Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Swift and C Libraries

Chris Eidhof:

We started with a very simple invocation of qsort and sorted some numbers. Then, we put it into a function and made it work on any array of numbers. The moment we started making it generic, things got really complicated. The blocks were relatively okay, but once we needed to use this qsort_r strategy with the void pointer, things got a bit magical. However, this is a very common pattern in C libraries, and anytime you want to wrap a C library, you can use this technique. You might also think, “Why would I ever want to wrap a C library?” I think that once Swift is open-source, we want to run it on multiple platforms, for example Linux. And on Linux we will probably not have access to all the Apple frameworks that exist on Cocoa and iOS. We will need to wrap frameworks all of a sudden for networking, drawing things, etc. Then, it will be important that you know how to work with C libraries. That’s why I think this can be very useful.

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