Reading environment variables from iOS and macOS unit tests

In some environments like the CI/CD you might need to read environments variables from your iOS or macOS unit tests.

A typical example might be reading secrets or configuration that is CI/CD specific and you do not want to store it in source control.

In Swift you can read environment variables using the ProcessInfo.processInfo.environment dictionary, for example

let host = ProcessInfo.processInfo.environment["apiHost"] ?? "default fallback host"

The problem is this code does not just work, there is one other step you need to do first.

You need to edit your Test scheme and add every environment variable you want to read to the Environment Variables section.

You can rename the variables but for simplicity and readability you should probably keep the same names.

Swift  Xcode 

Graying out images in Cocoa

I have been working on a macOS application recently where I encountered an interesting task to grey out flags for countries that are disabled.

I first tried overlaying a semi-transparent gray view (fun fact, you cannot directly set a background for a view in Cocoa, you need to use the layer) over the flag image but it did not look very good.

Luckily there is a way to convert a NSImage to grayscale directly in Cocoa.

You first need to create a bitmap representation your NSImage

let bitmap = NSBitmapImageRep(cgImage: cgImage)

convert it to grayscale

let grayscale = bitmap.converting(to: .genericGray, renderingIntent: .default)

and then construct an NSImage from the result.

let grayImage = NSImage(size: grayscale.size)
greyImage.addRepresentation(grayscale)

Putting it all together as an NSImage extension might look like this

[Read More]
Swift  Xcode  Cocoa 

Using different Git config for personal and work projects

I use the same machines to work on both personal and work projects. I usually have to use a different Git identity for the work projects than for my personal projects.

Previously I had my personal Git identity set globally and then used local Git configs to override it in work projects. This worked just fine but it was too much work. There is a better solution.

Git config allows you to use, or better to say include, another Git config for a specific directory and all its subdirectories. I have all my projects stored in ~/Projects and subdirectories like ~/Projects/open-source and work projects in ~/Projects/CompanyName.

I created a ~/.companyName.gitconfig that overrides just the name, email and GPG signing key to match the work identity

[user]
    name = Igor Kulman
    email = igor@company.name
    signingkey = ABC

I then included this config in my main ~/.gitconfig just for the ~/Projects/CompanyName directory

[user]
	name = Igor Kulman
	email = igor@kulman.sk
    signingkey = DEF
...
[includeIf "gitdir:~/Projects/CompanyName/"]
    path = ~/.companyName.gitconfig

to achieve exactly what I needed.

To verify and quickly check which Git identity is being used in a specific Git repository you can use this simple Git alias

[alias]    
    whoami = "! git var -l | grep '^GIT_.*_IDENT'"
macOS  Xcode 

Web scraping with Swift

In a few projects in the past I needed to do web scraping to get some data from websites that did not offer access via an API. I was using C# at the time and scraping web with Html Agility Pack was quite easy.

I now spend most of my time in macOS because of work projects so when I needed to do some web scraping again I did not want to install and set up Mono to do it again in C#. I decided to go with Swift, as I am now quite comfortable with the language after 4 years of using it daily.

SwiftSoup

The first thing I need to do was to found some library to parse HTML, some Swift equivalent to Html Agility Pack. I found SwiftSoup.

SwiftSoup allows you to access DOM in HTML documents and also HTML fragments. The usage is quite simple, you just need to know a thing or two about HTML.

Example

Let’s say you want to parse the Hacker News main page and scrap posts containing some specific keywords.

This is quite an artificial example but the idea is simple. You use the developer tools in your browser of choice to see the HTML of the parts of a website that you are interested in and try to get to them descending and filtering the DOM using SwiftSoup.

You first need to read the website and parse it

let content = try String(contentsOf: URL(string: "https://news.ycombinator.com/")!)
let doc: Document = try SwiftSoup.parse(content)

Looking at the HTML you can see it uses a table layout and all the posts are in a rows of a table with a class called itemlist.

[Read More]
Swift  Xcode 

Generating boilerplate Swift code with GYB

How many times how you copied and pasted some code in your current codebase because there was no good way to abstract it? Maybe because it was some repeating code required by a framework or mapping of some data transfer structures.

Writing such boilerplate code is an error-prone waste of time, especially when there is a much better way: generating that code.

There are a few tools to help you do that, one of the most flexible of them being GYB.

What is GYB?

GYB is a lightweight templating system that allows you to use Python to generate text files. Those text files can be Swift source code files or anything else you need.

GYB is used in the Swift standard library codebase so it works well for generating Swift source code and it is a proven technology that works.

You can download GYB to your project from the Swift repository on Github

wget https://github.com/apple/swift/raw/master/utils/gyb
wget https://github.com/apple/swift/raw/master/utils/gyb.py
chmod +x gyb

I put it directly to the project directory and include it in the source control for simpler build and CI/CD setup.

Creating GYB templates

GYB templates for generating Swift source file look like Swift source files with some Python snippets for code generation.

This is probably best shown on an actual example. Let’s say you have a list of permissions that the app needs to support. Those permissions are then a part of a protocol and of a few structs.

[Read More]
iOS  Xcode