Latest 0.0.3
License MIT
Platforms ios 8.0
Dependencies SwiftyJSON, Curry

CI Status

A library for building JSON decoders using the pipeline (|>) operator and plain function calls. Inspired by


As a newcomer to Swift I wasn’t entirely convinced by the JSON decoding libraries out there. After trying Elm, I was hoping something
simple and mostly functional would be available.

Argo got my attention. While it looked really close to what I wanted, it forces you to implement a decode method in your types.
This allows Argo to automatically decode any type that implements the Decodable protocol.
But, this approach isn’t flexible. It ties one (and only one) decoder to a specific type, forever. What if
we want to decode the responses of different APIs into the same type? What if some endpoint doesn’t return the data in the exact same way?
Sounds familiar? Besides, Argo uses many different infix operators (<^>, <*>, <|, <||) that make the decoder definitions hard to
understand and reason about.

My take is that decoders should be pure functions that live independently from types. They accept some data (JSON, for now) and produce either an error
or an instance of some type. Decoders should be easy to compose and reuse, and all it should be needed for that is one simple infix operator:
the pipeline (|>). This approach is really well implemented in elm-decode-pipeline, an Elm library, producing simple, readable and
reusable decoders.

SwiftDecodePipeline tries to bring the spirit of elm-decode-pipeline into Swift.


Let’s say that we have this type:

struct User {
    let name: String
    let surname: String
    let image: String?
    let score: Int
    let sports: [String]
    let role: String

And we want to decode the data returned by some API endpoint /users that looks like this:

        "uuid": "...",
        "name": "John",
        "last_name": "Doe",
        "image": null,
        "sports": ["basketball", "tennis"],
        "score": 5

Then, we can write a Decoder<User> for that endpoint easily:

let decodeUser: Decoder<User> =
        |> required("name", string)
        |> required("last_name", string)
        |> optional("image", string)
        |> required("score", int)
        |> required("sports", array(string))
        |> hardcoded("athlete")

Now we can decode the response:

let data: String!

// We make a request to /users and obtain the JSON here...

let result = decodeJSON(data, with: array(decodeUser))

switch result {
case .error(let error): print("Invalid format: (error)") // error describes the decoding error
case .ok(let users): doSomething(with: users) // users has type [User] :D

In the example above, data is a String. However, the decode function supports different types for the first parameter to suit your needs.
The next section describes the different data types that can be decoded using this library.

Notice how easy it is to transform and reuse decoders. In this case, our decodeUser is able to decode a single user, but we want to decode a list of users.
Thus, we end up using array(decodeUser) to transform our Decoder<User> into a Decoder<[User]>. A Decoder<Type> returns either .error(String)
when the format is invalid, or .ok(Type) when the input was decoded sucessfully.

 Available functions

 decodeJSON(json, with: decoder)

It allows to use decoders for JSON decoding in a convenient way. Right now, there are 3 different decodeJSON definitions. Each one of them accepts
JSON in a different form: Data, String and Any.

The Any definition is there to support Alamofire response data.


Primitives are decoders by themselves. They decode JSON values into Swift values.

let string: Decoder<String> 
let bool:   Decoder<Bool>
let int:    Decoder<Int>
let double: Decoder<Double>


A modifier is a function that may take some configuration parameters and returns a function that can take a decoder and return a brand new decoder
with some additional behaviour.

In this section, the syntax <modifier>(<configParams>) is used to describe the different modifiers.

required(String, Decoder<A>) and optional(String, Decoder<A>)

required extracts a field from a JSON object and decodes its value into an A, failing if the field does not exist or it is null.
optional does the same while allowing the field to be missing or null, thus decoding into an A?.

struct User {
    let name: String
    let image: String?

let decodeUser: Decoder<User> =
        |> required("name", string)
        |> optional("image", string)


It decodes a JSON array.

struct Post {
    // ...
    let authors: [User]
    // ...

let decodePost: Decoder<Post> =
        |> required("authors", decodeUser |> array)
        // We could use array(decodeUser), they are equivalent
        // ...


It always returns the provided value, independently of the JSON data. It is useful to hardcode data in the decoding pipeline.

let decodeMockedUser: Decoder<User> =
        |> hardcoded("some-id")
        |> hardcoded("John")
        |> hardcoded("Doe")
        // ...

map((A) -> B)

It transforms a decoded value from A to B.

let decodeLowercasedString: Decoder<String> = string |> map { $0.lowercased }

 Library support


This library can be used with Alamofire easily:

Alamofire.request("").validate().responseJSON { response in
    switch response.result {
    case .success(let data):
        // We want to decode a list of users, so we use array
        let decodingResult = decodeJSON(data, with: array(decodeUser))

        switch decodingResult {
        case .error(let error): print("Invalid format: (error)") // error describes the decoding error
        case .ok(let users): doSomething(with: users) // users has type [User]
    // Handle request error here...


This library uses SwiftyJSON internally. You should be able to decode JSON types using decoders

let json: JSON!
let result = decodeUser(json)


SwiftDecodePipeline is available through CocoaPods. To install
it, simply add the following line to your Podfile:

pod 'SwiftDecodePipeline'


Héctor Ramón Jiménez


SwiftDecodePipeline is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.


  1. Fork the repository.
  2. Make your changes, tests will be appreciated.
  3. Open a Pull Request in this repository.

Special mentions (and thanks)

  • SwiftyJSON, as it is really easy to use and this library uses it internally.
  • Curry, another cool library that is used behind the scenes.
  • Argo
  • Elm

Latest podspec

    "name": "SwiftDecodePipeline",
    "version": "0.0.3",
    "summary": "A library for building JSON decoders using the pipeline (|>) operator and plain function calls.",
    "description": "A library for building JSON decoders using the pipeline (|>) operator and plain function calls. Inspired by elm-decode-pipeline.",
    "homepage": "",
    "license": {
        "type": "MIT",
        "file": "LICENSE"
    "authors": {
        "Hu00e9ctor Ramu00f3n Jimu00e9nez": "[email protected]"
    "source": {
        "git": "",
        "tag": "0.0.3"
    "social_media_url": "",
    "platforms": {
        "ios": "8.0"
    "source_files": "SwiftDecodePipeline/**/*",
    "dependencies": {
        "SwiftyJSON": [
            "~> 3.0"
        "Curry": [
            "~> 3.0"
    "pushed_with_swift_version": "3.0"

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