Compile-time safe dependency injection in Swift

What's New



What's Changed

  • Enable generic types to be instantiated, part 2 by @dfed in #89

Full Changelog: 0.7.1...0.7.2


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Compile-time safe dependency injection for Swift projects. SafeDI is built for engineers who want the safety and simplicity of manual dependency injection without the overhead of boilerplate code.


  • Compile-time safe

  • Thread safe

  • Hierarchical dependency scoping

  • Constructor injection

  • Multi-module support

  • Dependency inversion support

  • Transitive dependency solving

  • Cycle detection

  • Architecture independent

  • Simple integration: no DI-specific types or generics required

  • Easy testing: every type has a memberwise initializer

  • Clear error messages: never debug generated code

Using SafeDI

SafeDI utilizes Swift Macros and Swift Package Manager plugins to read your code and generate a dependency tree that is validated at compile time. Dependencies can either be instantiated by SafeDI or forwarded into the SafeDI dependency tree.

Opting a type into the SafeDI dependency tree is straightforward: add the @Instantiable macro to your type declaration, and decorate your type‘s dependencies with macros that signal the lifecycle of each property. If a type is declared in third-party code, you can opt it into SafeDI by declaring an extension of the type in your code and decorating it with the same @Instantiable macro.

There are a total of four macros in the SafeDI library:

Macro Decorating Usage
@Instantiable Type or extension declaration Makes a type capable of being instantiated by SafeDI.
@Instantiated Property declaration Instantiates an instance or value when the enclosing @Instantiable-decorated type is instantiated.
@Forwarded Property declaration Propagates a runtime-created instance or value (e.g. a User object, network response, or customer input) down the dependency tree.
@Received Property declaration Receives an instance or value from an @Instantiated or @Forwarded property further up the dependency tree.

Let‘s walk through each of these macros in detail.


Type declarations decorated with @Instantiable are able to be instantiated by SafeDI. Types decorated with this macro can instantiate other @Instantiable dependencies, forward dependencies injected from outside of SafeDI, or receive dependencies instantiated or forwarded by objects further up the dependency tree.

SafeDI is designed to make instantiating and receiving dependencies simple, without requiring engineers to think about abstract dependency injection (DI) concepts. That said, for those familiar with other DI systems: each @Instantiable type is its own Scope. For those unfamiliar with DI terminology, know that each @Instantiable type is responsible for retaining its dependencies, and that every @Instantiated or @Forwarded dependency is available to all transitive child dependencies.

Every @Instantiable-decorated type must be:

  1. public or open

  2. Have a public init(…) or open init(…) that has an argument for every injectable property and no other arguments

The @Instantiable macro guides engineers through satisfying these requirements with code generation and build-time FixIts.

Here is a sample UserService implementation that is @Instantiable:

import SafeDI

public final class UserService: Instantiable {

    /// Public, memberwise initializer that takes each injected property.
    /// This initializer can be auto-generated by SafeDI if it isn‘t manually written.
    public init(authService: AuthService, securePersistentStorage: SecurePersistentStorage) {
        self.authService = authService
        self.securePersistentStorage = securePersistentStorage

    public private(set) lazy var user: User? = loadPersistedUser() {
        didSet {

    public func login(username: String, password: String) async throws -> User {
        let user = try await authService.login(username: username, password: password)
        self.user = user
        return user

    /// An auth service instance that is instantiated when the `UserService` is instantiated.
    @Instantiated private let authService: AuthService

    /// An instance of secure, persistent storage that is instantiated further up the SafeDI dependency tree.
    @Received private let securePersistentStorage: SecurePersistentStorage

    private func loadPersistedUser() -> User? {
        securePersistentStorage["user", ofType: User.self]

    private func persistUserData() {
        securePersistentStorage["user"] = user

Making protocols @Instantiable

While it is not necessary to utilize protocols with SafeDI, protocol-driven development aids both testability and dependency inversion. The @Instantiable macro has a parameter fulfillingAdditionalTypes that enables any concrete @Instantiable type to fulfill properties that are declared as conforming to a protocol (or superclass) type. Here’s a sample implementation of a protocol-backed, @Instantiable UserService:

import SafeDI

/// A protocol that defines a UserService.
public protocol UserService {
    var user: User? { get }
    func login(username: String, password: String) async throws -> User

/// A default implementation of `UserService` that can fulfill `@Instantiated`
/// properties of type `UserService` or `DefaultUserService`.
@Instantiable(fulfillingAdditionalTypes: [UserService.self])
public final class DefaultUserService: UserService, Instantiable {
    ... // Same implementation as above.

