Properties

Properties associate values with a particular class, structure, or enumeration. Stored properties store constant and variable values as part of an instance, whereas computed properties calculate (rather than store) a value. Computed properties are provided by classes, structures, and enumerations. Stored properties are provided only by classes and structures.

Stored and computed properties are usually associated with instances of a particular type. However, properties can also be associated with the type itself. Such properties are known as type properties.

In addition, you can define property observers to monitor changes in a property’s value, which you can respond to with custom actions. Property observers can be added to stored properties you define yourself, and also to properties that a subclass inherits from its superclass.

You can also use a property wrapper to reuse code in the getter and setter of multiple properties.

Stored Properties

In its simplest form, a stored property is a constant or variable that is stored as part of an instance of a particular class or structure. Stored properties can be either variable stored properties (introduced by the var keyword) or constant stored properties (introduced by the let keyword).

You can provide a default value for a stored property as part of its definition, as described in Default Property Values. You can also set and modify the initial value for a stored property during initialization. This is true even for constant stored properties, as described in Assigning Constant Properties During Initialization.

The example below defines a structure called FixedLengthRange, which describes a range of integers whose range length cannot be changed after it is created:

  1. struct FixedLengthRange {
  2. var firstValue: Int
  3. let length: Int
  4. }
  5. var rangeOfThreeItems = FixedLengthRange(firstValue: 0, length: 3)
  6. // the range represents integer values 0, 1, and 2
  7. rangeOfThreeItems.firstValue = 6
  8. // the range now represents integer values 6, 7, and 8

Instances of FixedLengthRange have a variable stored property called firstValue and a constant stored property called length. In the example above, length is initialized when the new range is created and cannot be changed thereafter, because it is a constant property.

Stored Properties of Constant Structure Instances

If you create an instance of a structure and assign that instance to a constant, you cannot modify the instance’s properties, even if they were declared as variable properties:

  1. let rangeOfFourItems = FixedLengthRange(firstValue: 0, length: 4)
  2. // this range represents integer values 0, 1, 2, and 3
  3. rangeOfFourItems.firstValue = 6
  4. // this will report an error, even though firstValue is a variable property

Because rangeOfFourItems is declared as a constant (with the let keyword), it is not possible to change its firstValue property, even though firstValue is a variable property.

This behavior is due to structures being value types. When an instance of a value type is marked as a constant, so are all of its properties.

The same is not true for classes, which are reference types. If you assign an instance of a reference type to a constant, you can still change that instance’s variable properties.

Lazy Stored Properties

A lazy stored property is a property whose initial value is not calculated until the first time it is used. You indicate a lazy stored property by writing the lazy modifier before its declaration.

Note

You must always declare a lazy property as a variable (with the var keyword), because its initial value might not be retrieved until after instance initialization completes. Constant properties must always have a value before initialization completes, and therefore cannot be declared as lazy.

Lazy properties are useful when the initial value for a property is dependent on outside factors whose values are not known until after an instance’s initialization is complete. Lazy properties are also useful when the initial value for a property requires complex or computationally expensive setup that should not be performed unless or until it is needed.

The example below uses a lazy stored property to avoid unnecessary initialization of a complex class. This example defines two classes called DataImporter and DataManager, neither of which is shown in full:

  1. class DataImporter {
  2. /*
  3. DataImporter is a class to import data from an external file.
  4. The class is assumed to take a nontrivial amount of time to initialize.
  5. */
  6. var filename = "data.txt"
  7. // the DataImporter class would provide data importing functionality here
  8. }
  9. class DataManager {
  10. lazy var importer = DataImporter()
  11. var data = [String]()
  12. // the DataManager class would provide data management functionality here
  13. }
  14. let manager = DataManager()
  15. manager.data.append("Some data")
  16. manager.data.append("Some more data")
  17. // the DataImporter instance for the importer property has not yet been created

The DataManager class has a stored property called data, which is initialized with a new, empty array of String values. Although the rest of its functionality is not shown, the purpose of this DataManager class is to manage and provide access to this array of String data.

