Home iOS & Swift Books Combine: Asynchronous Programming with Swift

7
Sequence Operators Written by Shai Mishali

At this point, you know most of the operators that Combine has to offer! How great is that? There’s still one more category for you to dig into: Sequence Operators.

Sequence operators are easiest to understand when you realize that publishers are just sequences themselves. Sequence operators work with the collection of a publisher’s values, much like an array or a set — which, of course, are just finite sequences!

With that in mind, sequence operators mostly deal with the sequence as a whole and not with individual values, as other operator categories do.

Many of the operators in this category have nearly identical names and behaviors as their counterparts in the Swift standard library.

Getting started

You can find the starter playground for this chapter in projects/Starter.playground. Throughout this chapter, you’ll add code to your playground and run it to see how these different sequence operators manipulate your publisher. You’ll use the print operator to log all publishing events.

Finding values

The first section of this chapter consists of operators that locate specific values the publisher emits based on different criteria. These are similar to the collection methods in the Swift standard library.

min

The min operator lets you find the minimum value emitted by a publisher. It’s greedy, which means it must wait for the publisher to send a .finished completion event. Once the publisher completes, only the minimum value is emitted by the operator:

example(of: "min") {
  // 1
  let publisher = [1, -50, 246, 0].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .min()
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("Lowest value is \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: min ———
publisher: receive subscription: ([1, -50, 246, 0])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (1)
publisher: receive value: (-50)
publisher: receive value: (246)
publisher: receive value: (0)
publisher: receive finished
Lowest value is -50
example(of: "min non-Comparable") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["12345",
                   "ab",
                   "hello world"]
    .compactMap { $0.data(using: .utf8) } // [Data]
    .publisher // Publisher<Data, Never>

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .min(by: { $0.count < $1.count })
    .sink(receiveValue: { data in
      // 3
      let string = String(data: data, encoding: .utf8)!
      print("Smallest data is \(string), \(data.count) bytes")
    })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: min non-Comparable ———
publisher: receive subscription: ([5 bytes, 2 bytes, 11 bytes])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (5 bytes)
publisher: receive value: (2 bytes)
publisher: receive value: (11 bytes)
publisher: receive finished
Smallest data is ab, 2 bytes

max

As you’d guess, max works exactly like min, except that it finds the maximum value emitted by a publisher:

example(of: "max") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "F", "Z", "E"].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .max()
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("Highest value is \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: max ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "F", "Z", "E"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: receive value: (F)
publisher: receive value: (Z)
publisher: receive value: (E)
publisher: receive finished
Highest value is Z

first

While the min and max operators deal with finding a published value at some unknown index, the rest of the operators in this section deal with finding emitted values at specific places, starting with the first operator.

example(of: "first") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "B", "C"].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .first()
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("First value is \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: first ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "B", "C"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: receive cancel
First value is A
example(of: "first(where:)") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["J", "O", "H", "N"].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .first(where: { "Hello World".contains($0) })
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("First match is \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: first(where:) ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["J", "O", "H", "N"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (J)
publisher: receive value: (O)
publisher: receive value: (H)
publisher: receive cancel
First match is H

last

Just as min has an opposite, max, first also has an opposite: last!

example(of: "last") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "B", "C"].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .last()
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("Last value is \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: last ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "B", "C"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: receive value: (B)
publisher: receive value: (C)
publisher: receive finished
Last value is C

output(at:)

The last two operators in this section don’t have counterparts in the Swift standard library. The output operators will only let values through if they’re emitted by the upstream publisher at the specified indices.

example(of: "output(at:)") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "B", "C"].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .output(at: 1)
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("Value at index 1 is \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: output(at:) ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "B", "C"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: request max: (1) (synchronous)
publisher: receive value: (B)
Value at index 1 is B
publisher: receive cancel

output(in:)

You’ll wrap up this section with the second overload of the output operator: output(in:).

example(of: "output(in:)") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "B", "C", "D", "E"].publisher

  // 2
  publisher
    .output(in: 1...3)
    .sink(receiveCompletion: { print($0) },
          receiveValue: { print("Value in range: \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: output(in:) ———
Value in range: B
Value in range: C
Value in range: D
finished

Querying the publisher

The following operators also deal with the entire set of values emitted by a publisher, but they don’t produce any specific value that it emits. Instead, these operators emit a different value representing some query on the publisher as a whole. A good example of this is the count operator.

count

The count operator will emit a single number depicting how many values were emitted by the upstream publisher, once the publisher sends a .finished completion event:

example(of: "count") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "B", "C"].publisher
    
