Libraries are a developer’s biggest helping hands, letting you do hours’ worth of work in minutes, so you have more time to focus on developing your app’s core value. Choosing a few libraries out of the hundreds available is however, the tough part. You need to pick one that’s best suited to your requirement and to help you make that choice, here are the top 10 iOS libraries developers around the world tend to use the most
The first mention on this list is Alamofire, which is a HTTP library built on top of NSURLSession. It is a great library to simplify networking in your iOS app, and don’t we all know just how important networking is. That is why Alamofire, built in Swift remains so popular despite new entrants doing a good job in this niche. It provides easily accessible utility methods to handle all kinds of network requests and makes the networking interface feel native to Swift. Some of Alamofire’s unique features like the ability to pause and resume network operations, and a subclassable private storage make it particularly conducive to programmers building an iOS app in Swift.
SDWebImage is an asynchronous image downloader with cache support. It features some versatile UIKit categories such as UIImageView, UIButton and MKAnnotationView that make image download and caching a whole lot easier. While the newer versions of iOS have made the NSURLCache robust enough to handle disk caching, SDWebImage still holds firm ground in the developer community for its unique applications. SDWebImage caches the UIImage in the memory and stores the original, decoded and compressed image file on disk.This helps free up memory. This is why SDWebImage proves to be a handy library for iOS image management.
AFNetworking has been around for several years now and despite several newer options available, remains a highly trusted networking library for iOS, MacOS as well as TVOS and WatchOS. The Objective-C predecessor of Alamofire, AFNetworking takes care of everything from basic networking to advanced requirements such as Network Reachability and SSL pinning. Its feature-rich APIs handle pretty much all your high-level networking abstractions and it’s highly engaged and vast community of developers makes it a delightful library to work with.
Even though Swift makes it easier for developers with its explicit types, it can still get tiring at times to constantly watch out for code and the bugs in it, especially when dealing with JSON. SwiftyJSON makes it a lot easier to handle JSON data in Swift, by elegantly serializing JSON into Swift objects. When used with Alamofire, it makes JSON surprisingly simple.
SnapKit is an extremely popular iOS library written in Swift that simplifies AutoLayout and makes it extremely easy to create and setup constraints. It also requires very little code to do so, as compared to the traditional ways, and results in a cleaner code that is easier to review and more manageable. Its type safe design makes it particularly developer friendly, as it helps minimize error and prevents invalid concerns to begin with.
Kingfisher is a lightweight library for async downloading and caching images, much like SDWebImage, but it is written entirely in Swift. It helps you significantly improve your app experience by caching the downloaded images in both memory and disk. Some unique features like cancelable downloading and independent components help improve app performance and the speed too is greatly improved thanks to the prefetching of images that enables your app to quickly show them from cache later. Extensions for UIImageView, UIButton and NSImage help directly set an image from a URL.
Eureka is an elegant iOS form builder in Swift, and is a lifesaver for developer working on form-intensive apps. Creating forms can become a real time drainer and take forever to complete the repetitive and complex code. Eureka takes away all the repetitive work and lets you create powerful, dynamic forms right out of the box. Its reusable code makes things even better so you can write once and use the same code anywhere. Thanks to Eureka’s abstractions, you don’t have to worry about duplication or code validation. Its expansive community of developers makes it one of the best updated third party libraries for iOS.
Developers who can’t stop feeling that there’s something missing in the UIKit will be thankful for MBProgressHUD. It is a library that provides developers the class they need to display a translucent Heads-Up Display (HUD) over images with text, progress indicators or labels, while the image is loading. So when your app is undertaking a long time task or an image is taking too long to load, these translucent indicators help relieve user anxiety and prevent them from abandoning your app midway.
MJRefresh allows you to easily and quickly integrate the pull-to-refresh functionality in your app’s UITableView. Of course you do have the standard UIRefreshControl, but developers increasingly turn to MJRefresh for its elegant interface and varied customization options. It allows you to add text, animation or even UIView making the complete experience more delightful. It even lets you add pull-to-refresh actions to an isolated block or closure.
If you need a robust framework for all your logging needs, CocoaLumberjack is the perfect solution for you. It is a simple but powerful library that packs in more punch than NSLog or the humble print. It offers some very cool features like multi-threading, lockless atomic operations and grand central dispatch. It has generally been found to be faster than NSLog and simpler too, as it can be made functional in as little as one line of code. It allows one log statement to be sent to multiple loggers, so you can actually log to a file and a console simultaneously. It is also loved for its flexibility and easily scores as an enterprise level logging solution for your Mac or iPhone application.
That is hardly an exhaustive list but you now have 10 iOS libraries that iOS developers around the world love and use. Which one do you think you want to use in your next app? If there’s anything you think should make it to this list, do let us know in the comments.