Part of the functionality of the DataManager class is the ability to import data from a file. This functionality is provided by the DataImporter class, which is assumed to take a nontrivial amount of time to initialize. This might be because a DataImporter instance needs to open a file and read its contents into memory when the DataImporter instance is initialized.

It is possible for a DataManager instance to manage its data without ever importing data from a file, so there is no need to create a new DataImporter instance when the DataManager itself is created. Instead, it makes more sense to create the DataImporter instance if and when it is first used.

Because it is marked with the lazy modifier, the DataImporter instance for the importer property is only created when the importer property is first accessed, such as when its filename property is queried:

  1. print(manager.importer.filename)
  2. // the DataImporter instance for the importer property has now been created
  3. // Prints "data.txt"

Note

If a property marked with the lazy modifier is accessed by multiple threads simultaneously and the property has not yet been initialized, there’s no guarantee that the property will be initialized only once.

Stored Properties and Instance Variables

If you have experience with Objective-C, you may know that it provides two ways to store values and references as part of a class instance. In addition to properties, you can use instance variables as a backing store for the values stored in a property.

Swift unifies these concepts into a single property declaration. A Swift property does not have a corresponding instance variable, and the backing store for a property is not accessed directly. This approach avoids confusion about how the value is accessed in different contexts and simplifies the property’s declaration into a single, definitive statement. All information about the property—including its name, type, and memory management characteristics—is defined in a single location as part of the type’s definition.

Computed Properties

In addition to stored properties, classes, structures, and enumerations can define computed properties, which do not actually store a value. Instead, they provide a getter and an optional setter to retrieve and set other properties and values indirectly.

  1. struct Point {
  2. var x = 0.0, y = 0.0
  3. }
  4. struct Size {
  5. var width = 0.0, height = 0.0
  6. }
  7. struct Rect {
  8. var origin = Point()
  9. var size = Size()
  10. var center: Point {
  11. get {
  12. let centerX = origin.x + (size.width / 2)
  13. let centerY = origin.y + (size.height / 2)
  14. return Point(x: centerX, y: centerY)
  15. }
  16. set(newCenter) {
  17. origin.x = newCenter.x - (size.width / 2)
  18. origin.y = newCenter.y - (size.height / 2)
  19. }
  20. }
  21. }
  22. var square = Rect(origin: Point(x: 0.0, y: 0.0),
  23. size: Size(width: 10.0, height: 10.0))
  24. let initialSquareCenter = square.center
  25. square.center = Point(x: 15.0, y: 15.0)
  26. print("square.origin is now at (\(square.origin.x), \(square.origin.y))")
  27. // Prints "square.origin is now at (10.0, 10.0)"

This example defines three structures for working with geometric shapes:

  • Point encapsulates the x- and y-coordinate of a point.
  • Size encapsulates a width and a height.
  • Rect defines a rectangle by an origin point and a size.

The Rect structure also provides a computed property called center. The current center position of a Rect can always be determined from its origin and size, and so you don’t need to store the center point as an explicit Point value. Instead, Rect defines a custom getter and setter for a computed variable called center, to enable you to work with the rectangle’s center as if it were a real stored property.

The example above creates a new Rect variable called square. The square variable is initialized with an origin point of (0, 0), and a width and height of 10. This square is represented by the blue square in the diagram below.

The square variable’s center property is then accessed through dot syntax (square.center), which causes the getter for center to be called, to retrieve the current property value. Rather than returning an existing value, the getter actually calculates and returns a new Point to represent the center of the square. As can be seen above, the getter correctly returns a center point of (5, 5).

The center property is then set to a new value of (15, 15), which moves the square up and to the right, to the new position shown by the orange square in the diagram below. Setting the center property calls the setter for center, which modifies the x and y values of the stored origin property, and moves the square to its new position.

