Bart Simons


A 3 post collection

Swift + Perfect + Authentication API Example

 •  Filed under swift, perfect, example, authentication

So you want to build your next backend API in Swift? No problem! Perfect has got you covered. Perfect is a collection of libraries to turn your next server-side Swift application into reality. It is blazingly fast and awesome!

So I decided to dive a little bit deeper into the possibilities of Swift and Perfect, and so I quickly decided that an authentication API would be a 'perfect' idea (see what I did there?) to get started. So, what do we need?

  • A computer running Linux or macOS
  • Swift 3 installed
  • A MySQL Server

That's basically all that's needed. Now we need a functional database, so I came up with a SQL table like this:

CREATE TABLE `users` (  
  `id` int(32) NOT NULL,
  `username` varchar(128) NOT NULL,
  `password` varchar(128) NOT NULL

ALTER TABLE `users`  
  ADD UNIQUE KEY `username` (`username`),
  ADD UNIQUE KEY `id` (`id`);

INSERT INTO `users` (`id`, `username`, `password`) VALUES  
(1, 'user1', '7c12772809c1c0c3deda6103b10fdfa0'),
(2, 'user2', '7c12772809c1c0c3deda6103b10fdfa0');

ALTER TABLE `users`  

Perfect. Now - for the next part - initialize a new Swift package in an empty folder:

swift package init --type executable  

This will generate an empty package, so now it's time to edit our Package.swift file. You'll need to add 2 repositories to your project, this is how I have done that:

import PackageDescription

let package = Package(  
    name: "backend-api",
    dependencies: [
        .Package(url: "", majorVersion: 2),
        .Package(url: "", majorVersion: 2)

Cool. So now it is about time to work on the real deal - programming! I've split the project into two separate swift files

  • main.swift : this is for all things related to the web server processing
  • DBOperations.swift : this is a provider to execute MySQL (prepared) statements in the form of a function

My main.swift:

import PerfectLib  
import PerfectHTTP  
import PerfectHTTPServer  
import Foundation

let server = HTTPServer()  
var routes = Routes()

server.serverPort = 8000

routes.add(method: .get, uri: "/", handler: {  
    request, response in

    response.status = HTTPResponseStatus.ok
    response.setHeader(.contentType, value: "application/json")

    response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Backend server is up and running\"}")

routes.add(method: .get, uri: "/oauth", handler: {  
    request, response in

    response.setHeader(.contentType, value: "application/json")

    let username = request.param(name: "username", defaultValue: "")
    let password = request.param(name: "password", defaultValue: "")

    if ((username ?? "").isEmpty || (password ?? "").isEmpty) {
        response.status = HTTPResponseStatus.ok
        response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Invalid request\"}")
    } else {
        if (username ?? "").characters.count >= 8 || (username ?? "").characters.count <= 24{
            if (password ?? "").characters.count == 32 {
                if (username ?? "").rangeOfCharacter(from: CharacterSet.alphanumerics.inverted) == nil && (password ?? "").rangeOfCharacter(from: CharacterSet.alphanumerics.inverted) == nil {
                    response.status = HTTPResponseStatus.ok
                    let queryResult: [[[String: String]]] = executeQuery(query: "SELECT * FROM users WHERE username = ?", parameters: [username ?? ""])
                    if (queryResult.count == 1) {
                        if  ((queryResult[0][2]["password"] ?? "") as String == password ?? "") {
                            response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Authentication request succeeded!\"}")
                        } else {
                            response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Invalid request\"}")
                    } else {
                        response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Invalid request\"}")
                } else {
                    response.status = HTTPResponseStatus.ok
                    response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Invalid request\"}")
            } else {
                response.status = HTTPResponseStatus.ok
                response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Invalid request\"}")
        } else {
            response.status = HTTPResponseStatus.ok
            response.setBody(string: "{\"status\":\"Invalid request\"}")



do {  
    try server.start()
} catch PerfectError.networkError(let err, let msg) {
    print("Network error thrown: \(err) \(msg)")

