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A framework providing an implementation of table view and collection view data sources, along with a more declarative API by means of Sections.
.package(url: "https://github.com/peredaniel/DataSourceController.git", from: "1.1.0")

DataSourceController framework

Build Status Coverage Status CocoaPods compatible Carthage compatible Swift Package Manager compatible License Platform Language: Swift 4.2 Language: Swift 5.0

DataSourceController is a framework providing an implementation of UITableViewDataSource and UICollectionViewDataSource protocols, along with a more declarative API by means of Section instances. This enables to remove some boilerplate code from our view controllers, thus ending in a much cleaner code base.


Version Requirements
1.0.0 Xcode 10.0+
Swift 4.2+
iOS 10.0+

The framework is written using Swift 5.0, but there is no code specific to that Swift version. Therefore, it should work with projects using Swift 4.2.


You may install the framework through a dependency manager.

Using CocoaPods

To use CocoaPods, first make sure you have installed it and updated it to the latest version by following their instructions on cocoapods.org. Then, you should complete the following steps

  1. Add DataSourceController to your Podfile:
pod 'DataSourceController', '~>1.0.0'
  1. Update your pod sources and install the new pod by executing the following command in command line:
$ pod install --repo-update

Using Carthage

To use Carthage, first make sure you have installed it and updated it to the latest version by following their instructions on their repo.

  1. Add DataSourceController to your Cartfile:
github "peredaniel/DataSourceController" ~> 1.0.0
  1. Install the new framework by running Carthage:
$ carthage update

Using Swift Package Manager

To install using Swift Package Manager, add this to the dependencies section in your Package.swift file:

.package(url: "https://github.com/peredaniel/DataSourceController.git", .upToNextMinor(from: "1.0.0")),

Getting started

After installing the framework by any means of the above described, we can import the module by adding the following line in the "header" of any Swift file as follows:

import DataSourceController

First step is to implement our data controllers. A "data controller" is an object conforming to the CellDataController protocol:

protocol CellDataController {
    var reuseIdentifier: String { get }
    static func populate(with model: Any) -> CellDataController

A data controller is responsible for taking the data from the model object and convert it (if necessary) to data structures that can be displayed on screen by a UITableViewCell or UICollectionViewCell. Note that a data controller is tied to an identifier, not to a class. In particular, this implies that you can use the same controller on different cell classes that share the same reuse identifier.

A simple example of data controller is the following:

struct BasicCellDataController: CellDataController {
    let reuseIdentifier = "basicCell"
    let titleText: String

    static func populate(with model: Any) -> CellDataController {
    	guard let model = model as? String else {
    		return BasicCellDataController(titleText: "Incorrect data type")
        return BasicCellDataController(titleText: model)

This is the most basic data controller that we can implement: it takes a String instance as model object and simply stores it until it's necessary. Of course, if we consider that a basic cell is a cell capable of displaying only the title, then the actual font, alignment, background or any other UI specific decorator of the cell is cell-specific, but the data model behind all of those is the same: a String. As a consequence, it makes sense to use the same data controller too, which justifies tying the controller to the identifier and not the class itself.

Next step is to enable cells to retrieve data from the data controllers. To do so, we must conform our cell classes to the CellView protocol:

public protocol CellView {
    func configure(with dataController: CellDataController)

To follow the previous example, we could extend UITableViewCell to conform to the CellView protocol as follows:

extension UITableViewCell: CellView {
    public func configure(with dataController: CellDataController) {
    	guard let basicController = dataController as? BasicCellDataController else { return }
        textLabel?.text = basicController.titleText

This sets the text in the textLabel property of a UITableViewCell if the data controller is a BasicCellDataController. Note that if we have more data controllers, this function needs to distinguish all of them.

Now that we have our data controller and our cells ready for action, we may create an instance of a DataSourceController using one of the following initializers:

init(rows: [Any], delegate: DataSourceControllerDelegate?)

init(section: Section, delegate: DataSourceControllerDelegate?)

init(sections: [Section], delegate: DataSourceControllerDelegate?)

These initializers cover every possible situation that you may need:

  1. The objects to be listed are contained in an array and we require no header or footer.
  2. We require a single section with either header, footer or both. We can also omit both, thus returning to the previous case.
  3. We require several sections in the order given by the array, with one or more having either header, footer or both. We can also omit all the headers and footers.

Note: The delegate is optional and, in fact, can be omitted. It can also be assigned after the creation. We will describe it later.

Once we have the instance dataSourceControllerInstance, we need to register our data controller to use a specific data model as follows:

dataSourceControllerInstance.register(dataController: BasicCellDataController.self, for: String.self)

Finally, it only remains to assign the dataSource property of our UITableView or UICollectionView as follows:

myTableView.dataSource = dataSourceControllerInstance


myCollectionView.dataSource = dataSourceControllerInstance

A complete simple example is the following:

import DataSourceController
import UIKit

class TableViewController: UIViewController {
    @IBOutlet private var tableView: UITableView!

    private var rowEntries: [String] = ["First row", "Second row", "Third row", "Fourth row"]

    private lazy var dataSourceController: DataSourceController = {
    	let controller = DataSourceController(sections: rowEntries)
        controller.register(dataController: BasicCellDataController.self, for: String.self)
        return controller

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        tableView.dataSource = dataSourceController

where BasicCellDataController is described above.