../_images/computedProperties_2x.png

Shorthand Setter Declaration

If a computed property’s setter doesn’t define a name for the new value to be set, a default name of newValue is used. Here’s an alternative version of the Rect structure that takes advantage of this shorthand notation:

  1. struct AlternativeRect {
  2. var origin = Point()
  3. var size = Size()
  4. var center: Point {
  5. get {
  6. let centerX = origin.x + (size.width / 2)
  7. let centerY = origin.y + (size.height / 2)
  8. return Point(x: centerX, y: centerY)
  9. }
  10. set {
  11. origin.x = newValue.x - (size.width / 2)
  12. origin.y = newValue.y - (size.height / 2)
  13. }
  14. }
  15. }

Shorthand Getter Declaration

If the entire body of a getter is a single expression, the getter implicitly returns that expression. Here’s an another version of the Rect structure that takes advantage of this shorthand notation and the shorthand notation for setters:

  1. struct CompactRect {
  2. var origin = Point()
  3. var size = Size()
  4. var center: Point {
  5. get {
  6. Point(x: origin.x + (size.width / 2),
  7. y: origin.y + (size.height / 2))
  8. }
  9. set {
  10. origin.x = newValue.x - (size.width / 2)
  11. origin.y = newValue.y - (size.height / 2)
  12. }
  13. }
  14. }

Omitting the return from a getter follows the same rules as omitting return from a function, as described in Functions With an Implicit Return.

Read-Only Computed Properties

A computed property with a getter but no setter is known as a read-only computed property. A read-only computed property always returns a value, and can be accessed through dot syntax, but cannot be set to a different value.

Note

You must declare computed properties—including read-only computed properties—as variable properties with the var keyword, because their value is not fixed. The let keyword is only used for constant properties, to indicate that their values cannot be changed once they are set as part of instance initialization.

You can simplify the declaration of a read-only computed property by removing the get keyword and its braces:

  1. struct Cuboid {
  2. var width = 0.0, height = 0.0, depth = 0.0
  3. var volume: Double {
  4. return width * height * depth
  5. }
  6. }
  7. let fourByFiveByTwo = Cuboid(width: 4.0, height: 5.0, depth: 2.0)
  8. print("the volume of fourByFiveByTwo is \(fourByFiveByTwo.volume)")
  9. // Prints "the volume of fourByFiveByTwo is 40.0"

This example defines a new structure called Cuboid, which represents a 3D rectangular box with width, height, and depth properties. This structure also has a read-only computed property called volume, which calculates and returns the current volume of the cuboid. It doesn’t make sense for volume to be settable, because it would be ambiguous as to which values of width, height, and depth should be used for a particular volume value. Nonetheless, it is useful for a Cuboid to provide a read-only computed property to enable external users to discover its current calculated volume.

Property Observers

Property observers observe and respond to changes in a property’s value. Property observers are called every time a property’s value is set, even if the new value is the same as the property’s current value.

You can add property observers in the following places:

  • Stored properties that you define
  • Stored properties that you inherit
  • Computed properties that you inherit

For an inherited property, you add a property observer by overriding that property in a subclass. For a computed property that you define, use the property’s setter to observe and respond to value changes, instead of trying to create an observer. Overriding properties is described in Overriding.

You have the option to define either or both of these observers on a property:

  • willSet is called just before the value is stored.
  • didSet is called immediately after the new value is stored.

If you implement a willSet observer, it’s passed the new property value as a constant parameter. You can specify a name for this parameter as part of your willSet implementation. If you don’t write the parameter name and parentheses within your implementation, the parameter is made available with a default parameter name of newValue.

Similarly, if you implement a didSet observer, it’s passed a constant parameter containing the old property value. You can name the parameter or use the default parameter name of oldValue. If you assign a value to a property within its own didSet observer, the new value that you assign replaces the one that was just set.

