For the past couple of years, programming in Swift has been a guilty pleasure of mine - I would sneak out after getting the kids to sleep to try out the latest innovations in iOS, such as SwiftUI and RealityKit. I have decided to ship a complete app based on this work, and I put together an SSH client for iOS and iPadOS using my terminal emulator, which I call “SwiftTermApp.”
What it lacks in terms of an original name, it makes up for by having solid fundamentals in place: a comprehensive terminal emulator with all the features you expect from a modern terminal emulator, good support for international input and output, tasteful use of libssh2, keyboard accessories for your Unix needs, storing your secrets in the iOS keychain, extensive compatibility tests, an embrace of the latest and greatest iOS APIs I could find, and is fuzzed and profiled routinely to ensure a solid foundation.
While I am generally pleased with the application for personal use, my goal is to make this app generally valuable to users that routinely use SSH to connect to remote hosts - and nothing brings more clarity to a product than a user’s feedback.
I would love for you to try this app and help me identify opportunities and additional features for it. These are some potential improvements to the app, and I could use your help prioritizing them:
To reduce my development time and maximize my joy, I built this app with SwiftUI and the latest features from Swift and iOS, so it won't work on older versions of iOS. In particular, I am pretty happy with what Swift async enabled me to do, which I hope to blog about soon.
SwiftTermApp is part of a collection of open-source code built around the Unix command line that I have been authoring on and off for the past 15 years. First in C#, now also in Swift. If you are interested in some of the other libraries, check out my UI toolkits for console applications (gui.cs for C#, and TermKit for Swift) and my xterm/vt100 emulator libraries (XtermSharp for C# and SwiftTerm for Swift). I previously wrote about how they came to be.
Update: Join the discussion
For a few months during the development of the SwiftTerm library, I worked to ensure great compatibility with other terminal emulators using the esctest and vttest. I put my MacPro to good use during the evenings to run the Swift fuzzer and tracked down countless bugs and denial of service errors, used Instruments religiously to improve the performance of the terminal emulator and ensured a good test suite to prevent regressions.
Original intro: For the past few years, I have been hacking on assorted terminal tools in both C# and Swift, including a couple of UI toolkits for console applications (gui.cs for C#, and TermKit for Swift) and xterm/vt100 emulators (XtermSharp for C# and SwiftTerm for Swift). I previously wrote about how they came to be.
Posted on 06 Apr 2022