Skip to content
Scripting with Swift, Apple's new programming language.
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
Intro Examples
Utility Scripts


This project started as a Nashville CocoaHeads presentation. You can view that presentation on Youtube.

This is a quick primer on using Swift for scripting. This repository also contains a number of example scripts. For more information, see the wiki.

If you have suggestions or improvements, feel free to submit a pull request or contact me on Twitter @blakemerryman or email me at

Suggested System Configuration

These are the settings on the machine I used while developing these script examples.

  • Mac OS X Yosemite (v10.10.1)
  • Xcode 6.1.1 set as default development environment

You can create and use Swift scripts without these exact settings but some of the calls into the Swift environment maybe be different.

Quick Start Guide

To make any Swift file into a script, all it takes are four basic steps:

  1. Shebang
    Add this single line of code to the very first line of your script:
    #!/usr/bin/env xcrun swift

    This is what invokes the Swift environment and passes our script to it for execution.

  2. Make Executable Next, we need to make our script executable so that we can call it directly by filename. Simple change the file permissions with: chmod +x /path/to/file/.../SomeCoolScript.swift

  3. Run the Script Now, we can run the script by directly invoking the filename (along with the path to the file):
    $ /path/to/file/.../SomeCoolScript.swift

  4. Handle User Input (optional) This is an optional (though extremely useful) step. All arguments are passed into a Swift script via Process.arguments which is an array of strings populated from the user's input.

    For example, if the user calls the following command (with trailing arguments) from the terminal: $ ./SomeCoolScript.swift firstArg secondArg thirdArg

    This is what you that looks like in the Swift script:

    let arguments: [Strings] = Process.arguments
    // [ "./SomeCoolScript.swift", "firstArg", "secondArg", "thirdArg" ]

    Notice the first argument is the executed script. Keep in mind that arguments are delimited by spaces except when enclosed in quotes or escaped, like in the following examples:

    • $ ./SomeCoolScript.swift "one two three" - where "one two three" is treated as a single argument
    • $ ./SomeCoolScript.swift one\ two\ three - where one\ two\ three is treated as a single argument

-------------------------------------------------- Once you get to this point, you can now start developing your own Swift Scripts and the possibilities are basically endless. With a simple `import ...` statement, you have the full power of the various Mac SDK libraries such as Foundation and AppKit. With a slight modification to your script's shebang line, you can even import third party frameworks like [AlamoFire][] to handle networking or my own [BMParse][] to handle your script's commandline option flags.

When I originally present Scripting with Swift at CocoaHeads of Nashville, BMParse was presented under the title CLParse. I later found out that there are a lot of "CLParse" on Github and subsequently changed the name.

Tips & Tricks

  • Third Party Frameworks
    Change your shebang line to be #!/usr/bin/env xcrun swift -F /Library/Frameworks to enable your script to search the Frameworks directory for any module-enabled, third-party frameworks you have stored there.

  • Alias Scripts for Convenient Access
    Open your ~/.bash_profile file and add the following line to it:
    alias coolScript="/path/to/file/.../SomeCoolScript.swift"

    Now you can call your script from anywhere with $ coolScript instead of $ /path/to/file/.../SomeCoolScript.swift

  • Here's a list of Apple Frameworks & Classes to keep in mind when developing your scripts:

    • NSFileHandle - handling dynamic user input from the console
    • NSFileManager - handling any and all types of file system interaction
    • NSTask & NSPipe - interacting with terminal commands and creating pipelines from within your script
    • JavaScriptCore - calling JavaScript from within your script
    • NSAppleScript - calling AppleScript from within your script


  • All code execution starts at top level code.
  • Compilation of a script file is top-down, so you can't use something before you have defined it in the script file.
  • Third party frameworks must have modules enabled or they will not work with Swift.
You can’t perform that action at this time.