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karwa/swift-url 0.4.1
A new URL type for Swift
โญ๏ธ 322
๐Ÿ•“ 1 year ago
linux macOS iOS
.package(url: "https://github.com/karwa/swift-url.git", from: "0.4.1")


A new URL type for Swift.

๐ŸŒ  Standards Compliant

WebURL fully supports the latest URL Standard, which specifies how modern browsers such as Safari and Chrome interpret URLs. It includes support for Unicode domain names (IDNA).

Foundation's URL and URLComponents each conform to different standards (about 20 years old) and neither of them match how browsers and other modern software such as NodeJS processes URLs. WebURL does.

๐Ÿญ  Delightful to Use

We take full advantage of Swift to offer a rich, expressive API that encourages modern best practices and ways of working with URLs. Common tasks like reading or modifying a URL's path or query are easier to do, more efficient, and help you avoid subtle mistakes.

Even asking whether two URLs are == is full of surprising edge-cases when working with Foundation's URL. WebURL has greatly simplified semantics, which helps make your applications more robust and matches how you probably think about URLs.

๐Ÿ”—  ๐Ÿงณ  Portable, Interoperable

The core WebURL library has no external dependencies or platform-specific behavior. Everything works the same everywhere, and everything fully back-deploys.

And thanks to integration libraries that come with this package, WebURL still works seamlessly with Foundation and swift-system. We've also ported async-http-client to use WebURL, which shows how easy it is for swift-nio-based projects to adopt.

โšก๏ธ  Fast

Despite offering very high-level APIs, WebURL also delivers great performance and low memory use. Extra effort has been spent on optimizing common operations such as converting URLs to/from strings (such as from JSON), or making efficient in-place modifications.

The API uses the concept of write-through views to expose its lower-level generic implementation in a separate scope, without polluting the rest of the API. This allows high-volume workflows to achieve minimal overheads (for example, applications which parse lists of URLs or scan data can do so directly from the bytes of a file).

(and it's written in 100% Swift).

๐Ÿ“š Check out the Documentation to learn more ๐Ÿ“š

Using WebURL in your project

To use this package in a SwiftPM project, you need to set it up as a package dependency:

// Add the package as a dependency.
dependencies: [
  .package(url: "https://github.com/karwa/swift-url", .upToNextMinor(from: "0.4.0"))

// Then add the WebURL library as a target dependency.
targets: [
    name: "<Your target>",
    // ๐Ÿ‘‡ Add this line ๐Ÿ‘‡
    dependencies: [ .product(name: "WebURL", package: "swift-url") ]

And with that, you're ready to start using WebURL:

import WebURL

var url = WebURL("https://github.com/karwa/swift-url")!
url.scheme   // "https"
url.hostname // "github.com"
url.path     // "/karwa/swift-url"

// "https://github.com/"

url.pathComponents += ["apple", "swift"]
// "https://github.com/apple/swift"

๐Ÿ“š Check out the Documentation to learn about WebURL's API ๐Ÿ“š

๐Ÿ”— Integration with Foundation

The WebURLFoundationExtras compatibility library allows you to convert between WebURL and Foundation URL values, including making URLSession requests with WebURLs.

To make WebURLFoundationExtras available, add it to your target dependencies and import it from your code.

targets: [
    name: "<Your target>",
    dependencies: [
      .product(name: "WebURL", package: "swift-url"),
      // ๐Ÿ‘‡ Add this line ๐Ÿ‘‡
      .product(name: "WebURLFoundationExtras", package: "swift-url")

With that, you can take full advantage of WebURL, while keeping compatibility with existing clients. Again, since WebURL is a fully portable package solution, you can even take advantage of features such as Unicode domain names (IDNA), and it all back-deploys, effortlessly.

import Foundation
import WebURL
import WebURLFoundationExtras

// Make URLSession requests using WebURL, including IDNA support.
let task = 
  URLSession.shared.dataTask(with: WebURL("https://๐Ÿ˜€.example.com/")!) {
    data, response, error in
    // Works!

// Also supports Swift concurrency.
let (data, _) = 
  try await URLSession.shared.data(from: WebURL("https://ๆ•ฐๆฎ.example.com/")!)

