Swiftpack.co - Package - ckornher/PolyCodable


Easy to use, safe support for polymorphic Swift codables.

A Natural Extension to the Codable APIs.

PolyCodable is a package that extends the Swift Codable APIs. It is optimized to simplify the use of polymorphic classes, while minimizing the work required to define them.

A number of blog posts and other examples encode and/or decode polymorphic objects utilizing low-level features of the Codable APIs. PolyCodable minimally extends the high level Codable API, allowing developers to use common techniques, treating references to polymorphic objects almost exactly like any other codable value.

Type Safety

The Codable system introduced in Swift 4 is strongly typed -- it utilizes enums for coding keys, and generics, for example. The architecture of the PolyCodable package was chosen to fit with the Codable style, and add polymorphic support as seamlessly and safely as possible.

How Are PolyCodable Classes Used?

At the call site, the code looks very similar to standard, non-polymorphic code. If class A and B descend from a common polymorphic base class:

class A : MyBaseClass {...}

class B : MyBaseClass {...}

A class C contains an optional and non-optional instance that can each be an A or a B could look like:

class C {
  let v1: MyBaseClass
  let v2: MyBaseClass?

  private enum CodingKeys: CodingKey {
    case v1
    case v2
  required init(from decoder: Decoder) throws {
    let container = try decoder.container(keyedBy: CodingKeys.self)
    v1 = try container.decodePolymorphic( MyBaseClass.self, forKey: .v1 )
    v2 = try container.decodePolymorphicIfPresent( MyBaseClass.self, forKey: .v2 )

  // No special polymorphic encoding code required (!) 

Of course, there is a bit more work required to define the PolyCodable classes, but this is all the coding required to use Polycodable classes that already exist.

Variables that are not polymorphic, e.g. variables typed to one of the child classes above:

	let v: A

can be encoded and decoded just like any other codable value.

How Are PolyCodable Classes Defined?

Implementing the discriminator enum

Polycodable defines an enum protocol that is at the core of polymorphic support:

public protocol PolymorphicDiscriminator : Codable, RawRepresentable where Self.RawValue == String {
  func from<PC: PolyCodable>(_ data: Data,
                             jsonDecoder decoder: JSONDecoder) throws -> PC

  func decode<PC: PolyCodable, Key: CodingKey>(from container: KeyedDecodingContainer<Key>,
                                               forKey key: Key) throws -> PC

  func decodeNext<PC: PolyCodable>(from container: inout UnkeyedDecodingContainer) throws -> PC

Note: The PC types are different for each of the generic methods in this protocol. it is possible to create methods with different PC classes for each of these methods. Don't do that. All the PC classes should be the same. Earlier versions of this package had PC as an associated type in this protocol. This restricted the ways that this protocol could be used and it was decided that this potential inconsistency was an acceptable tradeoff.

The base class

It is often the case that a polymorphic class tree is self-contained and can, therefore, share an arbitrary base class. The PolyCodable package supplies a generic base class can be used to simplify the implementation of these systems. If the base class is "empty", a typealias can be used to define the parent class:

typealias MyBaseClass = PolymorphicBaseClass<MyClassType, MyClassTypeCodingKey> 

More Coming Soon

Some Details

Classes Only

Polymorphism is normally associated with classes. It is possible to create other related entities with characteristics similar to polymorphic classes, but this package only supports polymorphic classes. Pure Swift classes and NSObject-based classes are supported.

Simple Support for Common Use Cases


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