Note

The willSet and didSet observers of superclass properties are called when a property is set in a subclass initializer, after the superclass initializer has been called. They are not called while a class is setting its own properties, before the superclass initializer has been called.

For more information about initializer delegation, see Initializer Delegation for Value Types and Initializer Delegation for Class Types.

Here’s an example of willSet and didSet in action. The example below defines a new class called StepCounter, which tracks the total number of steps that a person takes while walking. This class might be used with input data from a pedometer or other step counter to keep track of a person’s exercise during their daily routine.

  1. class StepCounter {
  2. var totalSteps: Int = 0 {
  3. willSet(newTotalSteps) {
  4. print("About to set totalSteps to \(newTotalSteps)")
  5. }
  6. didSet {
  7. if totalSteps > oldValue {
  8. print("Added \(totalSteps - oldValue) steps")
  9. }
  10. }
  11. }
  12. }
  13. let stepCounter = StepCounter()
  14. stepCounter.totalSteps = 200
  15. // About to set totalSteps to 200
  16. // Added 200 steps
  17. stepCounter.totalSteps = 360
  18. // About to set totalSteps to 360
  19. // Added 160 steps
  20. stepCounter.totalSteps = 896
  21. // About to set totalSteps to 896
  22. // Added 536 steps

The StepCounter class declares a totalSteps property of type Int. This is a stored property with willSet and didSet observers.

The willSet and didSet observers for totalSteps are called whenever the property is assigned a new value. This is true even if the new value is the same as the current value.

This example’s willSet observer uses a custom parameter name of newTotalSteps for the upcoming new value. In this example, it simply prints out the value that is about to be set.

The didSet observer is called after the value of totalSteps is updated. It compares the new value of totalSteps against the old value. If the total number of steps has increased, a message is printed to indicate how many new steps have been taken. The didSet observer does not provide a custom parameter name for the old value, and the default name of oldValue is used instead.

Note

If you pass a property that has observers to a function as an in-out parameter, the willSet and didSet observers are always called. This is because of the copy-in copy-out memory model for in-out parameters: The value is always written back to the property at the end of the function. For a detailed discussion of the behavior of in-out parameters, see In-Out Parameters.

Property Wrappers

A property wrapper adds a layer of separation between code that manages how a property is stored and the code that defines a property. For example, if you have properties that provide thread-safety checks or store their underlying data in a database, you have to write that code on every property. When you use a property wrapper, you write the management code once when you define the wrapper, and then reuse that management code by applying it to multiple properties.

To define a property wrapper, you make a structure, enumeration, or class that defines a wrappedValue property. In the code below, the TwelveOrLess structure ensures that the value it wraps always contains a number less than or equal to 12. If you ask it to store a larger number, it stores 12 instead.

  1. @propertyWrapper
  2. struct TwelveOrLess {
  3. private var number: Int
  4. init() { self.number = 0 }
  5. var wrappedValue: Int {
  6. get { return number }
  7. set { number = min(newValue, 12) }
  8. }
  9. }

The setter ensures that new values are less than 12, and the getter returns the stored value.

Note

The declaration for number in the example above marks the variable as private, which ensures number is used only in the implementation of TwelveOrLess. Code that’s written anywhere else accesses the value using the getter and setter for wrappedValue, and can’t use number directly. For information about private, see Access Control.

You apply a wrapper to a property by writing the wrapper’s name before the property as an attribute. Here’s a structure that stores a small rectangle, using the same (rather arbitrary) definition of “small” that’s implemented by the TwelveOrLess property wrapper:

  1. struct SmallRectangle {
  2. @TwelveOrLess var height: Int
  3. @TwelveOrLess var width: Int
  4. }
  5. var rectangle = SmallRectangle()
  6. print(rectangle.height)
  7. // Prints "0"
  8. rectangle.height = 10
  9. print(rectangle.height)
  10. // Prints "10"
  11. rectangle.height = 24
  12. print(rectangle.height)
  13. // Prints "12"

The height and width properties get their initial values from the definition of TwelveOrLess, which sets TwelveOrLess.number to zero. Storing the number 10 into rectangle.height succeeds because it’s a small number. Trying to store 24 actually stores a value of 12 instead, because 24 is too large for the property setter’s rule.