My DBOperations.swift:

import MySQL

let sqlHost     = ""  
let sqlUser     = "app_authentication"  
let sqlPassword = "testing01"  
let sqlDB       = "app_authentication"

func executeQuery(query: String, parameters: [String]? = nil) -> [[[String: String]]] {  
    var fStore = [[[String: String]]]()

    let mysql = MySQL()
    let connection = mysql.connect(host: sqlHost, user: sqlUser, password: sqlPassword, db: sqlDB)

    guard connection else {
        return [[[String: String]]]()

    defer {

    let fQuery = MySQLStmt(mysql)

    _ = fQuery.prepare(statement: query)

    if parameters != nil {
        for parameter in parameters! {

    _ = fQuery.execute()

    let fResults = fQuery.results()

    _ = fResults.forEachRow {
        e in

        var fSubStore = [[String: String]]()

        for i in 0..<e.count {
            let fFieldName: String? = fQuery.fieldInfo(index: i)!.name
            fSubStore.append(["\(fFieldName!)": "\(e[i]!)"])


    return fStore

You need to save both of these files inside the Sources folder of your package.

To build and run your app, run this in the root of your package directory:

swift build  

Now it is time to test if everything works:
It works!

So: this is how you can build authentication APIs with Swift. Please bare in mind that all code examples given are NOT production ready. I know that it works, but I can definitely already see some points of improvements - too bad that I don't have time to fix that. This demo project is soon to be expected on my GitHub. Thanks for reading and have a nice day ;)

Scraping websites with LXML

 •  Filed under example, tutorial, scraping, websites, lxml

The internet is such a big place, and it is still growing exponentially together with the (also) growing trend of data traffic. Sometimes, that what just matters is all that we need. Links, paragraphs, keywords are three examples of data that we care about: the metadata. LXML is a great library that makes parsing HTML documents from within Python pretty useful, so I decided to write some code example for those who are interested.

Scraping the Reddit front page as an example

Reddit's front page is easily parsable. In fact, it has a straight forward CSS structure that actually makes sense:

Each link to a post is contained inside a div tag with the thing class inside of it. Chromium - the internet browser in the screenshot above - actually supports searching by XPath from the developer console. Very neat, cheers to the developers that made this possible!

The same thing could be done programmatically, by using Python and LXML. Here's an example that should work:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import lxml.html

from pycurl import Curl  
from io import BytesIO

userAgent = 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:49.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/49.0'  
redditMainPage = ''

def fetchUri(uriToFetch):  
    buffer = BytesIO()
    c = Curl()
    c.setopt(c.URL, uriToFetch)
    c.setopt(c.WRITEDATA, buffer)
    c.setopt(c.USERAGENT, userAgent)
    return buffer.getvalue().decode('iso-8859-1')

requestResult = fetchUri(redditMainPage)  
requestLxmlDocument = lxml.html.document_fromstring(requestResult)  
requestLxmlRoot = requestLxmlDocument.xpath("//div[contains(@class, 'thing')]//div[contains(@class, 'entry')]//p[contains(@class, 'title')]//a[contains(@class, 'title')]")

for rootObject in requestLxmlRoot:  

This code iterates over each reddit post found on the main page, and returns it's name, followed by a newline character. This code snippet should work fine on both Python 2 and 3, with PycURL and LXML installed. Good luck experimenting with LXML!

Android - Call UI-code from a class

 •  Filed under android, ui code, class, tutorial, example

Java and the Android SDK go perfectly well together, but just like any other 'good' programming language you sometimes have to get over some rough edges. As an example, it took me almost a day to figure out how to interact with the UI thread from a class! So, I'm sharing with you this handy little Java snippet that just works. Enjoy it and stay productive!


package me.bartsimons.helloworld

import android.os.Bundle;  
import android.widget.TextView;

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {  
    TextView helloText;

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedBundleInstance) {

        helloText = (TextView) findViewById(;

        SubModule moduleSub = new SubModule(this);

package me.bartsimons.helloworld

public class SubModule {  
    protected MainActivity context;

    public SubModule(MainActivity _context) {
        context = _context;

    public void testFunction() {
        context.runOnUiThread(new Runnable() {
            context.helloText.setText("Hello world!");