Neil Kimmett

Ownership, or My First Swift PR Got Merged

19 Apr 2016

A couple of months ago I was playing with Soroush Khanlou’s composable light view controllers concept, resulting in this Swift implementation of his keyboard manager view controller. Note that the gist starts with the lines

extension UIEdgeInsets {
    static var zero: UIEdgeInsets {
        return UIEdgeInsetsZero

This is because the Swift standard library ships with for getting an empty CGRect, and for an empty CGPoint but doesn’t ship with 💔. I was discussing this discrepancy with Soroush and he wisely suggested I file a Radar. But then I had a realisation

Chat with Soroush

Thanks to Swift now being open source I could fix the bug myself! This had me infinitely more excited than the arduous process of writing up a Radar. We all know that Radar’ing can be a very arduous, opaque and frustrating process, instead I could fire up my code editor of choice and actually fix the problem.

So I found the relevant part of the code, found the relevant part of the unit tests, and submitted a pull request. Jordan Rose got back to me a few hours later (hours!) to let me know he’d need to consult the frameworks team at Apple as this involved a change to the frameworks overlays. Once UIKit approved the change (which took about a month) my pull request got merged.

What makes this so exciting to me is not just the new, open way of talking directly to Apple enginers but the fact that some of my code is going to be in Apple’s frameworks. When new iOS and Mac betas come out at WWDC they’ll be running my code, albeit a tiny bit of code. Thats a fundamental change, I feel like I have ownership of the platforms I spent my whole day using. So next time you find a little (or big!) annoyance in Swift don’t jump straight for Radar. Maybe you can track down the cause of the issue and fix it yourself 😊.