When you apply a wrapper to a property, the compiler synthesizes code that provides storage for the wrapper and code that provides access to the property through the wrapper. (The property wrapper is responsible for storing the wrapped value, so there’s no synthesized code for that.) You could write code that uses the behavior of a property wrapper, without taking advantage of the special attribute syntax. For example, here’s a version of SmallRectangle from the previous code listing that wraps its properties in the TwelveOrLess structure explicitly, instead of writing @TwelveOrLess as an attribute:

  1. struct SmallRectangle {
  2. private var _height = TwelveOrLess()
  3. private var _width = TwelveOrLess()
  4. var height: Int {
  5. get { return _height.wrappedValue }
  6. set { _height.wrappedValue = newValue }
  7. }
  8. var width: Int {
  9. get { return _width.wrappedValue }
  10. set { _width.wrappedValue = newValue }
  11. }
  12. }

The _height and _width properties store an instance of the property wrapper, TwelveOrLess. The getter and setter for height and width wrap access to the wrappedValue property.

Setting Initial Values for Wrapped Properties

The code in the examples above sets the initial value for the wrapped property by giving number an initial value in the definition of TwelveOrLess. Code that uses this property wrapper, can’t specify a different initial value for a property that’s wrapped by TwelveOrLess—for example, the definition of SmallRectangle can’t give height or width initial values. To support setting an initial value or other customization, the property wrapper needs to add an initializer. Here’s an expanded version of TwelveOrLess called SmallNumber that defines initializers that set the wrapped and maximum value:

  1. @propertyWrapper
  2. struct SmallNumber {
  3. private var maximum: Int
  4. private var number: Int
  5. var wrappedValue: Int {
  6. get { return number }
  7. set { number = min(newValue, maximum) }
  8. }
  9. init() {
  10. maximum = 12
  11. number = 0
  12. }
  13. init(wrappedValue: Int) {
  14. maximum = 12
  15. number = min(wrappedValue, maximum)
  16. }
  17. init(wrappedValue: Int, maximum: Int) {
  18. self.maximum = maximum
  19. number = min(wrappedValue, maximum)
  20. }
  21. }

The definition of SmallNumber includes three initializers—init(), init(wrappedValue:), and init(wrappedValue:maximum:)—which the examples below use to set the wrapped value and the maximum value. For information about initialization and initializer syntax, see Initialization.

When you apply a wrapper to a property and you don’t specify an initial value, Swift uses the init() initializer to set up the wrapper. For example:

  1. struct ZeroRectangle {
  2. @SmallNumber var height: Int
  3. @SmallNumber var width: Int
  4. }
  5. var zeroRectangle = ZeroRectangle()
  6. print(zeroRectangle.height, zeroRectangle.width)
  7. // Prints "0 0"

The instances of SmallNumber that wrap height and width are created by calling SmallNumber(). The code inside that initializer sets the initial wrapped value and the initial maximum value, using the default values of zero and 12. The property wrapper still provides all of the initial values, like the earlier example that used TwelveOrLess in SmallRectangle. Unlike that example, SmallNumber also supports writing those initial values as part of declaring the property.

When you specify an initial value for the property, Swift uses the init(wrappedValue:) initializer to set up the wrapper. For example:

  1. struct UnitRectangle {
  2. @SmallNumber var height: Int = 1
  3. @SmallNumber var width: Int = 1
  4. }
  5. var unitRectangle = UnitRectangle()
  6. print(unitRectangle.height, unitRectangle.width)
  7. // Prints "1 1"

When you write = 1 on a property with a wrapper, that’s translated into a call to the init(wrappedValue:) initializer. The instances of SmallNumber that wrap height and width are created by calling SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 1). The initializer uses the wrapped value that’s specified here, and it uses the default maximum value of 12.

