I’ve been looking into Reactive Programming in general and I can say one thing: it’s MIND-BLOWING concept!

As part of my learning process, I came up with idea of sharing my thoughts and feelings on Rx. This post is introduction to series of blog posts about real-world iOS examples using RxSwift.

Why RxSwift?

I picked up RxSwift as it’s very well documented with lots of sample code snippets and great community (go to theirs slack channel and see yourself). There is also ReactiveCocoa which is fully grown project but I like the idea behind RxSwift - this is part of reactivex. It means that same base reactive programming concepts apply to different languages (Java, C#, JavaScript etc.).

Who is this for?

Those recipes are for beginners like me who already know the basics of reactive programming but are confused how to use them in real-world scenarios.

If you are new to Rx, I suggest you read these in following order:

Unfortunately, there aren’t many tutorials/guides for RxSwift :(

Dive in

Let’s start with the basic example - sign in functionality using Parse backend.

So to get started, we’ll create single page-based app with only one view controller. This view controller will contain username text field, password text field and ‘Sign in’ button.

Reactive recipe #1

import UIKit
import RxSwift
import RxCocoa
import Parse

class ViewController: UIViewController {

    @IBOutlet weak var usernameTextField: UITextField!
    @IBOutlet weak var passwordTextField: UITextField!
    @IBOutlet weak var loginButton: UIButton!

    override func viewDidLoad() {

First of all, we need to validate user input. Create two variables of Observable type in viewDidLoad() method. They return bool value depending on validation logic (username or password must be longer than 5 characters).

let validUsernameObservable = usernameTextField.rx_text.map { username in
   username.characters.count > 5

let validPasswordObservable = passwordTextField.rx_text.map { password in
   password.characters.count > 5

Let’s test above the code and try to type something in username text field:

_ = validUsernameObservable
    .subscribeNext { value in
// prints:
// false
// true
// false
// true

Or test it visually:

validUsernameObservable.map { value in
    value ? UIColor.greenColor() : UIColor.whiteColor()
.subscribeNext { color in
    self.usernameTextField.backgroundColor = color

That’s it, the username text field is highlighted green when username is valid.

So far so good. What if we disable Sign in button when text fields are invalid? It’s not that hard if you know basic Rx operators. bindTo extension is quite new thing in RxSwift - read more here.

combineLatest(validUsernameObservable, validPasswordObservable) { usernameValid, passwordValid in
    return usernameValid && passwordValid

Now, we just need to wrap Parse network request method into Observable.

func parseLogin() -> Observable<String> {
     return create { observer in
         PFUser.logInWithUsernameInBackground(self.usernameTextField.text!, password: self.passwordTextField.text!) { user, error in
             observer.onNext(user?.username ?? "Try again!")
         return NopDisposable.instance

In order to sign in, we subscribe to rx_tap, do some magic with flatMap and show alert on the screen.

flatMap was hard one for me to understand. It’s used because we want to return String which is value, not <Observable<String> which is Observable (give it a go and try using map instead of flatMap - it won’t even compile). By using map, we could create something what I call inner observable (an Observable within another Observable).

loginButton.rx_tap.flatMap {
.subscribeNext {
   let alert = UIAlertController(title: $0, message: nil, preferredStyle: UIAlertControllerStyle.Alert)
   alert.addAction(UIAlertAction(title: "OK", style: UIAlertActionStyle.Default, handler: nil))
   self.presentViewController(alert, animated: true, completion: nil)

If you got lost along the way, you can look at my code in GitHub.

UPDATE: carlosypunto suggested using DisposableBags and made sequences flow more attractive. You can see changes in this commit.