Making external types @Instantiable

Types that are declared outside of your project can be instantiated by SafeDI if there is an extension on the type decorated with the @Instantiable macro. Extensions decorated with this macro define how to instantiate the extended type via a public static func instantiate(…) -> ExtendedType function. This instantiate(…) function can receive dependencies instantiated or forwarded by objects further up the dependency tree by declaring these dependencies as arguments to the instantiate(…) function.

Here we have a sample @Instantiable SecurePersistentStorage whose concrete type is defined in a third-party dependency:

import SafeDI
import SecurePersistentStorage // A third-party library that provides secure, persistent storage.

extension SecurePersistentStorage: Instantiable {
    /// A public static function that defines how SafeDI can instantiate the type.
    public static func instantiate() -> SecurePersistentStorage {


Property declarations within @Instantiable types decorated with @Instantiated are instantiated when its enclosing type is instantiated. @Instantiated-decorated properties are available to be @Received by objects instantiated further down the dependency tree.

@Instantiated-decorated properties must be an @Instantiable type, or of an additionalType listed in an @Instantiable(fulfillingAdditionalTypes:)‘s declaration.


Property declarations within @Instantiable types decorated with @Forwarded represent dependencies that come from the runtime, e.g. user input or backend-delivered content. Like an @Instantiated-decorated property, a @Forwarded-decorated property is available to be @Received by objects instantiated further down the dependency tree.

A @Forwarded property is forwarded into the SafeDI dependency tree by a Instantiator’s instantiate(_ forwardedProperties: T.ForwardedProperties) -> T function that creates an instance of the property’s enclosing type.

Forwarded property types do not need to be decorated with the @Instantiable macro.


Property declarations within @Instantiable types decorated with @Received are injected into the enclosing type‘s initializer. Received properties must be @Instantiated or @Forwarded by an object higher up in the dependency tree.

Here we have a LoggedInContentView whose forwarded user property is received by an UpdateUserService further down the dependency tree.

public struct LoggedInContentView: View, Instantiable {
    public var body: some View {
        ... // Instantiates and displays a ProfileView when a button is pressed.

    @Forwarded private let user: User

    @Instantiated(fulfilledByType: "ProfileView", erasedToConcreteExistential: true) private let profileViewBuilder: ErasedInstantiator<(), AnyView>

public struct ProfileView: View, Instantiable {
    public var body: some View {
        ... // Allows for updating user information.

    @Instantiated private let updateUserService: UpdateUserService

public final class UpdateUserService: Instantiable {
    public init(user: User) {
        self.user = user
        urlSession = .shared

    public func updateUserName(to newName: String) async {
        // Updates the user name.

    // The user object which is received from the LoggedInContentView.
    @Received private let user: User

    private let urlSession: URLSession

Renaming and retyping dependencies

It is possible to rename or retype a dependency that is @Instantiated or @Forwarded by an object higher up in the dependency tree with the @Received(fulfilledByDependencyNamed:ofType:) macro. Renamed or retyped dependencies are able to be received with their new name and type by objects instantiated further down the dependency tree.