When you write arguments in parentheses after the custom attribute, Swift uses the initializer that accepts those arguments to set up the wrapper. For example, if you provide an initial value and a maximum value, Swift uses the init(wrappedValue:maximum:) initializer:

  1. struct NarrowRectangle {
  2. @SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 2, maximum: 5) var height: Int
  3. @SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 3, maximum: 4) var width: Int
  4. }
  5. var narrowRectangle = NarrowRectangle()
  6. print(narrowRectangle.height, narrowRectangle.width)
  7. // Prints "2 3"
  8. narrowRectangle.height = 100
  9. narrowRectangle.width = 100
  10. print(narrowRectangle.height, narrowRectangle.width)
  11. // Prints "5 4"

The instance of SmallNumber that wraps height is created by calling SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 2, maximum: 5), and the instance that wraps width is created by calling SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 3, maximum: 4).

By including arguments to the property wrapper, you can set up the initial state in the wrapper or pass other options to the wrapper when it’s created. This syntax is the most general way to use a property wrapper. You can provide whatever arguments you need to the attribute, and they’re passed to the initializer.

When you include property wrapper arguments, you can also specify an initial value using assignment. Swift treats the assignment like a wrappedValue argument and uses the initializer that accepts the arguments you include. For example:

  1. struct MixedRectangle {
  2. @SmallNumber var height: Int = 1
  3. @SmallNumber(maximum: 9) var width: Int = 2
  4. }
  5. var mixedRectangle = MixedRectangle()
  6. print(mixedRectangle.height)
  7. // Prints "1"
  8. mixedRectangle.height = 20
  9. print(mixedRectangle.height)
  10. // Prints "12"

The instance of SmallNumber that wraps height is created by calling SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 1), which uses the default maximum value of 12. The instance that wraps width is created by calling SmallNumber(wrappedValue: 2, maximum: 9).

Projecting a Value From a Property Wrapper

In addition to the wrapped value, a property wrapper can expose additional functionality by defining a projected value—for example, a property wrapper that manages access to a database can expose a flushDatabaseConnection() method on its projected value. The name of the projected value is the same as the wrapped value, except it begins with a dollar sign ($). Because your code can’t define properties that start with $ the projected value never interferes with properties you define.

In the SmallNumber example above, if you try to set the property to a number that’s too large, the property wrapper adjusts the number before storing it. The code below adds a projectedValue property to the SmallNumber structure to keep track of whether the property wrapper adjusted the new value for the property before storing that new value.

  1. @propertyWrapper
  2. struct SmallNumber {
  3. private var number: Int
  4. var projectedValue: Bool
  5. init() {
  6. self.number = 0
  7. self.projectedValue = false
  8. }
  9. var wrappedValue: Int {
  10. get { return number }
  11. set {
  12. if newValue > 12 {
  13. number = 12
  14. projectedValue = true
  15. } else {
  16. number = newValue
  17. projectedValue = false
  18. }
  19. }
  20. }
  21. }
  22. struct SomeStructure {
  23. @SmallNumber var someNumber: Int
  24. }
  25. var someStructure = SomeStructure()
  26. someStructure.someNumber = 4
  27. print(someStructure.$someNumber)
  28. // Prints "false"
  29. someStructure.someNumber = 55
  30. print(someStructure.$someNumber)
  31. // Prints "true"

Writing someStructure.$someNumber accesses the wrapper’s projected value. After storing a small number like four, the value of someStructure.$someNumber is false. However, the projected value is true after trying to store a number that’s too large, like 55.

A property wrapper can return a value of any type as its projected value. In this example, the property wrapper exposes only one piece of information—whether the number was adjusted—so it exposes that Boolean value as its projected value. A wrapper that needs to expose more information can return an instance of some other data type, or it can return self to expose the instance of the wrapper as its projected value.

