Creating Traits or Mixins in Swift

Object oriented programming is great, but sometimes things don’t fit neatly into a superclass/subclass hierarchy. You may have a piece of code that would be needed in several contexts, but for technical reasons beyond your control you cannot merge them into a single hierarchy.

Some languages have the concept of multiple inheritence, where a subclass can specifically inherit from several parents. But this has it’s own set of problems. Many other languages, however, solve this through the use of traits or mixins. These allow us to have a set of methods that are basically copied into the object at compile time. This way they can be used anywhere they are needed.

Swift doesn’t have the concept of mixins or traits per se. But, starting with Swift 3, you can get very equivalent functionality using protocol default implementations.

Debugging the Responder Chain in Swift

Somewhat related to my previous post about responder chains, sometimes it is useful to be able to debug what all is in the responder chain at any given time. As a good rule of thumb, all ancestor views of a view are in that view’s responder chain, as well as (usually) the related controllers.

The Responder Chain: Bubbling Events using NSResponder and UIResponder in Swift

The responder chain is one of those parts of macOS and iOS development that may seem a little strange if you have not done any GUI programming before. Briefly, a responder chain is a hierarichy of objects that can respond to events. So, for example, a click or a tap might be passed up the responder chain until something responds to the action.

But, the responder chain is more than just UI events. We can pass our own custom events up the responder chain as well!

Sequential Chained Requests with Siesta and Swift

Siesta is a framework for Swift that dramatically simplifies working with RESTful APIs. And like many things in Swift, it is natively built around asynchronous execution. It may fire any number of requests back, and they may complete in any order that is undefined.

But sometimes, you need to execute things in a specific order. Like when the result of one call will change subsequent calls. A classic example of this is an API where you might need to create a folder first, then upload files into the folder you created. So the folder creation needs to happen first, then the file uploads can happen after.

Recursive Queries with MySQL

Discovered something neat with the new version of MySQL and thought it warranted a mention. Storing tree structures in a relational database is a common use case across many different areas of tech. The problem comes when you need to construct a query based on a subset of that tree.

But MySQL 8 has some nice new features that makes doing this a breeze.

Renaming Grunt NPM Tasks

For the last few years, Gulp has been my go-to task runner for Node projects and, generally, anywhere where I need to build things or run tasks. But the recent release of Gulp 4 broke all of my config files and left me with hours of frustrating rewrites, I decided to see what else might be out there. And, naturally, I landed on Grunt.

One thing I liked about Gulp (prior to 4.0) was it’s much looser structure that allowed a lot of freedom in how you structured your file. Grunt seems to be much more structured and opinionated. And sometimes, I don’t like those opinions.

A prime example of this is grunt-contrib-watch. When I type grunt watch, I want to run a series of setup tasks first before firing the watcher up. But grunt-contrib-watch squats on the prime real estate that is the watch command.

But I wanted to use that command. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to just say “run these arbitrary tasks before starting the watcher.” At least not one that I could find clearly documented. Sure, I could just make my own mywatch or similar command, but I’m picky. I want my command, so we need a way to rename it.

Monitoring for Filesystem Changes using PHP and Laravel

Let’s say you have a Laravel application that does some data processing, and you want to monitor a directory for incoming changes, that you can then process using queued jobs. There are a couple of ways you could do something like this.

You could scan those directories on a schedule using a cronjob. It’s doable. But what happens if you want to monitor a few thousand directories for changes? You can use tools like incron. Also doable, but another dependency.

But what if I told you you could do it all with PHP. And within Laravel, no less?

The 2018 MacBook Pro Sucks

I’ve been an Apple fan for a long time. My first laptop was a Powerbook 5300cs, purchased secondhand at the Auburn University Surplus Auction. I’ve been using Apple equipment exclusively since 2007. My desktops and laptops are all Apple, I use AppleTVs exclusively for streaming, I carry iPhones and iPads. If it has a shiny Apple logo on it, I’ve probably bought one. So it pains me to write this post, but…

The 2018 MacBook Pro sucks. There. I said it.

petfeedd 0.2 released, with Docker support!

petfeedd, the daemon I wrote for my Raspberry Pi-powered cat feeders has been updated to fix a number of bugs people were seeing attempting to install it since I originally wrote it in 2017.

Perhaps the biggest change is Docker support! That’s right, if you just want to run petfeedd, now you can do it in just three commands! No more installing various libraries and things (but that approach still works as well.)

New Open Source Code

Launched two new pieces of open source code in the last couple of months.


PlayerControls is a macOS Cocoa framework that creates a View containing playback controls for media like videos or sounds. It is written in pure Swift 4 and has no dependencies.


SearchParser is a parser that converts a freeform query into an intermediate object, that can then be converted to query many backends (SQL, ElasticSearch, etc). It includes translators for SQL (using PDO) and Laravel Eloquent ORM. It supports a faceted language search as commonly found on many sites across the web. It is written in modern PHP.

Both are licensed under the MIT license. Go check them out on Github.