Notice: Undefined index: understanding-swift in /var/sites/hackingwithswift.com/site/src/Controller/NewBooksReadController.php on line 89
Why does Swift have default values for dictionaries? - a free tutorial

NEW: Subscribe to Hacking with Swift+ and accelerate your learning! >>

Why does Swift have default values for dictionaries?

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Whenever you read a value from a dictionary, you might get a value back or you might get back nil – there might be no value for that key. Having no value can cause problems in your code, not least because you need to add extra functionality to handle missing values safely, and that’s where dictionary default values come in: they let you provide a backup value to use for when the key you ask for doesn’t exist.

For example, here’s a dictionary that stores the exam results for a student:

let results = [
    "english": 100,
    "french": 85,
    "geography": 75
]

As you can see, they sat three exams and scored 100%, 85%, and 75% for English, French, and Geography. If we wanted to read their history score, how we do it depends on what we want:

  1. If a missing value means the student failed to take the test, then we could use a default value of 0 so that we always get an integer back.
  2. If a missing value means the student has yet to take the exam, then we should skip the default value and instead look for a nil value.

So, it’s not like you always need a default value when working with dictionaries, but when you do it’s easy:

let historyResult = results["history", default: 0]
Hacking with Swift is sponsored by Instabug

SPONSORED Are you tired of wasting time debugging your Swift app? Instabug’s SDK is here to help you minimize debugging time by providing you with complete device details, network logs, and reproduction steps with every bug report. All data is attached automatically, and it only takes a line of code to setup. Start your free trial now and get 3 months off exclusively for the Hacking with Swift Community.

Start your free trial!

Sponsor Hacking with Swift and reach the world's largest Swift community!

BUY OUR BOOKS
Buy Pro Swift Buy Swift Design Patterns Buy Testing Swift Buy Hacking with iOS Buy Swift Coding Challenges Buy Swift on Sundays Volume One Buy Server-Side Swift (Vapor Edition) Buy Advanced iOS Volume One Buy Advanced iOS Volume Two Buy Advanced iOS Volume Three Buy Hacking with watchOS Buy Hacking with tvOS Buy Hacking with macOS Buy Dive Into SpriteKit Buy Swift in Sixty Seconds Buy Objective-C for Swift Developers Buy Server-Side Swift (Kitura Edition) Buy Beyond Code

Was this page useful? Let us know!

Link copied to your pasteboard.