I’ve seen a few people talking positively about Xcode 14’s slightly firmer hand in re-indenting code as you type or paste code into the editor. I’m a fan of these new features, too, but in my opinion, they don’t go anywhere near far enough.

Brace yourselves for a potentially controversial opinion!

As part of my “you know what” work, I do a fair amount of editing of CSS and JavaScript files, and I use Prettier to format my files automatically. I also configured my editor, Nova, to run prettier every time I save a file using this extension. I have no way to opt-out, either. If I save a file to disk, Prettier formats it.

Prettier is an opinionated code formatter, and I love it. There are a couple of configuration options, but not that many. I know that many of you will have strong views on formatting Swift code and would happily argue a case on why one formatting style is better than another. In my opinion, the specific style genuinely doesn’t matter. The primary thing that matters is consistency.

It’s wild how freeing it is never to have to format code, and I love it. I’m now at the stage where I don’t even try to indent or format JavaScript or CSS. I just put the cursor in roughly the right place and start typing, hit save, and see my code instantly formatted. I also miss this feature every time I write in Swift. 😅

I’d love to see an option to auto re-indent on every save in a future version of Xcode. I’d even like it to go further and use swift-format to bring in much stricter rules for formatting Swift code, and I don’t care what the rules are. If someone at Apple chooses that there should be seven blank lines in between function definitions, I’m okay with that, and you probably would be, too, after a couple of weeks of living with it.

There would be several advantages to this. From experience, I can confidently say that code is easier to write this way, and while you might feel a desire to fight against it at first, it passes. Pull requests are also more straightforward as you wouldn’t be able to save an unformatted Swift file, let alone get it into git. But that’s not all. It’s also easier for everyone (rather than just the people on your team) to understand code if we have a formatting standard.

Apple would need to lead this effort, though. They’re the only ones who can define a style everyone would widely adopt, and wide adoption is critical. It may sound far-fetched, but they wouldn’t be the first to do it. Prettier is very popular, and I believe the Go community has embraced standard formatting that go fmt applies.

What do you say, Apple? Will you make my wish come true in Xcode 15?

Dave Verwer  





Senior iOS Engineer (Swift) @ GoodNotes – GoodNotes is a top-rated paid-for productivity app, available to use on iPad, iPhone and Mac devices with over 10m MAU. You will own your projects and work alongside a high-calibre cross-functional team to continue delivering a product our users love! – Remote (within European or Asia-Pacific timezones) or on-site (Hong Kong or United Kingdom)

Senior iOS Engineer @ DuckDuckGo – An opportunity to work on a fast growing suite of privacy products (iOS & macOS browsers, upcoming new products for mobile/desktop) that will genuinely make the Internet a better place and that will bring it back to its core ideals. And all of that in an environment built for remote from ground up! – Remote (Anywhere)

Senior iOS Developer @ Dwell – Dwell App helps 100K+ believers cultivate a habit of living in the Bible. We love helping people connect more deeply with God through Scripture, and we enjoy the challenge of using technology to accomplish that mission. Our team is on the hunt for a new iOS team member who aligns with our mission. – Remote (within US timezones)

Senior iOS Developer @ Flightradar24 – Join the team at Flightradar24, working on the world's most popular flight tracking service. This is your chance to be part of our small but mighty mobile team, work on every part of our iOS app and have a big impact on over 3 million daily users. – Remote (within European timezones)

iOS Developer @ Rethink First – Join our team: Rethink First is a pioneer and market leader with an award-winning B2B and B2B2C SaaS solutions to drive mental and behavioral. You can expect a healthy work life balance with flexible hours, fully remote work, and a competitive benefits and comp plan. – Remote (within US timezones)

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Mobile Full Stack Engineer @ Expensify – Join our passionate team of top-notch engineers to solve a real-world problem, and help people spend less time managing expenses and more time pursuing their real goals. – Remote (Anywhere) with some on-site work (Australia, United Kingdom, or United States in CA, MI, NY, or OR)


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And finally...

Did you hear about that new programming language, Swift?

I did consider putting a calendar reminder for five years from now instead of linking to it this week. But I don't have the patience for a joke with that long a payoff! 😂