// URL <-> WebURL conversion allows incremental adoption.
public func connect(to url: Foundation.URL) throws {
  guard let webURL = WebURL(url) else {
    throw InvalidURLError()
  // Internal code uses WebURL...

For more information about why WebURL is a great choice even for applications and libraries using Foundation, and a discussion about how to safely work with multiple URL standards, read: Using WebURL with Foundation.

๐Ÿ”— Integration with swift-system

The WebURLSystemExtras library allows you to convert between file: URLs and FilePaths. That's actually quite a complex operation because it has never been standardized and there are lots of legacy issues to understand, but we took the time and created a great implementation. The trickiest platform is always Windows, so we based our implementation on Chromium rather than Foundation, with extra security filters inspired by rust-url and our own research, and built a comprehensive test database to make sure we handled all the known edge-cases.

That means WebURL has excellent support for both POSIX (Apple/Linux/etc) and Windows paths, including legacy, pre-Unicode file URLs. There are a lot of documents whose names use pre-Unicode text encodings (e.g. SHIFT-JIS in Japan, or EUC-KR in South Korea), and they still need their URLs to work. It's tricky (Unicode is definitely better), but we should support them just as well as Chrome does. We're making a big effort to be the best way to work with file: URLs, on all platforms Swift supports.

To make WebURLSystemExtras available, add it to your target dependencies and import it from your code.

  name: "<Your target>",
  dependencies: [
    .product(name: "WebURL", package: "swift-url"),
    // ๐Ÿ‘‡ Add this line ๐Ÿ‘‡
    .product(name: "WebURLSystemExtras", package: "swift-url")

And that's it - you're good to go! It does a lot, but it's super easy to use!

import System
import WebURL
import WebURLSystemExtras

func openFile(at url: WebURL) throws -> FileDescriptor {
  // WebURL -> FilePath
  let path = try FilePath(url: url)
  return try FileDescriptor.open(path, .readOnly)

๐Ÿงช async-http-client Port

Our port of async-http-client uses WebURL for all of its internal URL handling. It's the best Swift library for ensuring your HTTP requests use web-compatible URL processing, and is a great demonstration of how to adopt WebURL in a library using swift-nio. It keeps all the features and even (mostly) keeps compatibility with the existing Foundation.URL API.

The port also has an experimental mode which allows it to be built without any Foundation dependency at all. This relies on a non-public standard library API to replace the one call we use from Foundation, so for now it is an opt-in feature, but everything works and there are some significant performance advantages from it. Lots of developers have been trying to look beyond Foundation for next-generation, pure Swift libraries, but until now URLs have been an obstacle; they're not trivial, and since they get passed around a lot as a currency type, any replacement needs to meet or exceed the capabilities and ergonomics of URL, URLComponents, and related APIs for things like percent-encoding. WebURL does all of that.

Note: We'll be updating this port periodically, so if you wish to use it in an application we recommend making a fork and pulling in changes as you need.

import AsyncHTTPClient
import WebURL

let client = HTTPClient(eventLoopGroupProvider: .createNew)

// The async API uses WebURL behind the scenes (in our port).
do {
  let request = HTTPClientRequest(url: "https://github.com/karwa/swift-url/raw/main/README.md")
  let response = try await client.execute(request, timeout: .seconds(30)).body.collect()
  print(String(decoding: response.readableBytesView, as: UTF8.self))
  // "# WebURL A new URL type for Swift..."

// Also supports the traditional NIO EventLoopFuture API.
do {
  let url = WebURL("https://github.com/karwa/swift-url/raw/main/README.md")!

  let response = try client.execute(request: try HTTPClient.Request(url: url))
    .map { response in
      response.body.map { String(decoding: $0.readableBytesView, as: UTF8.self) }
  // "# WebURL A new URL type for Swift..."

๐Ÿ—บ Project Status & Roadmap

Standards Compliance

WebURL fully implements the latest version of the URL Standard.

We validate conformance using the shared web-platform-tests used by the major browsers and other libraries. All constructor, setter, and IDNA tests pass (code), and our implementation of IDNA is validated by these and Unicode's UTS46 conformance test suite (code).

If you find any situations where WebURL is not producing the correct result, please open a GitHub issue.

API Stability and Roadmap

While the package is still pre-1.0, there are only limited API stability guarantees.