Here we have an example of a UserManager type that is received as a UserVendor further down the dependency tree.

public struct User {
    ... // User information.  

public protocol UserVendor {
    var user: User { get }

public protocol UserManager: UserVendor {
    var user: User { get set }

public final class DefaultUserManager: UserManager {
    public init(user: User) {
        self.user = user

    public var user: User

import SwiftUI

public struct LoggedInView: View, Instantiable {
    public var body: some View {
        ... // A logged in user experience
    @Forwarded private let userManager: UserManager 

    @Instantiated private let profileViewBuilder: Instantiator<ProfileView>

public struct ProfileView: View, Instantiable {
    public var body: some View {
        ... // A profile viewing experience

    @Received(fulfilledByDependencyNamed: "userManager", ofType: UserManager.self) private let userVendor: UserVendor

    @Instantiated private let editProfileViewBuilder: Instantiator<EditProfileView>

public struct EditProfileView: View, Instantiable {
    public var body: some View {
        ... // A profile editing experience

    @Received private let userVendor: UserVendor

Delayed instantiation

When you want to instantiate a dependency after init(…), you need to declare an Instantiator<Dependency>-typed property as @Instantiated or @Received.


The Instantiator type is how SafeDI enables deferred instantiation of an @Instantiable type. Instantiator has a single generic that matches the type of the to-be-instantiated instance. Creating an Instantiator property is as simple as creating any other property in the SafeDI ecosystem:

public struct MyApp: App, Instantiable {
    public var body: some Scene {
        WindowGroup {
            // Returns a new instance of a `ContentView`.

    /// A private property that knows how to instantiate a content view.
    @Instantiated private let contentViewInstantiator: Instantiator<ContentView>

An Instantiator is not Sendable – if you want to be able to share an instantiator across concurrency domains, use a SendableInstantiator.

Utilizing @Instantiated with type erased properties

When you want to instantiate a type-erased property, you may specify which concrete type you expect to fulfill your property by utilizing @Instantiated‘s fulfilledByType and erasedToConcreteExistential parameters.

The fulfilledByType parameter takes a String identical to the type name of the concrete type that will be assigned to the type-erased property. Representing the type as a string literal allows for dependency inversion: the code that receives the concrete type does not need to have a dependency on the module that defines the concrete type.

The erasedToConcreteExistential parameter takes a boolean value that indicates whether the fulfilling type is being erased to a concrete existential type. A concrete existential type is a non-protocol type that wraps a protocol and is usually prefixed with Any. A fulfilling type does not inherit from a concrete existential type, and therefore when the property‘s type is a concrete existential the fulfilling type must be wrapped in the erasing concrete existential type‘s initializer before it is returned. When the property‘s type is not a concrete existential, the fulfilling type is cast as the property‘s type. For example, an AnyView is a concrete and existential type-erased form of some struct MyExampleView: View, while a UIViewController is a concrete but not existential type-erased form of some final class MyExampleViewController: UIViewController. This parameter defaults to false.

The ErasedInstantiator type is how SafeDI enables instantiating any @Instantiable type when using type erasure. ErasedInstantiator has two generics. The first generic must match the type’s ForwardedProperties typealias. The second generic matches the type of the to-be-instantiated instance. An ErasedInstantiator is not Sendable – if you want to be able to share an erased instantiator across concurrency domains, use a SendableErasedInstantiator.

import SwiftUI

public struct ParentView: View, Instantiable {
    public var body: some View {
        VStack {
            Text("Child View")

    // The ErasedInstantiator `instantiate()` function will build a `ChildView` wrapped in a concrete `AnyView`.
    // All that is required for this code to compile is for there to be an
    // `@Instantiable public struct ChildView: View` in the codebase.
    @Instantiated(fulfilledByType: "ChildView", erasedToConcreteExistential: true) private let childViewBuilder: ErasedInstantiator<(), AnyView>

Creating the root of your dependency tree

SafeDI automatically finds the root(s) of your dependency tree, and creates an extension on each root that contains a public init() function that instantiates the dependency tree.

