Build a complete iOS messaging app using XMPPFramework – Part 2

First steps: XMPPFramework

Build a complete iOS messaging app using XMPPFramework is a tutorial that shows you how to build a fully functional instant messaging iOS app using the very cool XMPPFramework protocol and Swift3. In this part, we are going to get our hands dirty! To recap on the theory, or if you just landed here randomly, have a quick read through the first part, then get your Xcode ready and let’s start!

In this issue we are going to be integrating the library to our project, creating a connection with the server and authenticating. The XMPPFramework library is the most used XMPP library for iOS and macOS. At the beginning it may be a little bit overwhelming but after a few days working with it you will learn to love it.

Installing the library

Let’s create a brand new Xcode project and install the library. In this tutorial we are going to be using Swift 3. The easiest way to integrate XMPPFramework to the project is using CocoaPods.

Let’s create our Podfile using the pod init command in the folder where our .xcodeproj lives. There are thousands of forks but the maintained one is the original: robbiehanson/XMPPFramework.

So let’s add the pod to our Podfile and remember to uncomment the use_frameworks!.


target 'CrazyMessages' do
    pod 'XMPPFramework', :git=> '', :branch => 'master'

Then pod install and CocoaPods is going to do its magic and create a .xcworkspace with the library integrated. Now we just need to import XMPPFramework in the files we want to use the library and that’s it.

Starting to build our Instant Messaging app

The most important thing in an XMPP application is the stream, that’s where we are going to “write” our stanzas, so we need an object that is going to hold it. We are going to create an XMPPController class with an XMPPStream:

import Foundation
import XMPPFramework

class XMPPController: NSObject {
    var xmppStream: XMPPStream

    init() {
        self.xmppStream = XMPPStream()  


We are dealing with a highly asynchronous library here. For every action we are going to have a response some time in the future. To handle this XMPPFramework defines the XMPPStreamDelegate. So implementing that delegate is going to help us answer lots of different questions like: “How do I know when XMPP has successfully connected?”, “How do I know if I’m correctly authenticated?”, “How do I know if I received a message?”. XMPPStreamDelegate is your friend!

So we have our XMPPController and our XMPPStream, what do we need to do now? Configure our stream with the hostNameport and ourJID. To provide all this info to the controller we are going to make some changes to the init to be able to receive all these parameters:

enum XMPPControllerError: Error {
    case wrongUserJID

class XMPPController: NSObject {
    var xmppStream: XMPPStream

    let hostName: String
    let userJID: XMPPJID
    let hostPort: UInt16
    let password: String

    init(hostName: String, userJIDString: String, hostPort: UInt16 = 5222, password: String) throws {
        guard let userJID = XMPPJID(string: userJIDString) else {
            throw XMPPControllerError.wrongUserJID

        self.hostName = hostName
        self.userJID = userJID
        self.hostPort = hostPort
        self.password = password

        // Stream Configuration
        self.xmppStream = XMPPStream()
        self.xmppStream.hostName = hostName
        self.xmppStream.hostPort = hostPort
        self.xmppStream.startTLSPolicy = XMPPStreamStartTLSPolicy.allowed
        self.xmppStream.myJID = userJID


        self.xmppStream.addDelegate(self, delegateQueue: DispatchQueue.main)

Our next step is going to actually connect to a server and authenticate using our userJID and password, so we are adding a connect method to our XMPPController.

func connect() {
    if !self.xmppStream.isDisconnected() {

   try! self.xmppStream.connect(withTimeout: XMPPStreamTimeoutNone)

But how do we know we have successfully connected to the server? As I said earlier, we need to check for a suitable delegate method from XMPPStreamDelegate. After we connect to the server we need to authenticate so we are going to do the following:

extension XMPPController: XMPPStreamDelegate {

    func xmppStreamDidConnect(_ stream: XMPPStream!) {
        print("Stream: Connected")
        try! stream.authenticate(withPassword: self.password)

    func xmppStreamDidAuthenticate(_ sender: XMPPStream!) {
        print("Stream: Authenticated")

We need to test this. Let’s just create an instance of XMPPController in the AppDelegate to test how it works:

try! self.xmppController = XMPPController(hostName: "",
                                     userJIDString: "",
                                          password: "password")

If everything goes fine we should see two messages in the logs but of course that’s not happening, we missed something. We never told to our xmppStream who was the delegate object! We need to add the following line after the super.init()

self.xmppStream.addDelegate(self, delegateQueue: DispatchQueue.main)

If we run the app again:

Stream: Connected
Stream: Authenticated

Success! We have our own XMPPController with a fully functional and authenticated stream!

