[swift-evolution] Pitch: (Almost) std libs

Tino Heth 2th at gmx.de
Tue Jan 26 17:32:45 CST 2016

There have been several threads to add specific functions or types to the stdlib:
- Either in the Swift Standard Library
- Proposal: Add scan, takeWhile, dropWhile, and iterate to the stdlib
- Higher Kinded Types (Monads, Functors, etc.)
- Adding a new filter method which returns 2 arrays
- Add replace(_:with:) function to the stdlib
- map-like operation that returns a dictionary
- Rectangles and other common structures.
- Add zip2WithNilPadding function
- Add types BufferedSequence, BufferedGenerator
- … (guess there are some that I missed — I didn't look at last years threads at all).

Afair, none of those ideas turned into real proposals, and I think that keeping stdlib small is a good goal.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of data structures and algorithms that will be used in many places by many different teams, and each of them might write its own implementation. That's imho no big problem for algorithms, but for types, it will most likely lead to real annoyance.

I hope that we will soon have a great package manager for Swift, but I don't think that will solve this issue completely:
I wouldn't import a big third-party framework just because a tiny function like "dropWhile" could make my code more elegant...

Of course, some widely accepted libs might rise and improve interoperability, but it is hard to predict how our ecosystem will evolve, and you don't have to wait for the future to see the what could happen when there is no common base:
Just take a look at SCNQuaternion, GLQuaternion and CMQuaternion.

Instead of asking to pollute stdlib with stuff like 3d transformations, I'd prefer a set of general purpose libraries under supervision by the Swift team:
It could be a great way for "outsiders" to get into Swift development, and most likely wouldn't put to much stress and responsibility on the shoulders of each "manager".
It also could take pressure from the stdlib (and this mailinglist :)

Beside fields of application (graphics, images, music, algebra, statistics, pattern matching, machine learning, graph theorie... whatever raises enough interest), there could also be libraries to support concepts like functional programming.

Best regards,

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