When you access a projected value from code that’s part of the type, like a property getter or an instance method, you can omit self. before the property name, just like accessing other properties. The code in the following example refers to the projected value of the wrapper around height and width as $height and $width:

  1. enum Size {
  2. case small, large
  3. }
  4. struct SizedRectangle {
  5. @SmallNumber var height: Int
  6. @SmallNumber var width: Int
  7. mutating func resize(to size: Size) -> Bool {
  8. switch size {
  9. case .small:
  10. height = 10
  11. width = 20
  12. case .large:
  13. height = 100
  14. width = 100
  15. }
  16. return $height || $width
  17. }
  18. }

Because property wrapper syntax is just syntactic sugar for a property with a getter and a setter, accessing height and width behaves the same as accessing any other property. For example, the code in resize(to:) accesses height and width using their property wrapper. If you call resize(to: .large), the switch case for .large sets the rectangle’s height and width to 100. The wrapper prevents the value of those properties from being larger than 12, and it sets the projected value to true, to record the fact that it adjusted their values. At the end of resize(to:), the return statement checks $height and $width to determine whether the property wrapper adjusted either height or width.

Global and Local Variables

The capabilities described above for computing and observing properties are also available to global variables and local variables. Global variables are variables that are defined outside of any function, method, closure, or type context. Local variables are variables that are defined within a function, method, or closure context.

The global and local variables you have encountered in previous chapters have all been stored variables. Stored variables, like stored properties, provide storage for a value of a certain type and allow that value to be set and retrieved.

However, you can also define computed variables and define observers for stored variables, in either a global or local scope. Computed variables calculate their value, rather than storing it, and they are written in the same way as computed properties.

Note

Global constants and variables are always computed lazily, in a similar manner to Lazy Stored Properties. Unlike lazy stored properties, global constants and variables do not need to be marked with the lazy modifier.

Local constants and variables are never computed lazily.

Type Properties

Instance properties are properties that belong to an instance of a particular type. Every time you create a new instance of that type, it has its own set of property values, separate from any other instance.

You can also define properties that belong to the type itself, not to any one instance of that type. There will only ever be one copy of these properties, no matter how many instances of that type you create. These kinds of properties are called type properties.

Type properties are useful for defining values that are universal to all instances of a particular type, such as a constant property that all instances can use (like a static constant in C), or a variable property that stores a value that is global to all instances of that type (like a static variable in C).

Stored type properties can be variables or constants. Computed type properties are always declared as variable properties, in the same way as computed instance properties.

Note

Unlike stored instance properties, you must always give stored type properties a default value. This is because the type itself does not have an initializer that can assign a value to a stored type property at initialization time.

Stored type properties are lazily initialized on their first access. They are guaranteed to be initialized only once, even when accessed by multiple threads simultaneously, and they do not need to be marked with the lazy modifier.

Type Property Syntax

In C and Objective-C, you define static constants and variables associated with a type as global static variables. In Swift, however, type properties are written as part of the type’s definition, within the type’s outer curly braces, and each type property is explicitly scoped to the type it supports.

You define type properties with the static keyword. For computed type properties for class types, you can use the class keyword instead to allow subclasses to override the superclass’s implementation. The example below shows the syntax for stored and computed type properties:

  1. struct SomeStructure {
  2. static var storedTypeProperty = "Some value."
  3. static var computedTypeProperty: Int {
  4. return 1
  5. }
  6. }
  7. enum SomeEnumeration {
  8. static var storedTypeProperty = "Some value."
  9. static var computedTypeProperty: Int {
  10. return 6
  11. }
  12. }
  13. class SomeClass {
  14. static var storedTypeProperty = "Some value."
  15. static var computedTypeProperty: Int {
  16. return 27
  17. }
  18. class var overrideableComputedTypeProperty: Int {
  19. return 107
  20. }
  21. }

Note

The computed type property examples above are for read-only computed type properties, but you can also define read-write computed type properties with the same syntax as for computed instance properties.