An @Instantiable type qualifies as the root of a dependency tree if and only if:

  1. The type‘s SafeDI-injected properties are all @Instantiated or @Received(fulfilledByDependencyNamed:ofType:)
  2. The type‘s @Received(fulfilledByDependencyNamed:ofType:) properties can be fulfilled by @Instantiated or @Received(fulfilledByDependencyNamed:ofType:) properties declared on this type
  3. The type is not instantiated by another @Instantiable type

Comparing SafeDI and Manual Injection: Key Differences

SafeDI is designed to be simple to adopt and minimize architectural changes required to get the benefits of a compile-time safe DI system. Despite this design goal, there are a few key differences between projects that utilize SafeDI and projects that don‘t. As the benefits of this system are clearly outlined in the Features section above, this section outlines the pattern changes required to utilize a DI system like SafeDI.

Instantiating objects

In a manual DI system it is common to directly call your dependencies‘ init(…) functions. When utilizing SafeDI, you must rely on @Instantiated-decorated properties to instantiate your dependencies for you. Calling a dependency‘s init(…) function directly effectively exits the SafeDI-built dependency tree, which removes property lifecycle guarantees. Similarly, you must call the generated init() function on your dependency tree‘s root and not its memberwise init(…) function in order to create the SafeDI dependency tree.

To instantiate a dependency after a property‘s enclosing type is initialized, you must utilize an instantiated or received Instantiator or ForwardingInstantiator instance.


Per Apple‘s documentation, it is important to avoid decorating initializer-injected dependencies with the @State or @StateObject property wrappers.

The @State documentation reads:

Declare state as private to prevent setting it in a memberwise initializer, which can conflict with the storage management that SwiftUI provides

The @StateObject documentation reads:

Declare state objects as private to prevent setting them from a memberwise initializer, which can conflict with the storage management that SwiftUI provides

@Instantiated, @Forwarded, or @Received objects may be decorated with @ObservedObject. Note that @Instantiated objects declared on a View will be re-initialized when the view is re-initialized. You can find a deep dive on SwiftUI view lifecycles here.


In a manual DI system it is simple for superclasses to receive injected dependencies. SafeDI‘s utilization of macros means that SafeDI is not aware of dependencies required due to inheritance trees. Due to this limitation, superclass types should not be decorated with @Instantiable: instead, subclasses should declare the properties their superclasses need, and pass them upwards via a call to super.init(…).

Nested types

While manually written dependency injection code can work seamlessly with nested types, SafeDI currently prevents nested types from being decorated with the @Instantiable macro.

Migrating to SafeDI

It is strongly recommended that projects adopting SafeDI start their migration by identifying the root of their dependency tree and making it @Instantiable. Once your root object has adopted SafeDI, continue migrating dependencies to SafeDI in either a breadth-first or depth-first manner. As your adoption of SafeDI progresses, you‘ll find that you are removing more code than you are adding: many of your dependencies are likely being passed through intermediary objects that do not utilize the dependency except to instantiate a dependency deeper in the tree. Once types further down the dependency tree have adopted SafeDI, you will be able to avoid receiving dependencies in intermediary types.

Example App

We‘ve tied everything together with an example multi-user notes application backed by SwiftUI. You compile and run this code in Xcode in the included ExampleProjectIntegration project.

Integrating SafeDI

To integrate SafeDI into your codebase, you must both depend on the SafeDI framework that defines the core macros and instantiators, and also add the code generation step to your build process. You can see sample integrations in the Examples folder.

SafeDI Framework

To install the SafeDI framework into your package with Swift Package Manager, add the following lines to your Package.swift file:

dependencies: [
    .package(url: "", from: "0.7.0"),

To install the SafeDI framework into an Xcode project with Swift Package Manager, follow Apple‘s instructions to add the dependency to your application.

SafeDI Code Generation

SafeDI vends a code generation plugin named SafeDIGenerator. This plugin works out of the box on a limited number of project configurations. If your project does not fall into these well-supported configurations, you can configure your build to utilize the SafeDITool command-line executable directly.

Single-module Xcode projects

If your first-party code comprises a single module in an .xcodeproj, once your Xcode project depends on the SafeDI package you can integrate the Swift Package Plugin simply by going to your target‘s Build Phases, expanding the Run Build Tool Plug-ins drop-down, and adding the SafeDIGenerator as a build tool plug-in. You can see this integration in practice in the ExampleProjectIntegration project.

