The Advantages of Alamofire

Saul Urias | February 25, 2021

One of the most common tasks in the development of mobile applications is the consumption of web services. There are several tools that simplify this task, and the most popular for Swift is Alamofire.

Alamofire simplifies a number of common networking tasks, it makes development faster and easier.

Below is a guide for professional iOS developers.

Why Alamofire?

  • Alamofire is an HTTP networking library written in Swift.
  • Alamofire helps to improve the quality of code. It is a simpler way to consume REST services.
  • Alamofire is the basic tool for hundreds of projects.

 

Before Beginning


Here are the requirements to install Alamofire,
The development target must be,

  • iOS 8.0+
  • macOS 10.10+
  • tvOS 9.0+
  • watchOS 2.0+

Then install,

  • Xcode Version 8.3+
  • Swift 3.1+


To check the iOS version, select the correct Deployment target. Start Xcode and follow the instructions below,



In the screen’s right panel, follow these instructions,



To check that you have the right version of Xcode, follow these instructions,



A new window will be displayed like this and will show the Xcode version,



In order to find the Swift version of your project, follow these instructions,



How to Install Alamofire?

There are several ways to install Alamofire

  • CocoaPods
  • Carthage
  • Swift Package Manager
  • Manually.


CocoaPods

To integrate Alamofire into a Xcode project using CocoaPods, specify it in the Podfile,


target 'YourProjectName' do
	# Comment the next line if you're not using Swift and don't want to use dynamic frameworks
	use_frameworks!
    
    # Pods for YourProjectName
    	pod 'Alamofire', '~> 4.7'
end



Carthage

Carthage can be used to install Alamofire in an iOS project. To integrate Alamofire into the Xcode project, specify it in the Cartfile,

 


github "Alamofire/Alamofire" ~> 4.7



Swift Package Manager

Alamofire can also be installed with Swift Package Manager. 

 


dependencies: [
	.Package(url: "https://github.com/Alamofire/Alamofire.git", majorVersion: 4)
]


For Swift 3, do the following:

 


.package(url: "https://github.com/Alamofire/Alamofire.git", from: "4.0.0")


Manual Install

If there’s a preference not to use any of the aforementioned dependency managers, Alamofire can be integrated into your project manually.


Creating a Request

Creating a request with Alamofire is as simple as:

 


Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get") //the default method is 'get'
Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/post", method: .post)
Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/put", method: .put)
Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/delete", method: .delete)


Handling a Response


func getRequestWithAlamofire(){
	Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get").responseJSON { response in
    	if let json = response.result.value {
        	print("JSON: \(json)") // serialized json response
        }
    }
}



Note that this is a non-blocking function. In the above example Alamofire allows the use of a response JSON handler appended to the request. Once the request is completed, the handler can be used to process the data. Instead of blocking execution, it returns right away.


Response Handlers

There are five different response methods that can be used with Alamofire requests:

1. Response (Unserialized Response default handler)


func getRequestWithAlamofireHandlingDefaultResponse(){
	Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get").response { response in
    	print(response)
    }
}



2. ResponseData (Serialized into Data to handle Data)


func getRequestWithAlamofireHandlingDataResponse(){
	Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get").responseData { response in
    	print(response)
    }
}


3. ResponseString (Serialized into String to handle String)


func getRequestWithAlamofireHandlingStringResponse(){
	Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get").responseString { response in
    	print(response)
	}
}



4. ResponseJson (Serialized into Any to handle JSON)


func getRequestWithAlamofireHandlingJSONResponse(){
	Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get").responseJSON { response in
    	print(response)
    }
}


5. ResponsePropertyList (Serialized into Any to handle PropertyList (plist)


func getRequestWithAlamofireHandlingPropertyListResponse(){
	Alamofire.request("https://yourApiUrl.com/get").responsePropertyList { response in
    	print(response)
    }
}


Advantages of Using Alamofire

Using Alamofire will give a cleaner project. API call interactions (POST/GET/PUT/etc.) will be easier and more understable.

Alamofire simplifies a number of common networking tasks that makes development faster and easier.


Disadvantages of Using Alamofire

The disadvantages are the same as using any other framework. For one, there is now dependency on a third-party for future support. For another, the requirements may change and the frameworks may stop being a good fit.


Remember Swift is updated frequently. If an update to a project to the latest Swift version needs to be made, it must wait until the framework is updated too.

Key Takeaways:

 

  • One of the challenges in the development of mobile applications is the consumption of web services. There are several tools that simplify this task, the most popular for Swift is Alamofire.
  • Alamofire’s pros outweigh the cons
  • Alamofire makes developing networking layers easier, faster and much cleaner.

Conclusion

Alamofire makes developing networking layers easier, faster and much cleaner. Another great benefit of using it is that it can be studied and its code is available. This can help programmers because it’s a well-written framework.
If one is beginning with iOS development, it’s recommended to first create a project using URLSession. This is the native way to work with networking connections in Swift and it will help create an understanding of how connections work.
There are other frameworks available such as SwiftHTTP, Swifter, Net, and many more. However, of all the options, Alamofire has the best support. It is open source and if a developer so chooses he or she can contribute here contributing guidelines.

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  • Programming
  • Software Development

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