  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .count()
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("I have \($0) items") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: count ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "B", "C"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: receive value: (B)
publisher: receive value: (C)
publisher: receive finished
I have 3 items

contains

Another useful operator is contains. You’ve probably used its counterpart in the Swift standard library more than once.

example(of: "contains") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["A", "B", "C", "D", "E"].publisher
  let letter = "C"

  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .contains(letter)
    .sink(receiveValue: { contains in
      // 3
      print(contains ? "Publisher emitted \(letter)!"
                     : "Publisher never emitted \(letter)!")
    })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: contains ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "B", "C", "D", "E"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: receive value: (B)
publisher: receive value: (C)
publisher: receive cancel
Publisher emitted C!
let letter = "C"
let letter = "F"
——— Example of: contains ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["A", "B", "C", "D", "E"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (A)
publisher: receive value: (B)
publisher: receive value: (C)
publisher: receive value: (D)
publisher: receive value: (E)
publisher: receive finished
Publisher never emitted F!
example(of: "contains(where:)") {
  // 1
  struct Person {
    let id: Int
    let name: String
  }

  // 2
  let people = [
    (456, "Scott Gardner"),
    (123, "Shai Mishali"),
    (777, "Marin Todorov"),
    (214, "Florent Pillet")
  ]
  .map(Person.init)
  .publisher

  // 3
  people
    .contains(where: { $0.id == 800 })
    .sink(receiveValue: { contains in
      // 4
      print(contains ? "Criteria matches!"
                     : "Couldn't find a match for the criteria")
    })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: contains(where:) ———
Couldn't find a match for the criteria
.contains(where: { $0.id == 800 })
.contains(where: { $0.id == 800 || $0.name == "Marin Todorov" })
——— Example of: contains(where:) ———
Criteria matches!

allSatisfy

A bunch of operators down, and only two to go! Both of them have counterpart collection methods in the Swift standard library.

example(of: "allSatisfy") {
  // 1
  let publisher = stride(from: 0, to: 5, by: 2).publisher
  
  // 2
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .allSatisfy { $0 % 2 == 0 }
    .sink(receiveValue: { allEven in
      print(allEven ? "All numbers are even"
                    : "Something is odd...")
    })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: allSatisfy ———
publisher: receive subscription: (Sequence)
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (0)
publisher: receive value: (2)
publisher: receive value: (4)
publisher: receive finished
All numbers are even
let publisher = stride(from: 0, to: 5, by: 2).publisher
let publisher = stride(from: 0, to: 5, by: 1).publisher
——— Example of: allSatisfy ———
publisher: receive subscription: (Sequence)
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (0)
publisher: receive value: (1)
publisher: receive cancel
Something is odd...

reduce

Well, here we are! The final operator for this rather packed chapter: reduce.

Seed value is 0
Receives 1, 0 + 1 = 1
Receives 3, 1 + 3 = 4
Receives 7, 4 + 7 = 11
Emits 11
example(of: "reduce") {
  // 1
  let publisher = ["Hel", "lo", " ", "Wor", "ld", "!"].publisher
  
  publisher
    .print("publisher")
    .reduce("") { accumulator, value in
      // 2
      accumulator + value
    }
    .sink(receiveValue: { print("Reduced into: \($0)") })
    .store(in: &subscriptions)
}
——— Example of: reduce ———
publisher: receive subscription: (["Hel", "lo", " ", "Wor", "ld", "!"])
publisher: request unlimited
publisher: receive value: (Hel)
publisher: receive value: (lo)
publisher: receive value: ( )
publisher: receive value: (Wor)
publisher: receive value: (ld)
publisher: receive value: (!)
publisher: receive finished
Reduced into: Hello World!
.reduce("") { accumulator, value in
  // 3
  return accumulator + value
}
.reduce("", +)

Key points

  • Publishers are actually sequences, as they produce values much like collections and sequences do.
  • You can use min and max to emit the minimum or maximum value emitted by a publisher, respectively.
  • first, last and output(at:) are useful when you want to find a value emitted at a specific index. Use output(in:) to find values emitted within a range of indices.
  • first(where:) and last(where:) each take a predicate to determine which values it should let through.
  • Operators such as count, contains and allSatisfy don’t emit values emitted by the publisher. Rather, they emit a different value based on the emitted values.
  • contains(where:) takes a predicate to determine if the publisher contains the given value.
  • Use reduce to accumulate emitted values into a single value.

Where to go from here?

Congrats on completing the last chapter on operators for this book! give yourself a quick pat on the back and high-five yourself while you’re at it. :]

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