The Best Design Patterns in Swift (Apple’s programming language)
Ever since 2014, pattern design for iOS apps is made possible by Swift: a programming language developed by Apple itself. It’s a versatile tool that gives developers many ways to create applications for iOS and other operating systems. Here are its 5 best design patterns.
Not all developers are familiar with Swift since it’s quite a new programming language. It takes time and practice to understand which design pattern is best for which goals. But here’s the thing: choosing relevant design patterns is the essential first step in developing secure and functional apps. The patterns are further helpful in solving software design problems and use the templates later to replace parts in the code. For example, after you’ve programmed the spin action logic in an online casino game, you might want to add some additional code that refreshes the total score tab. But which pattern would you use for this? Unfortunately, there are not a lot of tutorials on patterns on the Internet.
This article is here to help you navigate in the world of iOS app development by bringing you the top 5 design patterns in Swift. But let’s start by looking at what exactly is a design pattern in programming.
What Is a Pattern Design and What Are Its Benefits
Simply put, a pattern in software design is a way to solve a specific problem that might come up when putting together your mobile app’s architecture. But it’s not the same as the open-source libraries that allow you to copy and paste a pattern design into the app. Because here’s the thing: a Swift’s software design pattern is not a chunk of code. It’s more like a concept for the best way to solve a problem. It simply points out how to write the code, but you still need to do all the work of fitting the code to the pattern.
Here are the main benefits of Swift’s design patterns:
- Simplified communication with other developers. There’s no need to explain in detail how you solved a particular problem if you did it with a design pattern. Just name the pattern you used, and others can instantly grasp what solutions solved the problem.
- The solutions are tried and tested. There’s no need to invent everything yourself. The cool thing is that any design pattern is already the ultimate solution to the problem you’re facing. What’s more, the pattern tells you exactly how to utilize it.
- Unified code. Design patterns give you the solutions that are already tested for bugs. This helps you make fewer mistakes.
The Different Types of design patterns
Swift design patterns all fall into three different categories. Let’s take a look at what makes them different.
- Creational design patterns handle creation mechanisms that are related to objects. They aim to represent objects in a way that’s most suitable for a specific situation.
- Structural design patterns are there to make designing easier by looking for the simplest ways to put together objects and classes.
- Behavioral design patterns help you find repeatedly used communication patterns between different parts of the system and implement them.
Each of the categories has a plethora of different patterns under them, but the truth is that you’re not going to use most of these patterns. Let’s take a look at the five patterns in Swift that are used most frequently in developing iOS apps.
1. Template Method
The Template Method falls under behavioral design patterns. It lines out the structure for an algorithm and transfers the duties on selected steps to subclasses. And the cool thing is that this pattern keeps the overall structure intact while breaking the algorithm into a series of steps. Then it uses separate methods to describe the steps and only template method to call the steps one after the other.
The Template Method is most commonly used when many different classes handle similar actions, and changes in one class would require changes in other classes as well. So when you’ve got subclasses that need to lengthen the primary algorithm, and you want to keep its structure, then you can do it with the Template Method. Without it, there’s more than a triple triple chance that you’re going to mess up the overall structure of your code when trying to extend the algorithm.
The structural design pattern Facade gives you an interface for a framework, a library, or even an intricate network of classes. This is especially useful if your code handles different objects in a framework. Otherwise, you would need to initialize every object and make sure the order of dependencies stays the same. We can say this straight, that it’s not easy to do. Luckily, the Facade Pattern offers an interface that makes working with subsystems much easier. The interface is simplified, and you can extend it directly by using the subsystem with numerous classes.
Apart from using the Facade design pattern to give your subsystem a simplified interface, it’s also useful when decomposing one subsystem into different layers.
With the Decorator design pattern, you can add functionalities to an object. It’s done dynamically: by wrapping the functionalities into practical wrappers. That’s why this structural pattern is also called the Wrapper. Here’s how it works: you wrap an object around your target object and, by doing so, trigger its fundamental behavior plus the behavior of the wrapper-object. For a user, it doesn’t really matter if they interact with a wrapped or a clean object: they both share the same interface.
This pattern is perfect to use if it’s not possible to extend an object’s responsibilities via inheritance. It’s also handy if you want to give the objects new responsibilities in a dynamic way and not expose the objects to the code.
This is another structural design pattern that makes it possible for interfaces that would normally be incompatible to work together. It makes the interface of one object adaptable to another object. It’s done again by wrapping an object with an adapter. This conceals the wrapped object from a different object. The simplest example would be an object that deals with euros wrapped inside an adapter that changes the data into dollars.
The adapter is a great pattern to use if your app’s code doesn’t match with the third-party class you intend to use. Also, if extending the superclass is impossible, and you need to use the subclasses without a certain functionality, then the Adapter pattern can help you out.
The main function of the Builder pattern (a creational design pattern) is to turn simpler objects into more complex ones via a step-by-step process. The best part is that you can use the same code to generate separate object views. Normally, if you’re dealing with complex objects, the initialization code is somewhere inside a gigantic constructor with a huge number of parameters. Here’s where the Builder comes to help. It splits up an object’s construction from its class and assigns the construction to unique objects: the builders.
You can apply the Builder if you want to design complex objects or when the code is required to create separate views of a particular object.
The Importance of Design Patterns in Game Development
Design patterns that solve numerous common problems have also been very useful for gaming software developers. That’s because games are built with an intricate design, and there are always new features to be added to the original design. The code needs to integrate perfectly. What’s more, writing quality code on larger game projects can become quite overwhelming. You can only be successful if you look at your programming problems one at a time and only focus on solving the ones that are unique to your game. The more common problems can easily be solved with ready-made solutions: design patterns.
And when it comes to developing gaming apps for iOS, Swift is the perfect programming language to develop the next big mobile game. Not only is Swift fast and secure, but it’s also easy to use if English is not your first language.
What makes the language of Swift so good is that it’s strongly typed. This means that it detects bugs at compile-time and not during the game.
A well-written code can be as beautiful as a surface pattern design painted by an artist. But to reach this level of excellence, you need certain tools that help you solve common programming problems and organize the code most efficiently. Swift design patterns are here to help you out. Picking a relevant pattern enables you to build applications that are secure and functional. So go ahead and add the patterns to your toolbox. Your applications deserve the highest code quality.
Which design patterns have you used? How did your applications turn out? Leave comments below, and let’s learn from each other’s experiences.