We love open source libraries!
They save us a lot of time and hassle for developing iOS apps. Majority of these libraries support Cocoapods, which means adding them to Xcode projects is a real breeze.
Many times we’ve been asked by developers (and our clients) that how does these open source libraries benefit us?
The answer is simple. Rather than building something from scratch, why not use the available open source libraries to build your iOS app. You can always see how other people do it, and use the same iOS libraries to build your app faster than you could otherwise.
Over the years, we’ve used a lot of different open source libraries which helped us complete milestones successfully in our clients’ projects. These open source libraries helped us in developing one of the most successful apps used by millions of people all over the world.
Glovo, Flickbay, and Bevy are just a few examples of them. We’ve developed each of these successful apps using various open source libraries. It’s how we bring it together and deliver final products here at Space-O.
In this article, we’ve curated a list of useful open source iOS libraries. Embed them in your apps and embrace its benefits, just like we do.
When it’s the matter about networking, this iOS library makes every developer’s life a whole lot easier.
If you’re using an API in your iOS app, this is what you can use (and we recommend). It is one of the most popular open source libraries out there. AFNetworking is a lightweight and fast open source networking library that uses blocks and grand central dispatch (GCD). This basically helps in improving app’s responsiveness, provides easier concurrency model than locks and threads, and also optimizes code with higher performance primitives.
Thanks to its creator Matt Thompson, it is a great example of an open source project should be run. In fact, this iOS library has become quite popular as it has an amazing community of iOS developers who contributes to AFNetworking daily.
When we say networking, we mean whenever you’ve to call certain API to fetch data from server or database, this iOS library makes the entire API call process a whole lot easier.
Github Link – https://github.com/AFNetworking/AFNetworking
Alamofire is AFNetworking’s younger and more of a trendy brother. It is a Swift-based HTTP networking library for iOS and Mac OS X. It provides an elegant interface on top of Apple’s Foundation networking stack, which simplifies many common networking tasks such as providing network communication for a multiplayer game, and also makes uploading, downloading, and getting JSONS a piece of cake.
Alamofire’s elegance comes from the fact that it was written in Swift from ground up and does not inherit anything from its Objective-C brother, AFNetworking. Alamofire offers chainable request/response methods, JSON parameter and response serialization to perform basic networking tasks like uploading files and reducing data from a third-party API.
In simple words, it reduces the effort of developer because developer does not need to directly deal with URLSession. Alamofire uses URLSession internally.
Although, you should have a conceptual understanding of HTTP networking and some exposure to Apple’s networking classes such as URLSession.
But, by using an iOS library like Alamofire, you can greatly reduce boilerplate code in your iOS app. And like already mentioned, Alamofire is an incredibly easy to use and makes everything look a lot cleaner.
Github Link – https://github.com/Alamofire/Alamofire
Most of the time, our iOS devices are connected to the internet and, naturally, most of the apps on our smartphones connect to a remote server to obtain some chunks of data every now and then.
Some of these mobile apps consume only a little bit of data. For example, News app fetching only latest headlines every hour. But other apps like Facebook or Twitter interact with these servers on continuous basis.
All of the mobile applications, nowadays, communicate with these remote servers using JSON.
If you’re developing an iOS app which often requires communication with a remote server, most probably you might already getting JSON responses. This is where JSONModel library comes to help.
JSONModel is an open source library which helps to fetch JSON from server, parse it, and initialize your model classes with JSON response from the server. It also validates the JSON data. Most of the times, JSONModel is used to show response data received from API request in JSON format easily. So, If you’ve a more complex data model in your application, JSONModel is a real time-saver.
Github Link – https://github.com/icanzilb/JSONModel
“Core Data is simple” said Apple. “Nice and simple.“
It doesn’t look like it. A ton of boilerplate code being added for core data to each iOS app isn’t very elegant. Not to mention adding, deleting, and updating all entities, creating various core data stacks for different environments. Point is, it just could have been much better, Apple.
To see how things could go wrong while using Core data and to teach our interns how to handle it, we had assigned them a task. All they had to do is develop an iOS app which involved core data. All of them decided the whole infrastructure in the beginning to make it perfectly organized.
Can you guess what happened? Things started to get out of control and our interns couldn’t follow their pre-defined infrastructure 80 percent of the time.
This is where MagicalRecord library came to rescue. One of our senior iOS developer, having 5+ years of experience, explained them how to use MagicalRecord iOS library.
MagicalRecord is an open source iOS library which makes working with Core Data extremely easier and more elegant. MagicalRecord works like a wrapper for core data and hides all non-relevant stuff from developer.
The point of MagicalRecord is to “clean up” core data code and enable simple one-line fetches of data, while also allowing custom performance optimizations.
How does it do it? Well, it provides convenience methods to wrap boilerplate for core data setup, query, and update. Furthermore, if you’ve ever worked with active record pattern, then MagicalRecord open source library is really recommended for using core data in your iOS app.
Github Link – https://github.com/magicalpanda/MagicalRecord
If you’re an iOS app developer with a design band, this is a library you would really love to relish.
Chameleon is a lightweight, yet powerful, color framework for both Objective-C and Swift. It was developed on an idea that iOS apps should function effortlessly while also maintaining their beautiful interfaces simultaneously.
It basically extends UIColor with beautiful, modern flat colors. It also gives an ability to create color palettes from colors defined by you.
So, if you’ve a beautiful design in mind for your iOS app, then this is a must-use library for you.
Github Link – https://github.com/ViccAlexander/Chameleon
GPUImage, in simple words, is used for image processing. If you’re planning to add camera features in your iOS app, or building a photo video app from scratch, then get this GPUImage library embedded in your iOS app project.
The GPUImage is a third-party framework available for interactive processing with camera, videos, images, processing of images and videos. It basically allows to apply GPU-accelerated filters and effects to images, live camera video, and movies.
In fact, we’ve used this library in most of our photos videos app projects, some of which also got featured on the App Store.
If you’d like to know more about which of our photos videos app got featured on App Store, please check this article.
GPUImage is the best iOS framework to develop photos & video apps because it allows you to write your own custom filters, supports deployment, and has a quite simple user interface.
The original GPUImage framework was written in Objective-C and was targeted for iOS app development, but the latest version is written entirely in Swift, which also targets Linux and other future platforms that supports Swift code.
Github Link – https://github.com/BradLarson/GPUImage
ReactiveCocoa isn’t just another drop-in project like others in this list. It is rather an Objective-C framework inspired by functional programming.
ReactiveCocoa is an Objective-C framework for Functional Reactive programming (FRP), which seeks to provide more concise and flow-based code.
The main reason why ReactiveCocoa known as FRP (Functional Reactive Programming) is because it combines a couple of programming styles.
Besides this, ReactiveCocoa also offers new methods to compose and transform streams of values. It operates by using signals, which captures present and future values. More importantly, the main benefit of ReactiveCocoa is that it provides a way to deal with asynchronous behaviors, callback blocks, notifications and KVO, just by using the signals.
Github Link – https://github.com/ReactiveCocoa/ReactiveCocoa
So, these are the top 7 useful open source libraries to know about. Here, at Space-O Technologies, open source iOS libraries are integral part of iPhone app development because it makes scaling iOS apps extremely easy task.
Now we know that this list is not an exhaustive one, so you can tell us your favourite open source iOS libraries in the comment box below.
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