A blog exploring advanced programming topics in Swift.

2023 Year-in-review

Tuesday Dec 19, 2023

It’s the end of the year again, and we’re feeling nostalgic 😊. We’re really proud of everything we produced for 2023, so join us for a quick review of some of our favorite highlights.

We are also offering 25% off 🎁 the first year for first-time subscribers. If you’ve been on the fence on whether or not to subscribe, now is the time!


2023 was our biggest year yet:

  • 200k unique visitors to the site.
  • 45 episodes released for a total of 34 hours of video, and 27 blog posts published.
  • Over 180k video views, 6 years watching time, and over 67 terabytes of video streamed.
  • 4 new projects open sourced and dozens of updates to our other libraries.

But these high-level stats don’t even scratch the surface of what we covered in 2023:


This year’s episodes were action-packed, to say the least. We made use of many new, advanced features of Swift 5.8 and 5.9, including concurrency tools, executors, observation, macros (and more…) in order to push the Swift language and SwiftUI to the limit of what they can accomplish:

Modern SwiftUI

We began the year with a 7-part series discussing modern SwiftUI techniques. This includes proper domain modeling for navigation, properly handling side effects, controlling dependencies, and writing extensive tests for features, including how multiple features integrate together.

We demonstrated these principles by rebuilding one of Apple’s more interesting demo apps, Scrumdinger. We recreated the entire app from scratch, but using modern techniques each step of the way. If you put in a little bit of upfront work while building your applications you get a ton of benefits down the road, such as easy deep-linking, simple communication patterns between features, a unified API for navigation:

.navigationDestination(item: self.$model.destination.meeting) { meeting in
  MeetingView(meeting: meeting, syncUp: self.model.syncUp)
.navigationDestination(item: self.$model.destination.record) { recordModel in
  RecordMeetingView(model: recordModel)
.sheet(item: self.$model.destination.edit) { editModel in
  SyncUpFormView(model: editModel)
.alert(self.$model.destination.alert) { action in
  await self.model.alertButtonTapped(action)

…and a lot more.

At the end of the series we even open-sourced the app, built in two different styles: one using what we call “tree-based” navigation (i.e. when navigation is driven by optional state) and the other using “stack-based” navigation (i.e. when navigation is driven by a collection).

We even made a call-to-action to the community to rebuild the app in the style that they enjoy the most. Architecture debates in the community tend to be a lot of abstract platitudes and hand waving, but there’s no better way to show off your ideas that to build it concretely and share with the world.

First ever live stream

This year we also had our first ever live stream where we discussed our newly released dependencies library, and we live-refactored how navigation was modeled in the SyncUps application we built for our Modern SwiftUI series.

In that series we modeled the navigation of the app in what we like to call the “tree-based” style. This is where each feature models the places it can navigate to with a single piece of optional enum state, where each case of the enum is a possible destination. The nesting of those enums form a tree-like structure.

This style is different from what we like to call “stack-based” navigation, where drill-down navigation is modeled as a single flat array of destinations. Each style has their pros and cons, but we still wanted to show how it would look to build the app with stack-based navigation, so we did it live!

Composable Architecture navigation

Early in the year we embarked on a very long series of episodes to build first class navigation tools into the Composable Architecture. We didn’t plan on it being that long from the outset, but we kept finding new interesting tools that we wanted to discuss.

By the end of the series we built everything necessary to model your domains concisely for navigation. We also talked at length about the two major styles of navigation, tree-based versus stack-based, as well as their pros and cons.

For a comprehensive overview of this topic be sure to check out the documentation in the library, and if you want to know how to apply these techniques to a vanilla SwiftUI app, be sure to checkout our SwiftUINavigation library.

Reliably testing async

In 2022 we posted a seemingly innocent question about how to reliably test async code in Swift. Well, 1.5 years later, 126 replies and 20k views later… there still is no official word from Apple on how to accomplish this.

Even something as straightforward as this:

func buttonTapped() async throws {
  self.isLoading = true 
  defer { self.isLoading = false }
  self.data = nil
  self.data = try await self.apiClient.fetch()

…is not easy to test. There just are no tools that allow us to deterministically assert on what happens in between units of async work. We have to sprinkle in some Task.yields in our tests and hope that it’s enough, but we’ll never know for sure.

So, this year we took matters into our own hands by releasing a 5-part series exploring how one can embrace the amazing concurrency tools of Swift while not sacrificing testability. We start with two free(!) episodes (here and here) exploring the problem space and seeing why it is essentially impossible to deterministically test any moderately complex Swift code that uses await. And by the end of the series we built a tool that allows one to test async code in a style that is more familiar to testing synchronous and Combine/reactive code. And we released a library to give everyone access to this tool.

