A port of the DB5 configuration library
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DB5 originally by Q Branch

DB5-Swift ported by Scott Williams

Now up to date with Xcode 6.3 and Swift 1.2.

App Configuration via Plist

By storing colors, fonts, numbers, booleans, and so on in a plist, we were able to iterate quickly on our app Vesper.

Our designers could easily make changes without having to dive into the code or ask engineering to spend time nudging pixels and changing values.

There is nothing magical about the code or the system: it’s some simple code plus a few conventions.

How it works

See the demo app. You include two classes — ThemeLoader and Theme — and DB5.plist. The plist is where you set values.

At startup you load the file via ThemeLoader, then access values via methods in Theme.

Theme methods

Most of the methods are straightforward. Theme.boolForKey() returns a Bool, and so on.

Some of the methods require multiple values in the plist file. For instance, Theme.fontForKey() expects the font name as keyName and the size as keyNameSize. See Theme.swift for more information about these multiple-key values.


Though we haven’t used this capability in Vesper, we made it so that you can have multiple themes. Every theme inherits from the Default theme.

If you ask for a value from a theme other than Default, and that value is not specified in that theme, it falls back to Default to get that value.

Demo app

The demo app is straightforward and small. AppDelegate loads the themes. ViewController shows some example use.

Also, see the Examples folder for the DB5.plist from Vesper.

Swift Customizations

  • Prefixes were removed.
  • Some unit tests were added in the Tests folder.
  • A different constructor was created in ThemeLoader to allow you to use a different plist file.


DB5 — Brent Simmons

DB5-Swift — Scott Williams


DB5-Swift is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for details.