Code Quality Rank: L5
Programming language: Swift
License: MIT License
Tags: Events    
Latest version: v3.0

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Build Status Carthage compatible CocoaPods Swift 3.0 Platforms iOS


Most applications out there follow the same pattern:

  1. Is T persisted and has not expired?
    1. Yes: Use it ✅
    2. No: Fetch T from the network
    3. Do we have an internet connection?
      1. Yes: make the Request.
      2. Create T from the network response's data and persist it (send any error that might occur) ✅
      3. Request failed: send an error ❌
      4. No: send an error ❌

If we look carefully the only thing that changes is the T. Reactor provides the whole infrastructure around T with minimum configuration, but with flexibility in mind. In order to achieve that, it uses:

Pros... ✅
  • One of the biggest Pros of Reactor, is how intrinsically forces you to decouple your different components. If your persistence is coupled with your network, Reactor is not for you. 🌳
  • Since Reactor provides most of the insfrastructure out of the box, you can quickly create your entire Model layer. This is useful if you are creating a prototype or a demo. 🚀
  • It removes most of the boilerplate you usually need, when creating a project that follows the flow described in the Intro. ✨
Cons... ❌
  • If you have an unusual flow, that doesn't really fit the flow described in the Intro. ⛔️
  • After checking the Advance usage, Reactor doesn't give you enough flexibility. 😭😭 If this is the case, please open an issue, so we see what we can do! 👍

How to use

github "MailOnline/Reactor"
# Since there is already a podfile named `Reactor`, we are using `MOReactor`.
pod 'MOReactor', '~> 0.9'

Basic setup

For Reactor to work, you need to make sure your Model objects comply with the Mappable protocol. This protocol allows you to encode and decode an object. This is necessary for parsing the object (coming from the network) and storing it on disk.

Let's use the Author struct as an example (this can be found in the Unit tests). The first step is to make the Author struct compliant with the Mappable protocol:

struct Author {
  let name: String

extension Author: Mappable { 

  static func mapToModel(object: AnyObject) -> Result<Author, MappedError> {

    let dictionary = object as? [String: AnyObject],
    let name = dictionary["name"] as? String
    else { return Result(error: MappedError.Custom("Invalid dictionary @ \(Author.self)\n \(object)"))}

    let author = Author(name: name)

    return Result(value: author)

  func mapToJSON() -> AnyObject {
    return ["name": self.name]

Note: The above implementation, is just an example, you are free to use whatever means you prefer.

The first function mapToModel is what allows a model object to be created (JSON ➡️ Model). The second function mapToJSON is the inverse (Model ➡️ JSON).

The second step would be:

let baseURL = NSURL(string: "https://myApi.com")!
let configuration = FlowConfiguration(persistenceConfiguration: .Enabled(withPath: "path_to_persistence"))

let flow: ReactorFlow<Author> = createFlow(baseURL, configuration: configuration)
let reactor: Reactor<Author> = Reactor(flow: flow)

Now that you have the reactor ready, it exposes two functions:

func fetch(resource: Resource) -> SignalProducer<T, Error>
func fetchFromNetwork(resource: Resource) -> SignalProducer<T, Error>

We find that these are the two most common scenarios:

  1. When you get to a new screen, you try to get some data. In this case, Reactor checks the persistence first and if it fails it will fallback to the network.
  2. You want fresh data, so Reactor will use the network.

The final piece is the Resource, which is nothing more than a struct that encapsulates how the request will be made:

  • path
  • query
  • body
  • HTTP headers
  • HTTP method


For extra flexibility, you can use the CoreConfiguration and FlowConfiguration protocols.

The CoreConfiguration protocols define how the Reactor behaves:

public protocol CoreConfiguration {
/// When enabled, you should pass the path where it will be stored
/// Otherwise it's disabled
var persistenceConfiguration: PersistenceConfiguration { get }
/// If the `saveToPersistenceFlow`, should be part of the flow.
/// Should be `false` when the flow shouldn't
/// wait for `saveToPersistenceFlow` to finish (for example it takes
/// a long time).
/// Note: if you set it as `false` and it fails, the failure will be
/// lost, because it's not part of the flow, but injected instead .
/// `true` by default.
var shouldWaitForSaveToPersistence: Bool { get }

The FlowConfiguration protocol define how the Reactor Flow is created:

public protocol FlowConfiguration {
/// If persistence should be used.
/// `true` by default.
var usingPersistence: Bool { get }
/// If reachability should be used.
/// `true` by default.
var shouldCheckReachability: Bool { get }
/// If the parser should be strict or prune the bad objects.
/// Pruning will simply remove objects that are not parseable, instead
/// of erroring the flow. Strict on the other hand as soon as it finds
/// a bad object will error the entire flow.
/// Note: if you receive an entire batch of bad objects, it will default to
/// an empty array. Witch leads to not knowing if the server has no results or
/// all objects are badly formed.
/// `true` by default.
var shouldPrune: Bool { get }