Swift Package

If your first-party code is entirely contained in a Swift Package with one or more modules, you can add the following lines to your root target‘s definition:

    plugins: [
        .plugin(name: "SafeDIGenerator", package: "SafeDI")

You can see this in integration in practice in the ExamplePackageIntegration package.

For faster builds, you can install a release version of SafeDITool rather than a debug version via brew:

brew install dfed/safedi/safeditool

Other configurations

If your first-party code comprises multiple modules in Xcode, or a mix of Xcode Projects and Swift Packages, or some other configuration not listed above, once your Xcode project depends on the SafeDI package you will need to utilize the SafeDITool command-line executable directly in a pre-build script.

set -e


if [ -f "$DESTINATION" ]; then
    if [ ! -x "$DESTINATION" ]; then
        chmod +x "$DESTINATION"
    mkdir -p "$(dirname "$DESTINATION")"

    ARCH=$(uname -m)
    if [ "$ARCH" = "arm64" ]; then
    elif [ "$ARCH" = "x86_64" ]; then
        echo "Unsupported architecture: $ARCH"
        exit 1
    chmod +x "$DESTINATION"


Make sure to set ENABLE_USER_SCRIPT_SANDBOXING to NO in your target, and to replace the <<VERSION>>, <<RELATIVE_PATH_TO_SOURCE_FILES>>, <<RELATIVE_PATH_TO_MORE_SOURCE_FILES>>, and <<RELATIVE_PATH_TO_WRITE_OUTPUT_FILE>> with the appropriate values.

You can see this in integration in practice in the ExampleMultiProjectIntegration package.

The SafeDITool utility is designed to able to be integrated into projects of any size or shape.

The SafeDITool can parse all of your Swift files at once, or for even better performance, the tool can be run on each dependent module as part of the build. Running this tool on each dependent module is currently left as an exercise to the reader.


  • Xcode 15.3 or later
  • iOS 13 or later
  • tvOS 13 or later
  • watchOS 6 or later
  • macOS 10.13 or later

Under the hood

SafeDI has a SafeDITool executable that the SafeDIGenerator plugin utilizes to read code and generate a dependency tree. The tool utilizes Apple‘s SwiftSyntax library to parse your code and find your @Instantiable types‘ initializers and dependencies. With this information, SafeDI creates a graph of your project‘s dependencies. This graph is validated as part of the SafeDITool‘s execution, and the tool emits human-readible errors if the dependency graph is not valid. Source code is only generated if the dependency graph is valid.

The executable heavily utilizes asynchronous processing to avoid SafeDITool becoming a bottleneck in your build. Additionally, we only parse a Swift file with SwiftSyntax when the file contains the string Instantiable.

Due to limitations in Apple‘s Swift Package Manager Plugins, the SafeDIGenerator plugin parses all of your first-party Swift files in a single pass. Projects that utilize SafeDITool directly can process Swift files on a per-module basis to further reduce the build-time bottleneck.

Comparing SafeDI to other DI libraries

SafeDI‘s compile-time-safe design makes it similar to Needle and Weaver. Unlike Needle, SafeDI does not require defining dependency protocols for each DI-tree-instantiable type. SafeDI‘s capabilities are quite similar to Weaver‘s, with the biggest difference being that SafeDI supports codebases with multiple modules. Beyond those differences, SafeDI vs Needle vs Weaver is a matter of personal preference.

Other Swift DI libraries like Swinject and Cleanse do not offer compile-time safety, though other features are similar. A primary benefit of the SafeDI library is that compilation validates your dependency tree.


Huge thanks to @kierajmumick for helping hone the early design of SafeDI.


Double-click on the Package.swift file in the root of the repository to open the package in Xcode.


I’m glad you’re interested in SafeDI, and we‘d love to see where you take it. Please read the contributing guidelines prior to submitting a Pull Request.

Thanks, and happy injecting!


  • Swift Tools 5.10.0
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Last updated: Fri Jul 12 2024 10:44:50 GMT-0900 (Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight Time)