NEW: Nominations are now open for the 2019 Swift Community Awards! >>

Basic Swift debugging using print()

We're going to start with the absolute easiest debugging technique, which is the print() function. This prints a message into the Xcode debug console that can say anything you want, because users won't see it in the UI. The "scattershot" approach to bug fixing is to litter your code with calls to print() then follow the messages to see what's going on.

You'll meet lots of people telling you how bad this is, but the truth is it's the debugging method everyone starts with – it's easy, it's natural, and it often gives you enough information to solve your problem. Use it with Swift's string interpolation to see the contents of your variables when your app is running.

We’ve used print() several times already, always in its most basic form:

print("I'm inside the viewDidLoad() method!")

By adding calls like that to your various methods, you can see exactly how your program flowed.

However, print() is actually a bit more complicated behind the scenes. For example, you can actually pass it lots of values at the same time, and it will print them all:

print(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

That makes print() a variadic function, which you learned about previously. Here, though, it’s worth adding that print()’s variadic nature becomes much more useful when you use its optional extra parameters: separator and terminator.

The first of these, separator, lets you provide a string that should be placed between every item in the print() call. Try running this code:

print(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, separator: "-")

That should print “1-2-3-4-5”, because the separator parameter is used to split up each item passed into print().

The second optional parameter, terminator, is what should be placed after the final item. It’s \n by default, which you should remember means “line break”. If you don’t want print() to insert a line break after every call, just write this:

print("Some message", terminator: "")

Notice how you don’t need to specify separator if you don’t want to.

SAVE 20% ON iOS CONF SG The largest iOS conference in Southeast Asia is back in Singapore for the 5th time in January 2020, now with two days of workshops plus two days of talks on SwiftUI, Combine, GraphQL, and more! Save a massive 20% on your tickets by clicking on this link.

Buy Testing Swift Buy Practical iOS 12 Buy Pro Swift Buy Swift Design Patterns Buy Swift Coding Challenges Buy Server-Side Swift (Vapor Edition) Buy Server-Side Swift (Kitura Edition) Buy Hacking with macOS Buy Advanced iOS Volume One Buy Advanced iOS Volume Two Buy Hacking with watchOS Buy Hacking with tvOS Buy Hacking with Swift Buy Dive Into SpriteKit Buy Swift in Sixty Seconds Buy Objective-C for Swift Developers Buy Beyond Code

Was this page useful? Let us know!

Average rating: 4.2/5