Something that may catch your attention is how we are setting our delegate, we are not doing:

self.xmppStream.delegate = self

Why not? Because we can “broadcast” the events to multiple delegates, we can have 10 different objects implementing those methods. Also we can tell what’s the thread where we want to receive that call, in the previous example we want it in the main thread.

Getting a Log In

Our app is super ugly, let’s put on some makeup! We have nothing but an XMPPController and a hardcoded call in the AppDelegate. I’m going to create a ViewController that is going to be presented modally as soon as the app starts, that ViewController will have the neccesary fields/info to log in to the server.

I’m going to create a LogInViewControllerDelegate that is going to tell to our ViewController that the Log in button was pressed and that’s it. In that delegate implementation we are going to create our XMPPController, add the ViewControlleras delegate of the XMPPStream and connect!

extension ViewController: LogInViewControllerDelegate {

    func didTouchLogIn(sender: LogInViewController, userJID: String, userPassword: String, server: String) {
        self.logInViewController = sender

        do {
            try self.xmppController = XMPPController(hostName: server,
                                                     userJIDString: userJID,
                                                     password: userPassword)
            self.xmppController.xmppStream.addDelegate(self, delegateQueue: DispatchQueue.main)
        } catch {
            sender.showErrorMessage(message: "Something went wrong")

Why are we adding ViewController as a delegate of XMPPStream if our XMPPController alreay has that delegate implemented? Because we need to know if this connection and authentication was successfull or not in our ViewController so we are able to dismiss the LogInViewController or show an error message if something failed. This is why being able to add multiple delegates is so useful.

So as I said I’m going to make ViewController to comform to the XMPPStreamDelegate:

extension ViewController: XMPPStreamDelegate {

    func xmppStreamDidAuthenticate(_ sender: XMPPStream!) {
        self.logInViewController?.dismiss(animated: true, completion: nil)

    func xmppStream(_ sender: XMPPStream!, didNotAuthenticate error: DDXMLElement!) {
        self.logInViewController?.showErrorMessage(message: "Wrong password or username")


And that’s it! Our app can log in to our server as I’m showing here:


We’ve been talking a lot about XMPP, stanzas and streams… but is there a way I can see the stream? Yes SR! XMPPFramework got us covered!

XMPPFramework ships with CocoaLumberJack, a pretty well known logging framework. We just need to configure it, set the logging level we want and that’s it. Logs are going to start showing up!

Configuring CocoaLumberjack

This is a really simple task, you just need to add to your func application(application: UIApplication, didFinishLaunchingWithOptions ... method the following line (remember to import CocoaLumberjack):

DDLog.add(DDTTYLogger.sharedInstance(), with: DDLogLevel.all)

I’m not going to paste here all the connection process log because it makes no sense to try to understand what’s going on at this stage of our learning. But I think showing what some stanzas look like is a good idea. To do this I’m going to be sending messages from Adium.

I’m going to send this <message/>:

<message to="">
    <body>This is a message sent from Adium!</body>

Let’s see how it looks like when it reaches our app:

<message xmlns="jabber:client" from="" to="">
   <body>This is a message sent from Adium!</body>

Let’s send a <presence/> from Adium:

    <status>On vacation</status>

We are receiving:

<presence xmlns="jabber:client" from="" to="">
   <status>On vacation</status>

No doubts at all right? We send something and we receive it on the other end! That’s it!

Time to test

I want to be sure that you are understanding and following everything and not just copy and pasting from a tutorial (as I usually do 🙊). So if you are able to answer these questions you are on a good track!

  • Why am I sending a presence after successfully authenticating? What happens if I don’t send it?
  • What happens if I write a wrong server URL in the Log In form? How do I fix this problem if there is a problem…
  • How do I detect if suddenly the stream is disconnected from the server? (maybe a network outage?)
  • How do I detect if the user/password was wrong?

If you need help leave a message!

The sample project is on Github

The next part is going to be on Roster, and if I will have space I would also like to add sending and receiving messages. I’ve been kind of super busy lately so I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to deliver the next issue but I’ll try to work on it as soon as I have some free minutes to spare!

PS: Also take a look at MongooseIM, our XMPP based open source mobile messaging platform. 

Keep reading

Build a complete iOS messaging app using XMPP framework-tutorial-part 1

Build a complete iOS messaging app using XMPP framework-tutorial-part 1

This is an XMPP tutorial from an iOS developer’s perspective. This journey is going to go from no XMPP knowledge at all to having a fully functional instant messaging iOS app using this cool protocol.

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