cloudkit_flutter 0.1.3
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CloudKit support for Flutter via CloudKit Web Services on Android & iOS

cloudkit_flutter #

CloudKit support for Flutter via CloudKit Web Services.

Support #

Currently, this library only supports Android (and iOS, although its usefulness there is fairly limited). The lack of Flutter Web support is due to one of the dependencies, webview_flutter, not supporting the Flutter Web platform 🙄.

Setup #

Within your app, there are two stages involved in setting up this library. First, you must initialize the API manager with your CloudKit container, environment, and API token. Second, you must create your model classes based on the record types in CloudKit.

API Initialization #

Before calls to the CloudKit API can be made, three values must be provided to the CKAPIManager:

  • CloudKit Container: The container ID used by CloudKit, which is typically iCloud. + your bundle ID.
  • CloudKit API Token: A token which must be created via the CloudKit dashboard. Importantly, you must select the last option ('cloudkit-' + container id + '://') within 'URL Redirect' for the 'Sign in Callback'. The custom URL can be any short string, such as 'redirect'.
  • CloudKit Environment: Changes whether the production or development environment is used. Corresponding strings are provided in the CKEnvironment class.

To initialize the manager, these three values must be passed into CKAPIManager.initManager(String container, String apiToken, String environment) async. This call should preferably be done in conjunction with the reflection setup initialization, as described below.

Model Classes - Annotation #

In this library, model classes must be annotated and then scanned so that reflection can be used to seamlessly convert JSON CloudKit records to a local Dart object.

There are three main types of annotations used in model files:

  • @CKRecordTypeAnnotation: to denote the name of the record type on CloudKit, and placed before the class declaration
  • @CKRecordNameAnnotation: to label the field within the local class where the CloudKit record name (a UUID) is stored
  • @CKFieldAnnotation: to associate fields in the local Dart object with record fields in CloudKit

Additionally, for the class to be scanned via reflection, you must tag the class with @reflector before the class declaration.

Below is an example of these annotations being used in a Dart file:

import 'package:cloudkit_flutter/cloudkit_flutter_model.dart';

@reflector
@CKRecordTypeAnnotation("Schedule")  // The name of the CloudKit record type is included in the annotation
class Schedule
{
  @CKRecordNameAnnotation() // No CloudKit record field name is needed as the field is always 'recordName'
  String? uuid;
  
  @CKFieldAnnotation("scheduleCode") // The name of the CloudKit record field is included in the annotation
  String? code;
  
  @CKFieldAnnotation("periodTimes")
  List<String>? blockTimes;
  
  @CKFieldAnnotation("periodNumbers")
  List<int>? blockNumbers;
}

Model Classes - Supported Field Types #

Currently, most of the field types supported in CloudKit can be used in local model classes.

Many are fairly basic:

  • String
  • int
  • double
  • DateTime
  • List<String>
  • List<int>

There are a couple that require some explanation:

  • CKReference / List<CKReference>: The reference field type in CloudKit is used to create relations between two record types. The CKReference class has been created to represent this relation. To fetch the object associated with the reference, simply call the fetchFromCloud<T>() function, providing the corresponding local type (in place of T) when doing so.
  • CKAsset: The asset field type in CloudKit allows for the storage of literal bytes of data as a discrete asset. One common use for this type is to store an image. The CKAsset class has been created to represent this type, and it likewise has a fetchAsset() function to retrieve and cache the stored bytes. It also includes a getAsImage() function to convert the cached bytes to an image, if possible.
  • Subclasses of CKCustomFieldType: See below.

*More base field types will be added in later versions

Model Classes - Custom Field Types #

Sometimes, a field within a CloudKit database only stores a raw value, to be later converted into an enum or more fully defined class when it reaches an app. To allow for custom classes to be used as types within model classes, the CKCustomFieldType class has been created.

There are several requirements for a subclass of CKCustomFieldType:

  • The class itself must provide a raw value type within the class declaration
  • There must be a default constructor which calls super.fromRecordField(T rawValue)
  • There must be a fromRecordField(T rawValue) constructor
  • The class must be tagged with @reflector, similar to the model classes

Below is a basic example of a custom field type class, Gender, which has int as its raw value type:

import 'package:cloudkit_flutter/cloudkit_flutter_model.dart';

@reflector
class Gender extends CKCustomFieldType<int>
{
  // Static instances of Gender with a raw value and name
  static final female = Gender.withName(0, "Female");
  static final male = Gender.withName(1, "Male");
  static final other = Gender.withName(2, "Other");
  static final unknown = Gender.withName(3, "Unknown");
  static final genders = [female, male, other, unknown];
  
  String name;
  