Querying and Setting Type Properties

Type properties are queried and set with dot syntax, just like instance properties. However, type properties are queried and set on the type, not on an instance of that type. For example:

  1. print(SomeStructure.storedTypeProperty)
  2. // Prints "Some value."
  3. SomeStructure.storedTypeProperty = "Another value."
  4. print(SomeStructure.storedTypeProperty)
  5. // Prints "Another value."
  6. print(SomeEnumeration.computedTypeProperty)
  7. // Prints "6"
  8. print(SomeClass.computedTypeProperty)
  9. // Prints "27"

The examples that follow use two stored type properties as part of a structure that models an audio level meter for a number of audio channels. Each channel has an integer audio level between 0 and 10 inclusive.

The figure below illustrates how two of these audio channels can be combined to model a stereo audio level meter. When a channel’s audio level is 0, none of the lights for that channel are lit. When the audio level is 10, all of the lights for that channel are lit. In this figure, the left channel has a current level of 9, and the right channel has a current level of 7:

../_images/staticPropertiesVUMeter_2x.png

The audio channels described above are represented by instances of the AudioChannel structure:

  1. struct AudioChannel {
  2. static let thresholdLevel = 10
  3. static var maxInputLevelForAllChannels = 0
  4. var currentLevel: Int = 0 {
  5. didSet {
  6. if currentLevel > AudioChannel.thresholdLevel {
  7. // cap the new audio level to the threshold level
  8. currentLevel = AudioChannel.thresholdLevel
  9. }
  10. if currentLevel > AudioChannel.maxInputLevelForAllChannels {
  11. // store this as the new overall maximum input level
  12. AudioChannel.maxInputLevelForAllChannels = currentLevel
  13. }
  14. }
  15. }
  16. }

The AudioChannel structure defines two stored type properties to support its functionality. The first, thresholdLevel, defines the maximum threshold value an audio level can take. This is a constant value of 10 for all AudioChannel instances. If an audio signal comes in with a higher value than 10, it will be capped to this threshold value (as described below).

The second type property is a variable stored property called maxInputLevelForAllChannels. This keeps track of the maximum input value that has been received by any AudioChannel instance. It starts with an initial value of 0.

The AudioChannel structure also defines a stored instance property called currentLevel, which represents the channel’s current audio level on a scale of 0 to 10.

The currentLevel property has a didSet property observer to check the value of currentLevel whenever it is set. This observer performs two checks:

  • If the new value of currentLevel is greater than the allowed thresholdLevel, the property observer caps currentLevel to thresholdLevel.
  • If the new value of currentLevel (after any capping) is higher than any value previously received by any AudioChannel instance, the property observer stores the new currentLevel value in the maxInputLevelForAllChannels type property.

Note

In the first of these two checks, the didSet observer sets currentLevel to a different value. This does not, however, cause the observer to be called again.

You can use the AudioChannel structure to create two new audio channels called leftChannel and rightChannel, to represent the audio levels of a stereo sound system:

  1. var leftChannel = AudioChannel()
  2. var rightChannel = AudioChannel()

If you set the currentLevel of the left channel to 7, you can see that the maxInputLevelForAllChannels type property is updated to equal 7:

  1. leftChannel.currentLevel = 7
  2. print(leftChannel.currentLevel)
  3. // Prints "7"
  4. print(AudioChannel.maxInputLevelForAllChannels)
  5. // Prints "7"

If you try to set the currentLevel of the right channel to 11, you can see that the right channel’s currentLevel property is capped to the maximum value of 10, and the maxInputLevelForAllChannels type property is updated to equal 10:

  1. rightChannel.currentLevel = 11
  2. print(rightChannel.currentLevel)
  3. // Prints "10"
  4. print(AudioChannel.maxInputLevelForAllChannels)
  5. // Prints "10"

Structures and Classes

Methods