What is SwiftUI – Pros, Cons, and Features
SwiftUI is one of the most exciting development tools released by Apple, ever since the Swift platform itself was unveiled five years ago. The IT world is buzzing about SwiftUI because they finally got what they were asking for from Apple. They got a tool that allows spending more time developing cool new features for their users instead of having to waste a lot of time with the Interface Builder and storyboards. In this article, we will take a closer look at SwiftUI so you can start using it in your projects as well. Let’s start with the definition of SwiftUI.
What is SwiftUI?
SwiftUI is a new and constructive method of creating interfaces across all Apple platforms. In fact, you will now be able to create user interfaces for all Apple devices with one set of tools and APIs. The new and improved Swift syntax allows you to write the code with greater ease, and it will work seamlessly with all of the Xcode design tools. Specifically, the new SwiftUI framework offers the following benefits:
- Declarative syntax – This means that all you will have to do is tell the UI what you would like it to do. For example, you can write that you want several text fields and then enter all of the finer details, such as the font and alignment of each field.
- Design tools – A lot of work went into making the coding process easier for developers. One of the interesting SwiftUI components is the design canvas. During the coding process, all changes that you make are synchronized with the code in the adjacent editor. Also, all of the code that you enter will be visible as a preview right away. This makes programming custom mobile app simpler and easier.
- Native on all Apple platforms – Apple has a lot of experience in creating innovative products, and this is certainly evident when we look at SwiftUI. All of the Apple-specific experiences that the users enjoy will be present in the code that you create with SwiftUI, and all of your apps will have direct access to the technology of each platform.
The negatives of SwiftUI are:
- It supported in iOS13 – if you have an older version of iOS and your device does not support the newest version, you will not be able to enjoy the apps created with SwiftUI.
- No custom view extensions – The reason these do not exist is that the platform is so new, and the development community did not have the time to create them.
Now that we know all about the new iOS Swift user interface, let’s take a look at how it stacks up against tools that were used in the past.
SwiftUI vs. Interface Builder vs. Storyboards
Whenever a new product appears on the market, it is natural to wonder about how these new tools will compare to the ones that it is supposed to replace. Specifically, we are talking about Interface Builder (IB) and Storyboards. Let’s look at some essential functions to see how they compare and contrast:
- Editing – SwiftUI has the advantage here because Interface Builder has a lot of XML code, which is not easy to read or edit. Storyboards also do not lend itself well for editing because it has a tendency to get bigger and bigger, making it difficult to control any source changes. SwiftUI does not have this problem since editing is quite intuitive and straightforward.
- Creating functionality – One of the biggest problems with IB and Storyboard is that they do not know a whole lot about Swift and vice-versa. For example, with IB, it is possible to Ctrl-drag something right into the code and connects it to functionality. However, if you later decide to delete this code, IB will still compile it and call code that does not even exist. The Storyboard has similar issues when creating view controllers and other functions.
- Integrating with Swift – Before Apple released Swift, its product was centered around Objective-C. However, Swift has a lot of advantages over Objective-C, such as value types, protocol extensions, and many other things. The new SwiftUI design was created to enjoy all benefits Swift has to offer, whereas IB and Storyboard are all designed around Objective-C.
With all of this in mind, try using SwiftUI since it is distinctly better than the tools developers have become accustomed to using in the past. You will be amazed at how easy it is to create even complicated features.
How to Start SwiftUI
Getting started with SwiftUI is fairly straightforward. In fact, when the app first starts, the ContentView section will have a text that displays “Hello World.” Later on, you will start seeing the Preview section, which will display all of the changes you made. This will be a big blank space next to the code. Just click “Resume” and you should start seeing the preview appear. If nothing happens, try clicking “Editor Options” and then “Editor Canvas.” You can then go about creating your user interface with all of the many features that the SwiftUI offers.
We hope that all the information above was useful in giving you an idea of what SwiftUI is and the advantages it offers. While it may be challenging to switch from the tools that you are currently using, just give it a shot, and you will be surprised by all of the features that it offers. It is just a much simpler and more intuitive way of creating the apps and user interface that you always wanted.