A macOS command line tool that generates excellent Swift data models based on JSON data.
Swift
Switch branches/tags
Latest commit e1d202e Jan 4, 2017 @ijoshsmith Improve empty array handling
Incorrect code was being generated for a JSON attribute whose value is an empty array.

README.md

json2swift

Overview

A macOS command line tool that generates excellent Swift data models based on JSON data.

It takes care of the boring error-prone grunt work of consuming JSON data in your app.

Feel free to modify the code it creates for you.

Written and unit tested in Swift 3.

Features

  • Generates immutable Swift struct definitions
  • Generates thread-safe code to create structs from JSON data
  • Performs sophisticated type inference to detect URLs, parse dates, etc.
  • Creates properties with required values whenever possible, but optional if necessary
  • Processes a single JSON file or a directory of JSON files

What is code generation?

Using a JSON-to-Swift code generator is very different from using a JSON library API. If you have never worked with a code generator before, check out this blog post for a quick overview.

How to get it

  • Download the json2swift app binary from the latest release
  • Copy json2swift to your desktop
  • Open a Terminal window and run this command to give the app permission to execute:
chmod +x ~/Desktop/json2swift

Or build the tool in Xcode yourself:

  • Clone the repository / Download the source code
  • Build the project
  • Open a Finder window to the executable file

How to find the executable

  • Drag json2swift from the Finder window to your desktop

How to install it

Assuming that the json2swift app is on your desktop…

Open a Terminal window and run this command:

cp ~/Desktop/json2swift /usr/local/bin/

Verify json2swift is in your search path by running this in Terminal:

json2swift

You should see the tool respond like this:

Error: Please provide a JSON file path or directory path.

Now that a copy of json2swift is in your search path, delete it from your desktop.

You're ready to go! 🎉

How to use it

Open a Terminal window and pass json2swift a JSON file path:

json2swift /path/to/some/data_file.json

The tool creates a file with the same path as the input file, but with a .swift extension. In the example above, the output file is /path/to/some/data_file.swift.

Alternatively, you can create Swift data models for all JSON files in a directory via:

json2swift /path/to/some/directory/

When the tool generates only one Swift file, it includes utility methods that are used for JSON processing in that file. When generating multiple Swift files the utility methods are placed in JSONUtilities.swift.

The source code download includes an example directory with a club_sample.json file so that you can test it out.

For more info to help get started, check out Generating Models from JSON with json2swift by Jake Marsh.

Structure and property names

This tool has no reliable way to create good names for the Swift structs it generates. It follows a simple heuristic to convert names found in JSON attributes to Swift-friendly names, and leaves a // TODO comment reminding a developer to rename the structs.

There are precautions in place to ensure that Swift property names are valid. If the generated property names do not meet your needs, rename them as you see fit. Remember, this tool creates a starting point, feel free to change the code it created for you.

Date parsing

json2swift has special support for JSON attributes with formatted date string values. If you provide a date format "hint" it will generate the necessary code to parse the date strings into Date objects using the provided format. For example:

{
    "birthday": "1945-12-25"
}

Before being analyzed by the tool, this JSON should be changed to:

{
    "birthday": "DATE_FORMAT=yyyy-MM-dd"
}

The resulting Swift data model struct will have a property defined as:

let birthday: Date

and will also have date parsing code that uses the specified date format.

Tip: For an array with multiple elements, add the DATE_FORMAT= hint to the date attribute of only one element. It isn't necessary to add the hint to every element.

Type inference

What sets this JSON-to-Swift converter apart from the others is its type inference capabilities. The net result is Swift code that uses the most appropriate data types possible. This functionality really shines when analyzing an array of elements.

For example, suppose json2swift analyzes this JSON:

[
    {
        "nickname": "Johnson Rod",
        "quantity": 8
    },
    {
        "nickname": null,
        "quantity": 10.5
    }
]

What should be the data types of the nickname and quantity properties? If this tool only inspected the first element in the array, as other JSON-to-Swift converters do, it would arrive at the wrong answer of String and Int, respectively. Here is the output of json2swift which uses the correct data types for both properties:

struct RootType: CreatableFromJSON { // TODO: Rename this struct
    let nickname: String?
    let quantity: Double
    init(nickname: String?, quantity: Double) {
        self.nickname = nickname
        self.quantity = quantity
    }
    init?(json: [String: Any]) {
        guard let quantity = Double(json: json, key: "quantity") else { return nil }
        let nickname = json["nickname"] as? String
        self.init(nickname: nickname, quantity: quantity)
    }
}

Note that nickname is an optional String and quantity is a Double (not an Int) in order to accommodate the values found in both elements of the sample JSON data.

The type inference logic can only perform well if the JSON it analyzes has enough information about the data set. If the generated code doesn't work with all possible values that might be encountered in production, feel free to modify it as you see fit.

How does it work?

For a high-level overview of how this tool works, check out this brief article.