Demo manager and API call mocking
Last modified on Tue 07 Jan 2020

Demo manager and API call mocking

If the project you're working on requires you to build a demo version of your application, or the API is not working at the moment (but you have a specification ready), your first thought might be to add an additional parameter to your API calls specifying whether the call should be executed or mocked. This would work, but it would also require a lot of copy-pasting, and every new API call you implement should follow the same logic.

It would get tiring quickly, so we've decided to make something better—a demo manager.

Its responsibility should be two things:

For API call mocking, we'll use OHTTPStubs, a library designed to stub network requests by using method swizzling. It works with NSURLConnection, NSURLSession, AFNetworking, Alamofire, or any networking framework that uses Cocoa's URL Loading System, so it's perfect for our use case.

This is what it looks like in code, step-by-step:

import UIKit
import Alamofire
import OHHTTPStubs

class DemoManager {

    static var instance = DemoManager()

    var isEnabled: Bool {
        get { return !OHHTTPStubs.allStubs().isEmpty }
        set(newValue) {
            switch newValue {
            case true: setupStubResponses()
            case false: OHHTTPStubs.removeAllStubs()

    private init() {}


Our demo manager here is a singleton, with one variable for switching it on/off. This single point of entry allows great flexibility. If we want to mock everything in the application, all we have to do is set the isEnabled parameter to true once at the start. However, if we want more specificity, we can start API call mocking only when we get to the screen which still doesn't have an API implementation ready on the backend side, and turn it off when we leave this screen.

private extension DemoManager {

    func setupStubResponses() {

    func stubSomething() {
            containing: Router.Something.path,
            statusCode: 200,
            from: "something_mocked"

    func stubUpdatingSomething() {
            containing: Router.Transactions.updateCategoryPath,
            method: .patch,
            statusCode: 200

    func stubSomethingWithPagination() {
            containing: Router.PaginatedSomething.path,
            queryParamPart: "cursor=1",
            statusCode: 200,
            from: "something_paginated"


Here, we can see the implementation of our setupStubResponses() method. It stubs three different API calls with responses from two JSON files—something_mocked and something_paginated, while the third call is mocked with just a 200 code telling us that the call was successful. Each call is mocked using the stubResponse() method with individual filtering parameters.

private extension DemoManager {

    func stubResponse(
        containing urlPart: String,
        queryParamPart: String? = nil,
        requiredHeaderValues: String?...,
        bodyPart: [String]? = nil,
        method: HTTPMethod? = .get,
        statusCode: Int32 = 200,
        from fileName: String? = nil
    ) {
            condition: { (request: URLRequest) -> Bool in
                if let method = method?.rawValue.uppercased(), request.httpMethod?.uppercased() != method { return false }

                //URL, query
                if !(request.url?.absoluteString.contains(urlPart) ?? false) { return false }
                if let part = queryParamPart, !(request.url?.absoluteString.contains(part) ?? false) { return false }

                if let parts = bodyPart,
                    let data = request.httpBody,
                    let body = String(data: data, encoding: .utf8) {
                    let bodyPartsPresent = parts
                        .map { body.contains($0) }
                        .reduce(true, Bool.and)
                    if !bodyPartsPresent { return false }

                let headers = request.allHTTPHeaderFields ?? [:]
                let headersOk = requiredHeaderValues
                    .compactMap { $0 }
                    .map { (headerValue) in return headers.contains { $0.value == headerValue } }
                    .reduce(true, Bool.and)

                if !headersOk { return false }

                return true
            response: { _ -> OHHTTPStubsResponse in
                guard let _fileName = fileName else {
                    return OHHTTPStubsResponse(data: Data(), statusCode: statusCode, headers: nil)

                let path = Bundle.main.path(forResource: _fileName, ofType: "json") ?? ""
                let headers = ["Content-Type": "application/json"]

                return fixture(filePath: path, status: statusCode, headers: headers)


This method is where the magic happens. It calls OHTTPStubs's stub() method which does the API call mocking using two closures—condition and response.

Condition closure

If the condition closure returns true, the response closure will be executed, and the API call will not be passed through to the server. Otherwise, it will be executed normally. In our implementation, we check if several parameters of the API call are included to determine whether we should mock it:

If all of our checks are successful, a response closure is called for mocking the API call. Otherwise, the call shouldn't be mocked, and it's forwarded to the server.

Response closure

The response closure is used to create the mocked response, and it uses two parameters passed into the stubResponse()statusCode and fileName. We load our mocked response from the file in our bundle using the specified file name and create the mocked response using the provided status code.

Closing words

As you can see, the demo manager has a wide variety of uses, from showing everything your application has to offer without firing a single actual API call, to making development faster when waiting for the API team to do their part.

One thing not mentioned above is the usefulness of OHTTPSStubs for writing tests. It can be used to write tests covering both cases when the API is working as intended, and to mock bad responses. All you need for that is the stubResponse() implementation inside your testing environment.