Welcome to the Friendly Chat codelab. In this codelab, you'll learn how to use the Firebase platform to create iOS applications. You will implement a chat client and monitor its performance using Firebase.

This codelab is also available in Objective-C.

What you'll learn

What you'll need

How will you use this tutorial?

Read it through only Read it and complete the exercises

How would rate your experience with building iOS apps?

Novice Intermediate Proficient

Clone the GitHub repository from the command line.

$ git clone https://github.com/firebase/friendlychat-ios

To build the starter app:

  1. In a terminal window, navigate to the android_studio_folder.pngios-starter/swift-starter directory from your sample code download
  2. Run pod install
  3. Open the FriendlyChatSwift.xcworkspace file to open the project in Xcode.
  4. Click the Run button.

You should see the Friendly Chat home screen appear after a few seconds. The UI should appear. However, at this point you cannot sign in, send or receive messages. The app will abort with an exception until you complete the next step.

Create project

From Firebase console select Add Project.

Call the project FriendlyChat, then click on Create Project.

Screenshot from 2015-11-06 14:13:39.png

Connect your iOS app

  1. From the Project Overview screen of your new project, click Add Firebase to your iOS app.
  2. Enter the bundle ID, as "com.google.firebase.codelab.FriendlyChatSwift".
  3. Enter the App Store id as "123456".
  4. Click Register App.

Add GoogleService-Info.plist file to your app

On the second screen click Download GoogleService-Info.plist to download a configuration file that contains all the necessary Firebase metadata for your app. Copy that file to your application and add it to the FriendlyChatSwift target.

You can now click the "x" in the upper right corner of the popup to close it -- skipping steps 3 and 4 -- as you will perform those steps here.

Import Firebase module

Start by making sure the Firebase module is imported.

AppDelegate.swift, FCViewController.swift

import Firebase

Configure Firebase in AppDelegate

Use the "configure" method in FirebaseApp inside the application:didFinishLaunchingWithOptions function to configure underlying Firebase services from your .plist file.

AppDelegate.swift

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions
      launchOptions: [UIApplicationLaunchOptionsKey: Any]?) -> Bool {
  FirebaseApp.configure()
  GIDSignIn.sharedInstance().delegate = self
  return true
}

Use Rules To Restrict To Authenticated Users

We will now add a rule to require authentication before reading or writing any messages. To do this we add the following rules to our messages data object. From within the Database section of Firebase console select Realtime Database, then click on the Rules tab. Then update the rules so they look like this:

{
  "rules": {
    "messages": {
      ".read": "auth != null",
      ".write": "auth != null"
    }
  }
}

For more information on how this works (including documentation on the "auth" variable) see the Firebase security documentation.

Configure Authentication APIs

Before your application can access the Firebase Authentication APIs on behalf of your users, you will have to enable it

  1. Navigate to the Firebase console and select your project
  2. Select Authentication
  3. Select the Sign In Method tab
  4. Toggle the Google switch to enabled (blue)
  5. Press Save on the resulting dialog

If you get errors later in this codelab with the message "CONFIGURATION_NOT_FOUND", come back to this step and double check your work.

Confirm Firebase Auth dependency

Confirm Firebase Auth dependencies exist in the Podfile file.

Podfile

pod 'Firebase/Auth'

Setup your Info.plist for Google Sign In.

You'll need to add a custom URL scheme to your XCode project.

  1. Open your project configuration: double-click the project name in the left tree view. Select your app from the TARGETS section, then select the Info tab, and expand the URL Types section.
  2. Click the + button, and add a URL scheme for your reversed client ID. To find this value, open the GoogleService-Info.plist configuration file, and look for the REVERSED_CLIENT_ID key. Copy the value of that key, and paste it into the URL Schemes box on the configuration page. Leave the other fields blank.
  3. When completed, your config should look something similar to the following (but with your application-specific values):

Set clientID for Google Sign In

After Firebase is configured, we can use the clientID to set up the Google Sign In inside the "didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:" method.

AppDelegate.swift

  func application(_ application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions
      launchOptions: [UIApplicationLaunchOptionsKey: Any]?) -> Bool {
  FirebaseApp.configure()
  GIDSignIn.sharedInstance().clientID = FirebaseApp.app()?.options.clientID
  GIDSignIn.sharedInstance().delegate = self
  return true
}

Add the sign in handler

Once the result of the Google Sign-In was successful, use the account to authenticate with Firebase.

AppDelegate.swift

  func sign(_ signIn: GIDSignIn!, didSignInFor user: GIDGoogleUser!, withError error: Error?) {
    if let error = error {
      print("Error \(error)")
      return
    }

    guard let authentication = user.authentication else { return }
    let credential = GoogleAuthProvider.credential(withIDToken: authentication.idToken,
                                                      accessToken: authentication.accessToken)
    Auth.auth().signIn(with: credential) { (user, error) in
      if let error = error {
        print("Error \(error)")
        return
      }
    }
  }

Automatically sign in the user. Then add a listener to Firebase Auth, to let the user into the app, after successful sign in. And remove the listener on deinit.

