Auto-Completion And Organization for NotificationCenter

I may be late to the party, but I just discovered the most amazing trick thanks to this article.

Have you seen this before? NSNotification.Name(rawValue: "didSomething"), object: nil)

... yea, its pretty ugly, not to mention incredibly error prone. If you have to use this same notification in multiple parts of your app, you are very likely to typo that string literal at some point.

But, I just discovered some syntax sugar to help clean that up.

extension NSNotification.Name {
    static let appDidSomething = NSNotification.Name(rawValue: "didSomething")

With that in place, you can start adjusting your call-sites like this. .appDidSomething, object: nil)

How glorious is that?

In retrospect, it seems a bit obvious, but the best tricks usually are.

Self-Explained Swift #2

// Self-Explained Swift #2
// Tools to make our code easier to manage and read.

import UIKit
import PlaygroundSupport

// Welcome to my second Self-Explained Swift. In this playground, we are starting with
// the code from the previous post but with some new changes and the old comments removed.
// If you feel like you don't understand something, go back and check it out.

// The idea I want to convey in this post is "Tool Creation". You can create many tools
// that can be reused throughout your app that will help cut down on coding mundane tasks
// such as view creation and common layout constraints.

// The "Tools" in this instance will be extensions. If you are not familiar with them,
// extensions allow you to bolt new functions on to existing types. Below I have added
// a few functions to assist us in initializing common UI elements, and generating common
// view layouts.

extension UIView { // Layout extension

    // This function will encapsulate the process of adding a view, enabling autolayout,
    // and configuring the common constraints
    func constrainTo(view: UIView) {

        // Turn on autolayout
        view.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = false

        // Because of the way we worded the function, view will be the parent and self,
        // the child. It might look a little strange here, but as you will see below, it
        // reads quite nicely in the call-sites.

        // I was notified about the new NSLayoutAnchor system since my last post, this
        // makes alot nicer constraint building, so we use that here.
        view.topAnchor.constraint(equalTo: self.topAnchor).isActive = true
        view.bottomAnchor.constraint(equalTo: self.bottomAnchor).isActive = true
        view.leftAnchor.constraint(equalTo: self.leftAnchor).isActive = true
        view.rightAnchor.constraint(equalTo: self.rightAnchor).isActive = true



extension UIStackView {

    // UIStackView has alot of things that are frequently changed from the defaults. This
    // new init overload will allow us to one-line most of it.
    convenience init(arrangedSubviews: [UIView],
                     axis: UILayoutConstraintAxis,
                     distribution: UIStackViewDistribution,
                     alignment: UIStackViewAlignment) {

        // Chain to the original initializer.
        self.init(arrangedSubviews: arrangedSubviews)

        // Set our custom properties here.
        self.axis = axis
        self.distribution = distribution
        self.alignment = alignment

        // Again, it's nice to hide this away, since we will always need it off anyways.
        self.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = false



// Here we are going to make class functions to help create a sort of "theme" for
// our app.

// For the most part, this is just our previous button code, refactored into a
// class function. We provide function parameters to set things likely to be
// different per instance.

// We also want to set translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints, so we can completely
// remove that from our view controller code.

extension UIButton {

    class func standardAwesomeButton(title: String) -> UIButton {

        let button = UIButton()

        button.setTitle(title, for: .normal)
        button.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = false

        return button


extension UILabel {

    class func standardAwesomeLabel(title: String) -> UILabel {

        let label = UILabel()

        label.font = UIFont(name: "Menlo", size: 14)
        label.textColor = .white
        label.text = title
        label.textAlignment = .center
        label.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = false

        return label


class OurAwesomeViewController: UIViewController {

    lazy var titleLabel: UILabel = {
        return UILabel.standardAwesomeLabel(title: "Awesome")

    lazy var button: UIButton = {

        let button = UIButton.standardAwesomeButton(title: "Press Me")
                         action: #selector(OurAwesomeViewController.buttonTest),
                         for: .touchUpInside)

        return button

    override func loadView() {


        view.backgroundColor = .blue

        // We are using our custom UIStackView Initializer, This will reduce quite
        // a bit of the duplicated code and make your call-sites much easier to read.
        let verticalLayout = UIStackView(arrangedSubviews: [titleLabel, button],
                                         axis: .vertical,
                                         distribution: .fill,
                                         alignment: .fill)

        verticalLayout.isLayoutMarginsRelativeArrangement = true
        verticalLayout.layoutMargins = UIEdgeInsets(top: 20, left: 20, bottom: 20, right: 20)

        // Call our new layout function, this encapsulates and simplifies the common
        // task of adding views and setting their constraints.
        verticalLayout.constrainTo(view: view)


    func buttonTest(sender: UIButton) {
        view.backgroundColor = .red


// Fire up our awesome view controller in a playground.
PlaygroundPage.current.liveView = OurAwesomeViewController()
PlaygroundPage.current.needsIndefiniteExecution = true

// As you can see, this greatly cleans up our layout code and makes it easier to
// manage. The View Controller is now ~43 lines of code and centralizes our styling.
// One forgotten property or function call could have caused your view to not render,
// but with this new setup, that code is now shared among other views and should be
// much easier to diagnose, and less likely to happen in the first place.

// Using these techniques, you can make your view controllers smaller, and simply
// theme creation. You could (if you wanted to) make several extensions for different
// styles of buttons, labels, or any sort of UI element. A change in any one would
// instantly be reflected across your app, with the only downside being the initial
// one-time setup.

// That's it for #2, next time, we will adjust the architecture to move your app-logic
// out of the ViewControllers as well.

Download This Playground

Check out the previous post: Self-Explained Swift #1

Site Under Construction

This site is still under construction, please pardon the occasional glitch as things settle down.

I Added Some New "Stuff"

I've added a new Page. It's called "Stuff".

The idea is that I will put random pieces of code that I have been tinkering with in there for you to check out if you are interested.

The quality and usefulness of the "Stuff" will vary, so use them at your own risk.

Click or Tap here to check it out.