Be sure to also check out our full concurrency collection of episodes that discusses topics that haven’t gotten much attention in the community, such as a full past-to-future deep dive into concurrency, as well as clocks and time-based asynchrony.

Tour of the Composable Architecture 1.0

It’s hard to believe, but it was only this year that we finally released 1.0 of our popular library, the Composable Architecture. To celebrate we released a brand new tour of the library where we rebuilt Apple’s demo application, Scrumdinger, using the Composable Architecture. (Incidentally we also rebuilt this app without the Composable Architecture, and using only modern, vanilla SwiftUI techniques.)

Along the way we uncovered many benefits to using the Composable Architecture over vanilla SwiftUI, such as:

  • The ability to use value types for our domain rather than being forced to use reference types and incur the complexity that comes with them.
  • Easy integration of features together so that they can easily communicate with each other.
  • Immediate ability to deep-link into any state of our application.
  • Instant testability, including how features integrate together and exhaustively proving how state involves in the app and how effects feed data back into the system.

…and a whole bunch more.

Testing & Debugging Macros

Macros were by far the biggest new feature in Swift 5.9, and we devoted two full episodes (here and here) to understanding how to debug and test them.

The biggest complication to writing macros in Swift is becoming familiar with SwiftSyntax. We show off some techniques for exploring the syntax tree of your Swift code, including using breakpoints while running your macro in tests, and copious amounts of lldb printing. 😆

The second biggest complication to writing macros in Swift is dealing with all of the edge cases that come up in everyday, real Swift code. For example, did you know that enum cases can all be listed on the same line if desired:

struct Destination {
  case add(ItemFormModel), detail(ItemDetailModel), delete(AlertState)

And the syntax tree for this is different than if the cases are all on their own line. So if you have a macro dealing with enums you better deal with this situation.

Also if your macro deals with closures in some manner, then you also better make sure to deal with the wide variety of closure annotations, such as @Sendable, @escaping, @autoclosure, and more.

And this is why it can be very important to write tests for your macros, and write as many as possible to cover each strange nuance and edge case. But the default testing tool that comes with SwiftSyntax is a little cumbersome, and so we built a testing tool that makes it very easy to assert how your macro expands, as well as how its diagnostics and fix-its are emitted.

Deep dive into Swift’s observation tools

We released a collection of episodes that dive deep into Swift 5.9’s observation tools, including the new @Observable macro and the withObservationTracking function. While it’s clear that the tools are built primarily with SwiftUI in mind, they are still quite powerful.

We broke the series up into 5 major parts:

  • We begin with a look at the tools of the past, including the @State and @ObservedObject property wrappers that were in SwiftUI since it’s first release. They were handy, but they also came with some gotchas, and forced you to write your features in an unnatural style.
  • Next we move onto the new observation tools in Swift 5.9, and show how they improve upon every aspect of the @State and @ObservedObject property wrappers. We even dive into some of the code in the open source Swift repository.
  • Then we show that although the new tools are amazing, even ✨magical✨, they do come with some gotchas. It is very important to be familiar with these subtleties in order to best wield these tools.
  • Next we show off a very theoretical future direction of observation in Swift, and that is “observable structs.” Now unfortunately Swift’s observation tools do not work with structs, and for good reason. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try!
  • And finally we demonstrate “observation in practice” by taking the application we built during our Modern SwiftUI series and refactoring it to use the new @Observable macro.

Case paths revolution

Key paths are an amazing feature of Swift. They allow you to abstractly isolate a particular field from the whole of a struct, and they unlock a lot of amazing capabilities that we all probably take for granted these days. But to our knowledge, Swift is the only modern programming language that has first class support for something like key paths.

However, there is a crucial part of the story missing from Swift. If key paths are great for isolating a property from a struct, what about isolating a case from an enum? Certainly there has to be many uses for such a concept considering how powerful enums are for concisely modeling domains.

This is why we introduced the concept of “case paths” nearly 4 years ago. Since then they have found use cases in many places, such as in the Composable Architecture, our parsing library, vanilla SwiftUI navigation, and more.

However, the ergonomics were never quite right. That all changed with Swift 5.9 was released, which brought with it macros. They allow us to generate more correct and more performant case paths for any enum, and we dedicated 2 episodes (part 1 and part 2) to exploring how.