SignInViewController.swift

  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
    GIDSignIn.sharedInstance().uiDelegate = self
    GIDSignIn.sharedInstance().signInSilently()
    handle = Auth.auth().addStateDidChangeListener() { (auth, user) in
      if user != nil {
        MeasurementHelper.sendLoginEvent()
        self.performSegue(withIdentifier: Constants.Segues.SignInToFp, sender: nil)
      }
    }
  }

  deinit {
    if let handle = handle {
      Auth.auth().removeStateDidChangeListener(handle)
    }
  }

Sign Out

Add the Sign out method

FCViewController.swift

  @IBAction func signOut(_ sender: UIButton) {
    let firebaseAuth = Auth.auth()
    do {
      try firebaseAuth.signOut()
      dismiss(animated: true, completion: nil)
    } catch let signOutError as NSError {
      print ("Error signing out: \(signOutError.localizedDescription)")
    }
  }

Test Reading Messages as Signed In User

  1. Click the Run button.
  2. You should be immediately sent to the sign-in screen. Tap the Google Sign-In button.
  3. You should then be sent to the messaging screen if everything worked well.

Import Messages

In your project in Firebase console select the Database item on the left navigation bar. In the overflow menu of the Database select Import JSON. Browse to the initial_messages.json file in the friendlychat directory, select it then click the Import button. This will replace any data currently in your database. You could also edit the database directly, using the green + and red x to add and remove items.

After importing your database should look like this:

Confirm Firebase Database Dependency

In the dependencies block of the Podfile file, confirm that Firebase/Database is included.

Podfile

pod 'Firebase/Database'

Synchronize Existing Messages

Add code that synchronizes newly added messages to the app UI.

The code you add in this section will:

Modify your FCViewController's "deinit", "configureDatabase", and "tableView:cellForRow indexPath:" methods; replace with the code defined below:

FCViewController.swift

  deinit {
    if let refHandle = _refHandle {
      self.ref.child("messages").removeObserver(withHandle: _refHandle)
    }
  }


  func configureDatabase() {
    ref = Database.database().reference()
    // Listen for new messages in the Firebase database
    _refHandle = self.ref.child("messages").observe(.childAdded, with: { [weak self] (snapshot) -> Void in
      guard let strongSelf = self else { return }
      strongSelf.messages.append(snapshot)
      strongSelf.clientTable.insertRows(at: [IndexPath(row: strongSelf.messages.count-1, section: 0)], with: .automatic)
    })
  }


  func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, cellForRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) -> UITableViewCell {
    // Dequeue cell
    let cell = self.clientTable.dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: "tableViewCell", for: indexPath)
    // Unpack message from Firebase DataSnapshot
    let messageSnapshot = self.messages[indexPath.row]
    guard let message = messageSnapshot.value as? [String: String] else { return cell }
    let name = message[Constants.MessageFields.name] ?? ""
    let text = message[Constants.MessageFields.text] ?? ""
    cell.textLabel?.text = name + ": " + text
    cell.imageView?.image = UIImage(named: "ic_account_circle")
    if let photoURL = message[Constants.MessageFields.photoURL], let URL = URL(string: photoURL),
        let data = try? Data(contentsOf: URL) {
      cell.imageView?.image = UIImage(data: data)
    }
    return cell
  }

Test Message Sync

  1. Click the Run button.
  2. Click the Sign in to get started button to go to the messages window.
  3. Add new messages directly in Firebase console by clicking on the green + symbol next to the "messages" entry and adding an object like the following:
  4. Confirm that they show up in the Friendly-Chat UI.

Implement Send Message

Push values to the database. When you use the push method to add data to Firebase Realtime Database, an automatic ID will be added. These auto generated IDs are sequential, which ensures that new messages will be added in the correct order.

Modify your FCViewController's "sendMessage:" method; replace with the code defined below:

FCViewController.swift

  func sendMessage(withData data: [String: String]) {
    var mdata = data
    mdata[Constants.MessageFields.name] = Auth.auth().currentUser?.displayName
    if let photoURL = Auth.auth().currentUser?.photoURL {
      mdata[Constants.MessageFields.photoURL] = photoURL.absoluteString
    }

    // Push data to Firebase Database
    self.ref.child("messages").childByAutoId().setValue(mdata)
  }

Test Sending Messages

  1. Click the Run button.
  2. Click Sign In to go to the messages window.
  3. Type out a message and hit send. The new message should be visible in the app UI and in the Firebase console.

Confirm Firebase Storage Dependency

In the dependencies block of the Podfile, confirm Firebase/Storage is included.