  // Required constructors
  Gender() : name = unknown.name, super.fromRecordField(unknown.rawValue);
  Gender.fromRecordField(int raw) : name = genders[raw].name, super.fromRecordField(raw);
  
  // Used to create static instances above
  Gender.withName(int raw, String name) : name = name, super.fromRecordField(raw);
  
  // The default toString() for CKCustomFieldType outputs the rawValue, but here it makes more sense to output the name
  @override
  String toString() => name;
}

Model Classes - Reflection Setup #

Whenever you make changes to your model classes or CKCustomFieldType subclasses, you must regenerate object code to allow for reflection to be used within the library. First, ensure that the build_runner package is installed in your app's pubspec, as it is required to run the following command. Next, generate the object code by running flutter pub run build_runner build lib from the root folder of your Flutter project.

After the code has been generated, call initializeReflectable() (found within generated *.reflectable.dart files) at the start of your app before any other library calls are made. Finally, you must indicate to the CKRecordParser class which model classes should be scanned. Before doing this, ensure that initializeReflectable() has been called. Then, scan the model classes via the CKRecordParser.createRecordStructures(List<Type>) function, listing the names of the local model classes. To scan the Schedule class for example, we would call CKRecordParser.createRecordStructures([Schedule]). This call should preferably be done in conjunction with the API Initialization, as described above.

Usage #

The main way to access the CloudKit API is through CKOperation, which is run though the execute() function. There are multiple kinds of operations, which are described below.

Operations #

On creation, all operations require a string argument for the database (public, shared, private) to be used for the request. Optionally, a specific instance of a CKAPIManager can be passed in, although the shared instance is used by default. Additionally, a BuildContext can be optionally passed into the operation, in the off-chance that an iCloud sign-in view is necessary.

CKCurrentUserOperation

This operation fetches the CloudKit ID of the current user. It is also the simplest way to test if the user is signed in to iCloud, which is necessary to access the private database. Hence, the operation can be called at app launch or via a button to initiate the iCloud sign-in prompt.

Besides the default arguments for an operation as described above, this operation does not require any additional arguments.

Returned from the execute() call is the CloudKit ID of the signed-in user as a string.

CKRecordQueryOperation

This operation is the main method to retrieve records from CloudKit.

When creating the operation, you must pass in a local type for the operation to receive. For example: CKRecordQueryOperation<Schedule>(CKDatabase.PUBLIC_DATABASE) would fetch all Schedule records from the public database. Optionally, you can pass in a specific CKZone (zoneID), a List<CKFilter> (filters), or a List<CKSortDescriptor (sortDescriptors) to organize the results. You can also pass in a bool (preloadAssets) to indicate whether any CKAsset fields in fetched records should be preloaded.

Returned from the execute() call is an array of local objects with the type provided to the operation.

*More operations will be added in later versions

Request Models #

In addition to the multiple kinds of operations, CloudKit provides several request parameters within its API, represented in this library by the classes below.

CKFilter

Filters are created through four main values: the name of the CloudKit record field to compare (fieldName), the CKFieldType of that record field (fieldType), the value to be compared against (fieldValue), and the CKComparator object for the desired comparison.

CKSortDescriptor

Sort descriptors are created through two main values: the name of the CloudKit record field to sort by (fieldName) and a boolean to indicate the direction (ascending).

CKZone

Zone objects are currently only containers for a zone ID string (zoneName), and can be used to specify a specific CloudKit zone for an operation. A zone object with an empty zone name will be set to the default zone.

CKQuery

Query objects are containers to store the CloudKit record type (recordType), a List<CKFilter> (filterBy), and a List<CKSortDescriptor> (sortBy).

CKRecordQueryRequest

Record query request objects represent the information needed to perform a CKRecordQueryOperation, including a CKZone (zoneID), a result limit (resultsLimit), and a CKQuery object (query).

Import points #

To reduce the amount of included classes, you can choose to import a single section of the library, as described below.

cloudkit_flutter.dart #

Includes all exposed classes.

cloudkit_flutter_init.dart #

Includes classes necessary to initialize the API manager (CKAPIManager) and record parser (CKRecordParser).

cloudkit_flutter_model.dart #

Includes classes necessary to annotate model files (CKRecordTypeAnnotation, CKRecordNameAnnotation, CKFieldAnnotation), use special field types (CKReference, CKAsset), and create custom field types (CKCustomFieldType).

cloudkit_flutter_api.dart #

Includes classes necessary to call the CloudKit API (CKOperation + subclasses, CKZone, CKFilter, CKSortDescriptor).

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Publisher

jacksonjude.com

CloudKit support for Flutter via CloudKit Web Services on Android & iOS

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License

BSD (LICENSE)

Dependencies

build_runner, flutter, http, reflectable, shared_preferences, webview_flutter

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