Observable Architecture

We finished the year with a bang! 💥

We started a brand new series on Observable Architecture, which aims to bring Swift 5.9’s observation tools to the Composable Architecture, and we released a public beta of the tools so that people can test them out today while we polish them for the final release.

The observation tools of Swift 5.9 are going to completely revolutionize the library. We are able to remove many superfluous concepts that were necessary pre-observation, such as ViewStore, WithViewStore, IfLetStore, ForEachStore, SwitchStore, binding helpers, navigation view modifiers, and even more! It allows us to write our features in a style that looks closer to vanilla SwiftUI, while still getting all of the benefits from the library, such as getting to use value types for our domains, concise domain modeling tools, easy testing, and more.

Open source

On average, our open source libraries are cloned over 120,000 times per day! They are used by thousands of developers and companies all across the globe. It’s a lot of work to maintain them, but it’s all made possible thanks to our wonderful subscribers.

This year we released 4 new open source libraries, two of which were incubated in the Composable Architecture and later split out, as well as dozens of updates to our existing libraries:


In October of last year we released a large update to the Composable Architecture, introducing the Reducer protocol to the library. That simple change to the library unlocked a whole new way to managing, controlling and propagating dependencies. It was extremely powerful, and we soon realized that we could extract it out to its own library so that it could be used in vanilla SwiftUI applications too.

And that’s exactly what we did this year. We extracted the dependency management tool from the Composable Architecture, and open sourced it as its own standalone library: Dependencies. It allows you to add dependencies to an observable object much like you would with the environment in SwiftUI views.

The library even comes with a few dependencies you can use right away:

final class FeatureModel {
  @Dependency(\.continuousClock) var clock  // Controllable way to sleep a task
  @Dependency(\.date.now) var now           // Controllable way to ask for current date
  @Dependency(\.mainQueue) var mainQueue    // Controllable scheduling on main queue
  @Dependency(\.uuid) var uuid              // Controllable UUID creation


Then, in your feature’s logic you will use these dependencies rather than reaching out to their “live”, uncontrollable versions:

final class FeatureModel {

  func addButtonTapped() async throws {
    try await self.clock.sleep(for: .seconds(1))  // 👈 Don't use 'Task.sleep'
        id: self.uuid(),  // 👈 Don't use 'UUID()'
        name: "",
        createdAt: self.now  // 👈 Don't use 'Date()'

And in tests you can override the dependencies so that that return something that you control rather than be at the mercy of the vagaries of the outside world. It’s as easy as 1️⃣, 2️⃣, 3️⃣:

func testAdd() async throws {
  let model = withDependencies {
    // 1️⃣ Override any dependencies that your feature uses.
    $0.clock = ImmediateClock()
    $0.date.now = Date(timeIntervalSinceReferenceDate: 1234567890)
    $0.uuid = .incrementing
  } operation: {
    // 2️⃣ Construct the feature's model

  // 3️⃣ The model now executes in a controlled environment of dependencies,
  //    and so we can make assertions against its behavior.
  try await model.addButtonTapped()
        id: UUID(uuidString: "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000")!,
        name: "",
        createdAt: Date(timeIntervalSinceReferenceDate: 1234567890)

Concurrency extras

After finishing our series of episodes on testing async code, we open sourced the tool we built during that series, as well as a few other tools.

The most improtant tool provided is withMainSerialExecutor. It serializes all async work in a scope so that you can predict how your feature will behave in tests:

func testFeature() async {
  await withMainSerialExecutor {

This makes it possible to write tests for features using async that pass deterministically 100% of the time.

Inline snapshot testing

We released our popular snapshot testing library over 5 years ago, but this year we added a huge new feature: inline snapshot testing. It allows you to record the textual snapshot of your types directly into the test file.

For example, if you wanted to test the JSON encoding of a user value, you could do it like so:

func testUserJSON() {
  assertInlineSnapshot(of: user, as: .json)

Upon running this test a snapshot of the user value will be made as JSON and automatically recorded directly into the test file:

func testUserJSON() {
  assertInlineSnapshot(of: user, as: .json)  {
      "id" : 42,
      "isAdmin": true,
      "name" : "Blob"

It feels almost magical, but unfortunately static text in a blog post does not do it justice. This is what it looks like when you run the test in Xcode:

It’s an extremely powerful testing tool, and it’s even extensible so that you can build you own testing tools on top of it. And in fact, that’s exactly what we did for testing macros in Swift. 👇

Swift macro testing

One of the major new features of Swift 5.9 is macros. They are compiler plugins that can generate code to be inserted into your code during the compilation process. It’s an incredibly powerful tool for removing boilerplate from your code and unlocking new techniques that would have previously been too cumbersome.

