Refactoring to Clean Value Transformations in Swift

Daniel Steinberg’s presentation “Ready for the Future: Writing Better Swift” teaches us a lot about readable code. He refactors a calculation into many functions with very specific responsibilities. The resulting functions are super slim.

The result is this:

let lastWeeksRevenues = lastWeeksSales
                        » anArrayOfDailySales
                        » replaceNagiveSalesWithZeroSales
                        » calculateRevenuesFromSales

When you read that code it should be very clear what’s going on. The function names communicate their intent.

Now the implementation:

func anArrayOfDailySales(rawSales: AppSales) -> [Int] {

func replaceNagiveSalesWithZeroSales(sales: [Int]) -> [Int] {

func negativeNumbersToZero(number: Int) -> Int {
    return max(0, number)
func calculateRevenuesFromSales(sales: [Int]) -> [USDollars] {

func revenuesInDollarsForCopiesSold(numberOfCopies: Int) -> USDollars {
    return numberOfCopies
        » revenuesForCopiesSold
        » toTheNearestPenny

let unitPrice = 1.99
let sellersPercentage = 0.70

func revenuesForCopiesSold(numberOfCopies: Int) -> USDollars {
    return Double(numberOfCopies) * unitPrice * sellersPercentage

infix operator » {associativity left}

func »<T, U>(input: T, transform: T -> U) -> U {
    return transform(input)         

Apart from the » operator which merely changes to foo » bar, the functions are very small, easy to read. This reminds me of the result of 3/4 of Sandi Metz’s arbitrary rules for writing Ruby code:

  1. Classes must be shorter than 100 lines
  2. Methods must be shorter than 5 lines
  3. Always pass less than 4 parameters into a method

Of course the result is a lot of functions for a rather simple algorithm. But it works well because it is easy to read in the long term. Even newcomers can grasp what’s going on without knowing much about the language or typical Cocoa-programmer conventions.

Bonus: you can unit test each function to check if the parts of the overall algorithm works as expected.

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