[swift-evolution] [Review] SE-0167: Swift Encoders

David Hart david at hartbit.com
Mon Apr 10 04:52:22 CDT 2017

> On 10 Apr 2017, at 11:36, piotr gorzelany via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> This is a really great proposal. As an iOS developer I work with JSON almost every day since most mobile apps communicate with a backend through JSON messages. It's good to see that better JSON support is coming to Foundation so we don't have to rely on third party libraries.
> That being said, there is one thing I don't like which is that the JSON encoding function returns Data and the decoding function takes Data.
> It would be really great if the Foundation team could introduce a dedicated type of JSON.
> There are several advantages of working with a dedicated type.
> - The underlying data is always valid JSON
> - You can extend this type in the future with helper methods for manipulating JSON
> - It makes it explicit what you are dealing with
> A good analogy is the URL type. You could represent an URL with a String or Data type, but by introducing a dedicated type you have the full advantages mentioned above. Data on the other hand is like a generic container which you cannot easily extend with URL or JSON specific methods.
> Having a dedicated JSON type is also one of the reasons third party libraries like SwiftyJSON are so popular. It makes it super easy to manipulate JSON structures. And sometimes developers like would like to manipulate JSON directly.

I don’t think it would be a good thing to have this in Foundation. Foundation needs to push developers towards adopting best practices, and manipulating JSON directly instead of going through Codable’s strong-typing is not necessarily recommended. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its uses. But it’s usefulness is definitely narrow now once we have Codable. I think this is something that should stay in a third-party library.

> If the proposal would pass in the current form, I would still use SwiftyJSON for manipulating JSON which I would rather avoid and have this all sorted on the Foundation level.
> Just my two cents from the perspective of an iOS developer. JSON handling is really important to us so I hope you make it great!
> ------------------------------------------------
> Hello Swift community,
> The review of SE-0167 "Swift Encoders" begins now and runs through April 12, 2017. The proposal is available here:
> https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0167-swift-encoders.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0167-swift-encoders.md>
> Note that this proposal is closely related to (and dependent on) SE-0166: Swift Archival & Serialization <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0166-swift-archival-serialization.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0166-swift-archival-serialization.md>>. Please read and review that proposal as well!
> Reviews are an important part of the Swift evolution process. All reviews should be sent to the swift-evolution mailing list at
> https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution <https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution> <https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution <https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution>>
> or, if you would like to keep your feedback private, directly to the review manager. When replying, please try to keep the proposal link at the top of the message:
> Proposal link:
> https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0167-swift-encoders.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/proposals/0167-swift-encoders.md>
> Reply text
> Other replies
>  <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md#what-goes-into-a-review-1 <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md#what-goes-into-a-review-1>>What goes into a review?
> The goal of the review process is to improve the proposal under review through constructive criticism and, eventually, determine the direction of Swift. When writing your review, here are some questions you might want to answer in your review:
> What is your evaluation of the proposal?
> Is the problem being addressed significant enough to warrant a change to Swift?
> Does this proposal fit well with the feel and direction of Swift?
> If you have used other languages or libraries with a similar feature, how do you feel that this proposal compares to those?
> How much effort did you put into your review? A glance, a quick reading, or an in-depth study?
> More information about the Swift evolution process is available at
> https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md> <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/process.md>>
> Thank you,
> -Doug
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