Swifty is a networking stack designed to serve modern iOS apps





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Swifty is a modern take on how iOS apps should do networking. Written in Swift, it offers a declarative way to write your network requests and organise them, abstracting the networking away from the call-site, while giving you full control into every aspect of the actual network communication.

Swifty is built to primarily answer three common questions developers ask when building a modern app:

  1. Where do I keep my network requests?
  2. Where do I write my custom OAuth/Authentication/Session logic? Or how do I manage things like Session across my requests?
  3. How should I do the actual networking? URLSession?

Where do I keep my network requests?

Swifty offers a protocol called WebService which helps you write your network requests in a type-safe and expressive way.

You start by creating a class, putting in your server's base URL & a network interface, and begin writing your network requests as functions:

class GithubAPI: WebService {

    /* Your Server's Base URL */
    static var serverURL = "https://api.github.com"
    /* What this WebService will use to actually make the network calls */
    static var networkInterface: WebServiceNetworkInterface = Swifty.shared
    /* Your network requests, as type-safe functions: */
    static func getAPIStatus() -> NetworkResource {
        return server.get("status")
    static func getRespositories(for user: String) -> NetworkResource {
        return server.get("repositories")
                 .query("user": user)
    static func createGist(with body: String) -> NetworkResource {
        return server.post("gists")
                 .json("body": body)    

A few things to notice above:

  • Each of your network request functions return a NetworkResource. This is basically a wrapper over URLRequest, with extra stuff to support this cool syntax and other features.
  • You write each request starting with the server variable (which is the server URL you defined above converted into a NetworkResource), chaining methods to it like .get(), .post, and .query() to create the actual request. The full list of these modifiers is available here.
  • The variable networkInterface is a way of telling this WebService what library to use to actually make the network request. For this example, we're directly using Swifty.

Super Cool Stuff: These chaining methods are compile time checks, for example, you can't chain a .json() to a GET request, because it doesn't support a body payload 😎


Requests written in WebService are accessible from both Swift and Objective-C callers!


class ViewController: UIViewController {

    override viewDidLoad(){
        GithubAPI.getStatus().load(){ (response, data, error) in
            // Do something with the response


@implementation ViewController: UIViewController {

- (void) viewDidLoad {
    [GithubAPI getStatus] load:^(NSURLResponse *response, id data, NSError *error){
        // Do something with the response



These are examples, please don't directly write networking code in your view controllers :)

Where do I write my custom OAuth/Authentication/Session logic?

Modern Apps usually access APIs that are behind authentication or rate limiting systems, and they need to send these tokens with every request they send.

This is normally a convoluted process: First, check if we already have a valid token. If we don't, we need to get one, and then start attaching it to every request we send. And of course, take care of the error conditions in all these cases. This process can quickly lead to a code duplication and callback hell at multiple places if not done properly.

Swifty understands this requirement, and provides constructs to effectively encapsulate these into thread-safe processes using Constraints & Interceptors


Constraints are tasks which can hold network requests from starting until they are satisfied.

Constraints can be any task, not just network requests: they can even be simple things like asking for location access permission before firing a request.

A common use of a constraint would be an OAuth Constraint, which makes sure you have an OAuth token before your requests start.

To create a constraint, just subclass Constraint, and override the two required methods:

class OAuthConstraint: Constraint {

    override func isConstraintSatisfied(for resource: NetworkResource) -> Bool {
        // return false if we don't have the OAuth Token
        // return true if we already have the OAuth Token
    override func satisfyConstraint(for resource: NetworkResource) {
        // Get the OAuth token from the server
        // Make sure to call finish() when done

How does it work?

  • Swifty will automatically call your Constraint's isConstraintSatisfied for every resource that passes through it. This method is synchronous but thread-safe, and needs to return true or false:
    • If your return true, then the request will resume, subject to the satisfaction of other constraints.
    • In you return false, Swifty will asynchronously call your satisfyConstraint method, and here you can perform any operation as required. Just make sure you call finish when done, so that Swifty can resume the requests that were waiting on your constraint.
      • You can even finish with an error. If you do, the requests that were waiting on your constraint, will automatically fail with the same error.
  • You can decide what to do in both these methods selectively based on the requests, since the NetworkResource is passed as an argument each time when these are called.


Interceptors are methods which are called before and after every request. There are two types: Request Intereptors and Response Interceptors

Request Interceptors

Request Interceptors are called just before a request is about to fire over the network. Request Interceptors are called after all the constraints of a request a satisfied, but just before a request is about to go over the network. This makes them especially useful to add parameters to the requests they need to succeed.

For example, an interceptor can be used to attach an OAuth token that a constraint might have just receieved from a server.

To create a RequestInterceptor, simply create a class/struct that conforms to the RequestInterceptor protocol, and implement the one required method:

class OAuthTokenAddingInterceptor: RequestInterceptor {

    func intercept(resource: NetworkResource) -> NetworkResource {
        // Get the token from where your Constraint might have saved it, this is just an example here: 
        let token = Keychain.string(key: "OAuth")
        // Attach it to the resource:
        resource.header(key: "Token", value: token)
        // Return the modified resource
        return resource


Response Interceptors

Response Interceptors are called just before a response is going to be returned back to the caller.

You can do a lot of things here, for example:

  • Collect/Log statistics about the failure rate of responses by counting the number of errors
  • Update your session information from every response, if they have any
  • You can even force succeed or force fail your responses in Response Interceptors

For the sake of example, if your API considers a 204 response a failure, we can create a ResponseInterceptor to check for this status code in every response, and force fail responses if encountered.

class ErrorCheckingInterceptor: ResponseInterceptor {

    func intercept(response: NetworkResponse) -> NetworkResponse {
        // Check for the 204 status code in the response 
        if let statusCode = response.response?.statusCode, statusCode == 204 {
            // Fail the response with a responseValidation error
            response.fail(error: SwiftyError.responseValidation()) // Now this response will invoke the failureBlock, instead of the successBlock of the caller.
        return response


Things to note about Interceptors:

  • Each of your network requests pass through all the interceptors, both RequestInterceptors and ResponseInterceptors.
  • The requests pass through the interceptors in the order that you provide them to Swifty.

How should I do the actual networking? URLSession?

Swifty is built on top of URLSession, and is what powers the actual network communication in all the above constructs.

Swifty abstracts away URLSession's little details, while still giving you granular control where it matters.

Remember that networkInterface property on your WebService? When you're done writing your requests in your WebService, and have put in your business logic in Constraints & Interceptors, you bring it all together by adding your customisations into the initializer of Swifty in your WebService!

class GithubAPI: WebService {

    /* What this WebService will use to actually make the network calls */
    static var networkInterface: WebServiceNetworkInterface = Swifty(constraints: [OAuthConstraint()], 
       requestInterceptors: [OAuthTokenAddingInterceptor()],
       responseInterceptors: [ErrorCheckingInterceptor()])

And that's it! Everything comes together, and all your WebService requests go through your Swifty's customised pipeline of Constraints and Interceptors, when you call .load() on them.

API Documentation

The full documentation for Swifty is available here.



To integrate Swifty into your Xcode project using CocoaPods, specify it in your Podfile:

pod 'Swifty'

Then, run the following command:

$ pod install


  • iOS 8.0+
  • Swift 4.2

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