Apple even ships a tool for testing macros, called assertMacroExpansion, but it can be cumbersome to use. So we open sourced a new library, MacroTesting, that utilizes our inline snapshot testing library to make testing macros super easy.

You can use the assertMacro function to provide a string of Swift code that makes use of a macro:

assertMacro {
  func f(a: Int, for b: String) -> String {
    return b

When this test runs the expanded macro code will be automatically inserted into the test file. And further, if the macro emits any diagnostics and/or fix-its, those too will be expanded and inserted into the test file:

assertMacro {
  func f(a: Int, for b: String) -> String {
    return b
} diagnostics: {
  func f(a: Int, for b: String) -> String {
  ╰─ 🛑 can only add a completion-handler variant to an 'async' function
     ✏️ add 'async'
    return b
} fixes: {
  func f(a: Int, for b: String) async -> String {
    return b
} expansion: {
  func f(a: Int, for b: String) async -> String {
    return b

  func f(a: Int, for b: String, completionHandler: @escaping (String) -> Void) {
    Task {
      completionHandler(await f(a: a, for: b, value))

This makes it incredibly easy to test macros, which is important because macros can be very difficult to implement correctly. You have to deal with many of the edge cases of Swift syntax, and so it’s a good idea to get as many tests as possible on the various subtle edge cases of the macro.

Observable architecture beta

In unison with the beginning of our new Observable Architecture series (and coincidentally the same day the library hit 10,000 stars on GitHub) we launched a public beta of the new observation tools. One can simply point their existing Composable Architecture project to the observation-beta branch and start using the new tools.

We like to have these public beta periods because it allows people to give the new tools for a spin and find any problems with them or backwards compatibility problems when upgrading. The community has also been great in helping fix problems. We already have 6 outside contributors to the observation-beta PR, and there are still a few weeks left of the beta period.

We will release the final version of the tools sometime in January, and at that time it will be the biggest revolution to the library since its release 3 years ago. Even better, it will be a fully backwards compatibile release, so people will be able to upgrade immediately. And the tools include a backport of Swift 5.9’s obesrvation machinery so that you can use the new tools even if you are targeting an older version of iOS, going all the way back to iOS 13!

Blog posts

This year we published 27 blog posts, most of which cover things already discussed above, but there were 3 specific posts we wanted to call out.

Modern SwiftUI

When we finished our Modern SwiftUI series of episodes we released a blog-post-a-day for an entire week to highlight some of the techniques that we think go into building a modern SwiftUI application. We focused on:

Be sure to check out the blog series if you do have time to watch all of the videos.

Being a good citizen in the land of Swift Syntax

When Swift macros were officially released we jumped into the head first. But we quickly noticed a few big issues with doing so, primarily due to using SwiftSyntax.

After much research and experimentation we came up with a few guiding principles that could be followed to mitigate the problems of using SwiftSyntax in your project. We wrote up our findings to help everyone be a better citizen in the land of Swift Syntax.

Macro bonanza

When macros were released in Swift 5.9 we kinda went bonanza with them. We released big updates to 4 of our libraries to bring all new capabilities with macros, and we released a brand new library to make testing macros easier. We catalogued these big releases in our Macro Bonanza blog post:

  • We revolutionized our CasePaths library with the new @CasePathable macro.
  • We heavily integrated the new case path capabilities into the Composable Architecture, along with a new @Reducer macro.
  • We made navigation in vanilla SwiftUI even easier in our SwiftUINavigation library.
  • We introduced a @DependencyClient macro that makes it very easy to design dependencies in a way that is flexible and ergonomic.
  • And finally we released a new library, Macro Testing, for testing macros, including their diagnostics and fix-its.

Point-Free community

This year we launched our first big community initiative: the Point-Free Slack. In the 10 months since then over 2,000 people have joined and over 42k messages have been sent. It has become an incredible supportive place to get questions answered about any of our open source libraries, and we are thankful to all the community members that spend their time helping out.

Join today to learn more about our libraries or to help out someone out!

See you in 2024! 🥳

We’re thankful to all of our subscribers for supporting us and helping us create our episodes and support our open source libraries. We could not do it without you!

Next year we have even more planned, including the final release of the observation tools in the Composable Architecture, more advanced content on how to best leverage the library (including new techniques for modeling shared state), a deep dive into value types versus reference types, and more that we are not yet ready to reveal. 😉

To celebrate the end of the year we are also offering 25% off the first year for first-time subscribers. If you’ve been on the fence on whether or not to subscribe, now is the time!

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