Swift Equatable

In this tutorial, we will learn about Swift equatable with the help of examples.

In Swift, an Equatable is a protocol that allows two objects to be compared using the == operator. The hashValue is used to compare two instances.

To use the hashValue, we first have to conform (associate) the type (struct, class, etc) to Hashable property. For example,

struct Employee: Hashable {
  ...
}  

Here, we have conformed the Employee struct to the Hashable protocol.

Now when we create instances of Employee, the protocol will provide hash values to the instances.


Example: Swift Equatable Protocol

struct Employee: Hashable {
  var name: String
}

let obj1 = Employee(name: "Sabby")
let obj2 = Employee(name: "Smith")

// compare obj1 and obj2
if obj1 == obj2 {
    print("obj1 and obj2 are equal")
}
else {
    print("obj1 and obj2 are not equal")
}

Output

obj1 and obj2 are not equal

Here, the code obj1 == obj2 evaluates to false because obj1 and obj2 have different values for the name property. Hence, the else block is executed.

Note: A hash value is a long integer that varies based on the system you are using, so you might get different values for the same code.


Compare Instances using Hashable Protocol

// conform Employee to Equatable
struct Employee: Equatable {
    
    var name: String
    var salary: Int
}

// initialize two objects with different property values 
let obj1 = Employee(name: "Sabby", salary: 40000)
let obj2 = Employee(name: "Sabby", salary: 40000)
let obj3 = Employee(name: "Cathy", salary: 30000)

// compare obj1 and obj2
if obj1 == obj2 {
    print("obj1 and obj2 are equal")
}
else {
    print("obj1 and obj2 are not equal")
}

// compare obj1 and obj3
if obj1 == obj3 {
    print("obj1 and obj3 are equal")
}
else {
    print("obj1 and obj3 are not equal")
}

Output

obj1 and obj2 are not equal
obj1 and obj3 are equal

In the above example, we have created three objects: obj1, obj2, and obj3 of the Employee struct.

Here, the code obj1 == obj2 returns true because both objects have the same value for properties name and salary.

Similarly, the code obj1 == obj2 returns false because both objects have the different values for properties name and salary.


Equatable Function

In the above example, we have compared all the properties of the struct.

However, sometimes we may want to compare selective properties of the type. In this case, we may use the equatable function inside the type. For example,

static func == (lhs: Employee, rhs: Employee) -> Bool {
    return lhs.salary == rhs.salary 
}

Here, lhs.salary == rhs.salary will only compare the salary property of two given objects.


Use of Equatable Function

struct Employee: Equatable {
    
  var name: String
  var salary: Int

  // create a equatable function to only compare age property         
  static func == (lhs: Employee, rhs: Employee) -> Bool {
    return lhs.salary == rhs.salary 
  }
}

// initialize two objects with different values for name property 
let obj1 = Employee(name: "Sabby", salary: 34000)
let obj2 = Employee(name: "Cathy", salary: 34000)

// compare obj1 and obj2
if obj1 == obj2 {
  print("obj1 and obj2 are equal")
}
else {
  print("obj1 and obj2 are not equal")
}

Output

obj1 and obj2 are equal

In the above example, we have used the ==() function to compare two instances on the basis of the salary property,

static func == (lhs: Employee, rhs: Employee) -> Bool {
    return lhs.salary == rhs.salary 
}

Here, the salary of ob1 and obj2 are the same, so the if block is executed..

If we provided the different value for salary, the else block would have been executed.

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