If you are like me, when developing an application you are always looking (although sometimes it is difficult) to use a series of ‘rules’ that help you to make the code cleaner, be as uncoupled as possible, be scalable …

In a previous article I already talked about SOLID principles and how to apply them with Swift. In this article I am going to discuss a pattern that will allow us to reduce the coupling of our code and that will make it more easily testable: Dependency Injection.

But, what is dependency injection?

If we go directly to the definition that Wikipedia gives us, we find the following:

In software engineering, dependency injection is a technique in which an object receives other objects that it depends on. These other objects are called dependencies. In the typical “using” relationship the receiving object is called a client and the passed (that is, “injected”) object is called a service. The code that passes the service to the client can be many kinds of things and is called the injector. Instead of the client specifying which service it will use, the injector tells the client what service to use. The “injection” refers to the passing of a dependency (a service) into the object (a client) that would use it.

Wikipedia

The advantages of dependency injection in Swift are:

  • Reduce coupling.
  • The code is reusable.
  • The code is testable.
  • Facilitates code maintenance.

Dependency injection example

For example, suppose that we are preparing a screen in which the user can log into the application, but for this we need to validate it on an internet server.

If we are using the MVVM pattern and in our ViewModel class we use a class that manages the internet connection, we can initially do the following:

This code works fine, but has some problems:

  • First of all, it is the LoginViewModel class itself that creates a NetworkManager instance. This makes the dependency and coupling between LoginViewModel and NetworkManager high.
  • When creating the NetowrkManager instance inside the LoginViewModel, it becomes virtually impossible to test the LoginViewModel independently (eg by passing a mock up for connectivity).

To solve this situation, what we must do is modify the code of the LoginViewModel class so that we can pass it the NetworkManager instance:

Dependency injection testing

Now, for example, if we want to test the LoginViewModel class we can pass a ‘mocked’ NetworkManager instance. That is, we can create our own class that has the behavior that we want. The new class simply has to comply with the NetworkManagerProtocol protocol:

Or, if we want to test the errors:

Types of dependency injection

Within the injection of dependencies we can distinguish three types:

  • Initializer injection
  • Property injection
  • Method injection

Initializer injection

It is the type of initialization that we have seen in the example. In this case we pass the dependency during object initialization. Also, it has the advantage that the dependency is immutable.

Property injection

Injection of a dependency can also be done by assigning it as a parameter. In this case, this assignment makes the property not immutable, since then we could modify it with a new assignment:

Method injection

Another way to inject a dependency is to do it whenever we want. This can be done by creating a method that allows dependency injecting.

Conclusion

Knowing about dependency injection in Swift will allow us to create more decoupled code, with a lower tendency to have errors and whose maintenance will be easier.


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