The 0.x.x versions treat MINOR version numbers like MAJOR version numbers.

That means there will be no source-breaking changes between 0.3.x and 0.3.y, but we want the ability to make source-breaking changes between 0.3.x to 0.4.0 if necessary.

For stability, use a .upToNextMinor(from: ...) version constraint.
For the latest release, use .upToNextMajor(from: ...).

Version 1.0 is coming soon. I think the current API has the correct shape and scope, and its behavior should be relatively uncontroversial.

The one API I'm less sure about is formParams (for working with the URL's query). It has some nice ideas, but its behavior comes from Javascript's URLSearchParams class. That class has a number of quirks that even JS developers don't really love, so we should rethink how we want to approach query parameters before locking down the API.

There are also some areas where the language falls short. The URL Standard is a living standard, so we need to be careful about locking-in details that might realistically change. One issue is that they might support new kinds of host one day (currently it is only domains/ipv4/ipv6), and we really want to expose this data as a Swift enum - WebURL.Host. But enums in Swift are exhaustive, so if we added a new case to that enum in an update, that would be a source-breaking change. The result is that we can only support new kinds of host together with major version increments (e.g. 1.x -> 2.0).

Swift has non-exhaustive enums, which force switch statements to handle @unknown default: patterns and allowing libraries to add new cases later. You see that in SDK libraries, but unfortunately, it is not available to source packages. This API really needs to be an enum to be usable though; so, painful as it is, we're accepting that limitation. We consider it unlikely that the URL Standard would add new kinds of host any time soon, though; it's not a common occurrence.

Other than that, I'm relatively happy with how things are.

If there's anything you think could be improved, this is a great time to let me know! Open a GitHub issue or post to the Swift forums.

๐Ÿ’ Sponsorship

I'm creating this library because I think that Swift is a great language, but it lacked a high-quality, modern library for handling URLs. It has taken a lot of time to get WebURL to this stage, and there is still a lot that can be done with it. If you'd like to show support for the project, consider donating a coffee or something.

โ„น๏ธ FAQ

How do I leave feedback?

Open a GitHub issue or post to the Swift forums.

Are pull requests/review comments/questions welcome?

Most definitely!

Is this production-ready?

I think so. With the caveat that the API is not yet stable across minor versions, only patch versions.

Testing and reliability have been taken extremely seriously from the beginning. The implementation is extensively tested, including against the shared web-platform-tests and Unicode conformance tests, used by the major browsers and other libraries. Having those shared test suites is a really valuable resource and should give you confidence that WebURL is actually interpreting the standard as other projects such as WebKit do.

The other library features are also extensively tested, with ~90% coverage, and many difficult-to-test assertions are checked using fuzz-testing (for example, that parsing and serialization are idempotent, that Foundation/WebURL conversions are safe, etc), so the behavior is well understood.

The benchmarks package available in this repository helps ensure we have consistent performance across a variety of devices and can measure any regressions. We are also mindful of code-size and do what we can to keep it down, while implementing the entire standard.

Why the name WebURL?

  1. WebURL is short but still distinct enough from Foundation's URL.

  2. The WHATWG works on technologies for the web platform. By following the WHATWG URL Standard, WebURL could be considered a kind of "Web-platform URL".


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Last commit: 1 week ago
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Release Notes

1 year ago

TSan Workaround

This release includes a workaround for a bug in TSan. PR #168 Issue #166 (thanks to @shadowfacts for the report)

TSan's internal bookkeeping seems to be corrupted if you use pass around an empty struct as an inout parameter. This pattern is sometimes used by generic algorithms (for example, the standard library's SystemRandomNumberGenerator is an empty struct), and is used internally by WebURL. There is no actual data race, but the corruption of TSan's bookkeeping data can lead to spurious reports of data races or even null-pointer dereferences within the TSan runtime.

To work around this, we add an unused field to these empty structs in debug builds.

Related bug reports: https://github.com/apple/swift/issues/61073 https://github.com/apple/swift/issues/61244 and https://github.com/apple/swift/issues/56405

Improvements to Testing

Additionally, some tests to Foundation extensions have been refactored, and the "Swifter" HTTP server dependency that was used by some tests has been dropped.

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