The FlowConfiguration protocol is used in the following methods:

public func createFlow<T where T: Mappable>(baseURL: NSURL, configuration: FlowConfigurable) -> ReactorFlow<T>
public func createFlow<T where T: Mappable>(connection: Connection, configuration: FlowConfigurable) -> ReactorFlow<T>
public func createFlow<T where T: SequenceType, T.Generator.Element: Mappable>(baseURL: NSURL, configuration: FlowConfigurable) -> ReactorFlow<T>
public func createFlow<T where T: SequenceType, T.Generator.Element: Mappable>(connection: Connection, configuration: FlowConfigurable) -> ReactorFlow<T>

These are convenient methods, that provide a ready to use ReactorFlow. It's important to note, that if you would like to use a custom persistence (CoreData, Realm, SQLite, etc), you should create a ReactorFlow on your own. The reason why, is because the default Persistence class (InDiskPersistence.swift) takes a path, where the data will be saved. This might not make sense with other approaches (please check Using 3rd Party Dependencies section).

Without Persistence

If it doesn't make sense to persist data, you can:

let baseURL = NSURL(string: "https://myApi.com")!
let configuration = FlowConfiguration(persistenceConfiguration: .Disabled)
let flow: ReactorFlow<Foo> = createFlow(baseURL, configuration: configuration)
let reactor: Reactor<Foo> = Reactor(flow: flow)

As for the mapToJSON function, you can simply return an NSNull:

func mapToJSON() -> AnyObject {
  return NSNull()

Advance Usage


In order to make most of Reactor, keep the following in mind (these are ReactorFlow<T>'s properties):

var networkFlow: Resource -> SignalProducer<T, Error>
var loadFromPersistenceFlow: Void -> SignalProducer<T, Error>
var saveToPersistenceFlow: T -> SignalProducer<T, Error>

All three properties are mutable (var) on purpose, so you can extend specific behaviours. For example, you might be interested in knowing why loadFromPersistenceFlow is failing and log it. With the default flow, this is not possible to do, because if loadFromPersistenceFlow fails, the network flow will kick in and the error is lost.

A way to accomplish this, is by creating a default flow and then extending it:

let reactorFlow: ReactorFlow<Author> = ...

let extendedPersistence = reactorFlow.loadFromPersistenceFlow().on(failure: { error in print(error) })
reactorFlow.loadFromPersistenceFlow =  { extendedPersistence }

You can further decompose the flow, since all the core pieces are exposed in the public API. More specifically:

The default flow provided by Reactor (Intro) is something you are welcome to use, but not tied to. Keep in mind the following when creating your own flows:

The Reactor<T>'s fetch function invariant:

  • the loadFromPersistenceFlow will always be called first. If it fails, fetchFromNetwork is called.

The Reactor<T>'s fetchFromNetwork function invariant:

  • the networkFlow will always be called first, if it succeeds it will be followed by saveToPersistenceFlow.
Using 3rd Party Dependencies

Reactor plays quite well with other dependencies and requires minimum effort from your side. In the previous section, we saw the three essencial pieces of a ReactorFlow:

var networkFlow: Resource -> SignalProducer<T, Error>
var loadFromPersistenceFlow: Void -> SignalProducer<T, Error>
var saveToPersistenceFlow: T -> SignalProducer<T, Error>

As mentioned, we encourage you to modify them to suit your needs. With 3rd party dependencies, you have to do exactly that. As an example, these could be the steps you would go through in order to make Alamofire compatible:

  1. Wrap Alamofire with ReactiveCocoa. You can see an example of that here, here and here. This is a fairly trivial task and are plenty of examples out there.
  2. Make the NSError used by the approaches previously mentioned into an Error. You can use the mapError operator. You should then transform it into an Error.Network.
  3. This will now depend if you have a parser in place or not.
    1. If you do, then you just need to hook up your previously wrapped Alamofire request with it. Ideally you will have a function with the following signature: NSData -> SignalProducer<T, Error> for the parser. Composition then becomes easy: alamofireCall().flatMap(.Latest, transformation: parse) (a concrete example here).
    2. If you don't, you can make use of the Mappable protocol and the parse function provided by Reactor. Once you have that, you can follow this.

With all this in place, the final piece is:

let persistenceHandler = InDiskPersistenceHandler<MyModel>(persistenceFilePath: persistencePath)
let loadFromPersistence = persistenceHandler.load
let saveToPersistence =  persistenceHandler.save

let reactorFlow: ReactorFlow<MyModel> = ReactorFlow(network: myNetworkFlow, loadFromPersistenceFlow: loadFromPersistence, saveToPersistence: saveToPersistence)

The createFlow family methods follow this approach internally, so you should check them out.

Other 3rd party dependencies will follow the same approach:

  1. Wrap the dependency with ReactiveCocoa
  2. Make it compatible with flow signature.
  3. Create the ReactorFlow as it suits you.


Reactor is licensed under the MIT License, Version 2.0. [View the license file](LICENSE)

Copyright (c) 2015 MailOnline

Header image by Henrique Macedo.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Reactor README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.