What is Rxswift: A Beginner's Guide to Reactive Programming in iOS


  • RxSwift is a powerful and popular library for iOS developers that allows them to use reactive programming techniques in their applications. In this guide, we will take a closer look at what RxSwift is, how it works, and how to use it in your own projects.

RxSwift iOS

What is RxSwift?

  • RxSwift is a Swift-based library that provides a set of tools for working with asynchronous and event-based data streams. It is built on top of the popular Rx library, which is available for other programming languages such as Java, C#, and JavaScript.
  • At its core, RxSwift is based on the concept of observables. An observable is an object that can emit a stream of events over time. These events can be anything from user interactions, network requests, or sensor data.
  • Observables allow developers to create a declarative and functional way of handling these events, which makes it easier to reason about the behavior of their applications.
  • RxSwift also provides a set of operators that can be used to transform, filter, and combine observables. These operators are similar to the ones found in functional programming languages such as Haskell and Lisp.

How Does RxSwift Work?

  • The basic building block of RxSwift is the observable. An observable can be created from any data source, such as a button press, a network request, or a timer. Once an observable is created, it can be transformed, filtered, and combined with other observables using the operators provided by RxSwift.
  • For example, let's say we have an observable that emits a stream of button presses. We can use the filter operator to only emit events when the button is pressed for a certain amount of time, and the map operator to transform the button press events into a different type of event.
  • In addition to the operators, RxSwift also provides a set of schedulers that can be used to control the execution of observables. Schedulers can be used to specify which thread an observable should run on, which is useful for ensuring that the UI is updated correctly.

How to Use RxSwift in Your Own Projects

  • To use RxSwift in your own projects, you will need to add the library to your project. This can be done using the CocoaPods package manager. Once the library is added, you can start using it in your own code.
  • For example, let's say we have a button in our application and we want to subscribe to the button press events. We can create an observable for the button press events and subscribe to them using the subscribe() method.

    let button = UIButton()
    let buttonPressObservable = button.rx.tap.asObservable()

    buttonPressObservable.subscribe(onNext: { event in
        print("Button pressed!")
    }).disposed(by: disposeBag)

  • In this example, the buttonPressObservable is an observable that emits events when the button is tapped. We then use the subscribe() method to subscribe to these events and print a message when the button is pressed.
  • Another example of how we can use RxSwift is by combining observables. Let's say we have two observables, one for a username and one for a password, and we want to enable a login button only when both fields are filled in.
  • We can use the combineLatest operator to combine the two observables and only emit an event when both fields have a value.

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