { (row, indexPath) in
    return .deselect

These closures will be used as a fallback if no closure for the specific delegate method is defined on CellDescriptor (or SectionDescriptor).

Additionally, you can set a fallback UITableViewDelegate and UITableViewDataSource, which are again used if the matching closure on CellDescriptor or SectionDescriptor is not set.

dataSource.fallbackDelegate = self
dataSource.fallbackDataSource = self

Using these fallback mechanisms you can choose which parts of DataSource you want to use in your specific use case. For example, you could use it to setup and configure all your cells, animate changes between datasets but keep your existing UITableViewDelegate code.

The fallbackDelegate can be used to implement methods that don't belong to DataSource, like e.g. UIScrollViewDelegate methods. You should take extra care that the fallback delegate needs to be set before setting the table view delegate, otherwise certain delegate methods will never be called by UIKit.

// Always set the fallback before setting the table view delegate
dataSource.fallbackDelegate = self
tableView.dataSource = dataSource
tableView.delegate = dataSource

Custom bundles

Cells can be registered from custom bundles. You can specify in the cell descriptor from which bundle the cell should be loaded. The bundle defaults to the main bundle.

let descriptor = CellDescriptor(bundle: customBundle)

Cell Registration

If you define your cell types in a separate xib(outside your tableView definition in a storyboard) or entirely in code your cell needs to be registered with the tableView you want to use it with. You can either register the cell with the tableView manually(see UITableView docs) or let DataSource do that for you by conforming to the AutoRegisterCell protocol.

Version Compatibility

Current Swift compatibility breakdown:

Swift Version Framework Version
5.1 8.x
5.0 7.x
4.2 6.x
4.1 5.x
3.x 3.x, 4.x


Swift Package Manager (Recommended)

Add the following dependency to your Package.swift file:

.package(url: "https://github.com/allaboutapps/DataSource.git", from: "8.0.0")


Add the following line to your Cartfile.

github "allaboutapps/DataSource", ~> 8.0

Then run carthage update.


For DataSource, use the following entry in your Podfile:

pod 'MBDataSource'

Then run pod install.

In any file you'd like to use DataSource in, don't forget to import the framework with import DataSource.


Just drag and drop the .swift files in the DataSource folder into your project.


  • Create something awesome, make the code better, add some functionality, whatever (this is the hardest part).
  • Fork it
  • Create new branch to make your changes
  • Commit all your changes to your branch
  • Submit a pull request


Contact me at matthias.buchetics.com or follow me on Twitter.


Stars: 72
Last commit: 14 weeks ago
jonrohan Something's broken? Yell at me @ptrpavlik. Praise and feedback (and money) is also welcome.


Release Notes

8.1.0 - Context Menus and better SPM support
1 year ago
  • added support for iOS 13 style context menus
  • removed Carthage, Differ is added via SPM

Thanks @vuln3r

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