That's it! The DataSourceController will automatically render the table view when the screen is loaded.

Section model

In the DataSourceController implementation, a Section is the main model object under use. Even the initializer taking an array of Any does create an instance of Section underneath. A Section is simply an instance of the following class:

class Section {
    var rows: [Any]
    var sectionData: SectionDataModelType?
    init(sectionData: SectionDataModelType? = nil, rows: [Any])

Note that the sectionData parameter is optional and may be omitted when initializing a Section instance. The SectionDataModelType is any object conforming to the following protocol:

protocol SectionDataModelType {
    var header: String? { get }
    var footer: String? { get }

That is, the data with the header and the footer of the particular section.

For most use cases, the default implementation of this protocol provided by the framework will suffice:

struct SectionDataModel: SectionDataModelType {
    private(set) var header: String?
    private(set) var footer: String?
    init(header: String? = nil, footer: String? = nil)


The delegate parameter passed in the initializer of the DataSourceController is any object conforming to the following protocol:

protocol DataSourceControllerDelegate: AnyObject {
    func backgroundMessageLabel(for view: UIView) -> UILabel?
    func backgroundEmptyView(for view: UIView) -> UIView?
    func dataSourceWasMutated(_: DataSourceController)
    func dataSourceWasMutated(_: DataSourceController, section: Int)
    func dataSourceWasMutated(_: DataSourceController, rows: [IndexPath])

All functions have a default empty implementation to make them optional protocol requirements.

That is, the delegate mainly notifies of changes in the DataSourceController instance triggered by the mutating functions available in the API (see API Reference below for details). The delegate will usually be the object with the UITableView or UICollectionView instance, since most likely a part of the displayed list will need to be reloaded.

In addition, in case the totalRowCount property of the DataSourceController instance is 0 (meaning that there are no rows), the controller will try to display either the UIView or the UILabel instances provided by the functions

func backgroundMessageLabel(for view: UIView) -> UILabel?
func backgroundEmptyView(for view: UIView) -> UIView?

as the background. Note that both these functions are optional, and therefore it may be omitted. If both functions are implemented, the framework will prioritize the backgroundEmptyView(for:) function. The parameter view is either the UITableView or UICollectionView instance whose dataSource is the DataSourceController.

UITableView header and footer

Section headers and footers in UITableView instances are automatically managed by the framework using a specific controller conforming to the protocol:

protocol SectionDataControllerType {
    var headerTitle: String? { get }
    var footerTitle: String? { get }

For now, the framework does use a built-in implementation of this protocol:

class SectionDataController: SectionDataControllerType {
    private(set) var headerTitle: String?
    private(set) var footerTitle: String?

    init(header: String?, footer: String?)
    convenience init(_ model: SectionDataModelType)

Although the SectionDataController is an open class, thus enabling subclassing outside the framework, the current implementation of DataSourceController does not allow for using any other class for UITableView header/footer display. A way of providing this level of customization is being developed at the moment.

UICollectionView header and footer

Headers and footers for UICollectionView instances must be implemented differently on any app. Because of this, the framework does consider headers and footers for UICollectionView instances as regular cells. Therefore, a data controller must be implemented and registered for a model object conforming to SectionDataModelType protocol. Note that, in this case, a custom section data model may be used.

The example app contains an example of the implementation of a UICollectionView header class and its usage with DataSourceController.

API reference

The complete API reference can be found here API Reference.

Example app

This repository includes an example app for iOS. The example app includes an implementation example for both UITableView and UICollectionView. In addition, for the sake of comparison, the MenuViewController class does not use a DataSourceController to display the content of its UITableView.


This framework has been developed using MVVMDataSource as a basis. The main differences with its "parent" framework are a simpler approach, the removal of the MVVM design pattern (making it architecture-free), the CoreData sections (although you can use them) and the actions. The aim of this simpler approach is to cover the needs of our own projects and the ability of using it outside of the MVVM design pattern, but we stopped once the needs were covered (adding appropriate documentation). If you have any idea on how to improve it, we'll be happy to hear/read it. Just open a new issue to discuss it further, or open a pull request with your idea.

Code styling guide and formatter

We follow the Ray Wenderlich Swift Style Guide, except for the Spacing section: we use 4 spaces instead of 2 to indent.

To enforce the guidelines in the aforementioned code style guide, we use SwiftFormat. The set of rules is checked into this repository in the file .swiftformat. Before pushing any code, please follow the instructions in How do I install it? of the aforementioned repository to install SwiftFormat and execute the following command in the root directory of the project:

swiftformat . --config .swiftformat --swiftversion 5.0 --exclude Package.swift

This will re-format every *.swift file inside the project folder to follow the guidelines, except the Package.swift manifest file.

Continuous Integration and Deployment

We use Travis CI as our continuous integration solution to run builds and tests on open pull requests and merges to master. Tests are required to pass in order to merge any pull request to master. Travis CI is also responsible for deploying the library to Cocoapods' Trunk repository when a new tag is pushed.


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Last commit: 2 weeks ago

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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.

Release Notes

1 year ago

Initial Stable Release

Requirements: Xcode 10.0+, Swift 4.2+, iOS 9+

Compatible with: CocoaPods, Carthage and Swift Package Manager

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