Podfile

pod 'Firebase/Storage'

Activate Firebase Storage in dashboard

Go to Firebase console and confirm that Storage is activated with "gs://PROJECTID.apppot.com" domain

If you are seeing the activation window instead, click "GET STARTED" to activate it with default rules.

Configure FirebaseStorage

FCViewController.swift

  func configureStorage() {
    storageRef = Storage.storage().reference()
  }

Receive images in existing messages

Add code that downloads images from Firebase Storage.

Modify your FCViewController's "tableView: cellForRowAt indexPath:" method; replace with the code defined below:

FCViewController.swift

  func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, cellForRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) -> UITableViewCell {
    // Dequeue cell
    let cell = self.clientTable .dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: "tableViewCell", for: indexPath)
    // Unpack message from Firebase DataSnapshot
    let messageSnapshot: DataSnapshot! = self.messages[indexPath.row]
    guard let message = messageSnapshot.value as? [String:String] else { return cell }
    let name = message[Constants.MessageFields.name] ?? ""
    if let imageURL = message[Constants.MessageFields.imageURL] {
      if imageURL.hasPrefix("gs://") {
        Storage.storage().reference(forURL: imageURL).getData(maxSize: INT64_MAX) {(data, error) in
          if let error = error {
            print("Error downloading: \(error)")
            return
          }
          DispatchQueue.main.async {
            cell.imageView?.image = UIImage.init(data: data!)
            cell.setNeedsLayout()
          }
        }
      } else if let URL = URL(string: imageURL), let data = try? Data(contentsOf: URL) {
        cell.imageView?.image = UIImage.init(data: data)
      }
      cell.textLabel?.text = "sent by: \(name)"
    } else {
      let text = message[Constants.MessageFields.text] ?? ""
      cell.textLabel?.text = name + ": " + text
      cell.imageView?.image = UIImage(named: "ic_account_circle")
      if let photoURL = message[Constants.MessageFields.photoURL], let URL = URL(string: photoURL),
          let data = try? Data(contentsOf: URL) {
        cell.imageView?.image = UIImage(data: data)
      }
    }
    return cell
  }

Implement Store and Send Images

Upload an image from the user, then sync this image's storage URL to database so this image is sent inside the message.

Modify your FCViewController's "imagePickerController: didFinishPickingMediaWithInfo:" method; replace with the code defined below:

FCViewController.swift

  func imagePickerController(_ picker: UIImagePickerController,
    didFinishPickingMediaWithInfo info: [String : Any]) {
      picker.dismiss(animated: true, completion:nil)
    guard let uid = Auth.auth().currentUser?.uid else { return }

    // if it's a photo from the library, not an image from the camera
    if #available(iOS 8.0, *), let referenceURL = info[UIImagePickerControllerReferenceURL] as? URL {
      let assets = PHAsset.fetchAssets(withALAssetURLs: [referenceURL], options: nil)
      let asset = assets.firstObject
      asset?.requestContentEditingInput(with: nil, completionHandler: { [weak self] (contentEditingInput, info) in
        let imageFile = contentEditingInput?.fullSizeImageURL
        let filePath = "\(uid)/\(Int(Date.timeIntervalSinceReferenceDate * 1000))/\((referenceURL as AnyObject).lastPathComponent!)"
        guard let strongSelf = self else { return }
        strongSelf.storageRef.child(filePath)
          .putFile(from: imageFile!, metadata: nil) { (metadata, error) in
            if let error = error {
              let nsError = error as NSError
              print("Error uploading: \(nsError.localizedDescription)")
              return
            }
            strongSelf.sendMessage(withData: [Constants.MessageFields.imageURL: strongSelf.storageRef.child((metadata?.path)!).description])
          }
      })
    } else {
      guard let image = info[UIImagePickerControllerOriginalImage] as? UIImage else { return }
      let imageData = UIImageJPEGRepresentation(image, 0.8)
      let imagePath = "\(uid)/\(Int(Date.timeIntervalSinceReferenceDate * 1000)).jpg"
      let metadata = StorageMetadata()
      metadata.contentType = "image/jpeg"
      self.storageRef.child(imagePath)
        .putData(imageData!, metadata: metadata) { [weak self] (metadata, error) in
          if let error = error {
            print("Error uploading: \(error)")
            return
          }
          guard let strongSelf = self else { return }
          strongSelf.sendMessage(withData: [Constants.MessageFields.imageURL: strongSelf.storageRef.child((metadata?.path)!).description])
      }
    }
  }

Test Sending and Receiving Image Messages

  1. Click the Run button.
  2. Click Sign In to go to the messages window.
  3. Click "add a photo" icon to pick a photo. The new message with the photo should be visible in the app UI and in the Firebase console.

You have used Firebase to easily build a real-time chat application.

What we've covered

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