Majid's Blog about Swift development

Building forms with SwiftUI

Apple finally released Xcode Beta 2 with an updated version of SwiftUI. The current version has a Form component which appeared on WWDC sessions. Today we are going to build form styled layout with SwiftUI. I want to show you a real-life example of the settings screen built with SwiftUI’s new Form component.

I work on a sleep tracking app, which needs settings screen. Settings screen should contain multiple toggles for enabling and disabling some features, buttons for in-app purchases, and a picker for tuning sleep tracking sensitivity level.

BindableObject for Settings logic

Let’s start by creating BindableObject representing our Settings logic. I’ve talked about BindableObject in my previous post, and you can check it to learn how to use it.

import SwiftUI
import Combine

class SettingsStore: BindableObject {
    var didChange = PassthroughSubject<Void, Never>()

    private enum Keys {
        static let pro = "pro"
        static let sleepGoal = "sleep_goal"
        static let notificationEnabled = "notifications_enabled"
        static let sleepTrackingEnabled = "sleep_tracking_enabled"
        static let sleepTrackingMode = "sleep_tracking_mode"
    }

    private let cancellable: Cancellable
    private let defaults: UserDefaults

    init(defaults: UserDefaults = .standard) {
        self.defaults = defaults

        defaults.register(defaults: [
            Keys.sleepGoal: 8,
            Keys.sleepTrackingEnabled: true,
            Keys.sleepTrackingMode: SleepTrackingMode.moderate.rawValue
            ])

        cancellable = NotificationCenter.default
            .publisher(for: UserDefaults.didChangeNotification)
            .map { _ in () }
            .subscribe(didChange)
    }

    var isNotificationEnabled: Bool {
        set { defaults.set(newValue, forKey: Keys.notificationEnabled) }
        get { defaults.bool(forKey: Keys.notificationEnabled) }
    }

    var isPro: Bool {
        set { defaults.set(newValue, forKey: Keys.pro) }
        get { defaults.bool(forKey: Keys.pro) }
    }

    var isSleepTrackingEnabled: Bool {
        set { defaults.set(newValue, forKey: Keys.sleepTrackingEnabled) }
        get { defaults.bool(forKey: Keys.sleepTrackingEnabled) }
    }

    var sleepGoal: Int {
        set { defaults.set(newValue, forKey: Keys.sleepGoal) }
        get { defaults.integer(forKey: Keys.sleepGoal) }
    }

    enum SleepTrackingMode: String, CaseIterable {
        case low
        case moderate
        case aggressive
    }

    var sleepTrackingMode: SleepTrackingMode {
        get {
            return defaults.string(forKey: Keys.sleepTrackingMode)
                .flatMap { SleepTrackingMode(rawValue: $0) } ?? .moderate
        }

        set {
            defaults.set(newValue.rawValue, forKey: Keys.sleepTrackingMode)
        }
    }
}

extension SettingsStore {
    func unlockPro() {
        // You can do your in-app transactions here
        isPro = true
    }

    func restorePurchase() {
        // You can do you in-app purchase restore here
        isPro = true
    }
}

Here we have a simple SettingsStore class which conforms to BindableObject protocol. The single requirement is didChange property. SwiftUI uses this property to understand when something is changed, and as soon as changes appear, it rebuilds the depending views.

Another interesting point here is the usage of Combine framework. We use notification center publisher to subscribe on UserDefaults changes. As soon as UserDefault values change we get a notification and then we send it to didChange property. I will try to cover an introduction to Combine framework in future posts. But for now, you have to know that every change in UserDefaults sends Void value to didChange property, which triggers View rebuild process.

We can replace usage of NotificationCenter publisher by calling send method of didChange property in the every property setter inside the SettingsStore, but it looks like boilerplate. So let’s keep it like this.

SettingsView

Let’s start to build our settings screen UI. We will use Text, Toggle, Stepper, Picker, and Button components. Here is the source code of our SettingsView.

import SwiftUI

struct SettingsView: View {
    @EnvironmentObject var settings: SettingsStore

    var body: some View {
        NavigationView {
            Form {
                Section(header: Text("Notifications settings")) {
                    Toggle(isOn: $settings.isNotificationEnabled) {
                        Text("Notification:")
                    }
                }

                Section(header: Text("Sleep tracking settings")) {
                    Toggle(isOn: $settings.isSleepTrackingEnabled) {
                        Text("Sleep tracking:")
                    }

                    Picker(
                        selection: $settings.sleepTrackingMode,
                        label: Text("Sleep tracking mode")
                    ) {
                        ForEach(SettingsStore.SleepTrackingMode.allCases.identified(by: \.self)) {
                            Text($0.rawValue).tag($0)
                        }
                    }

                    Stepper(value: $settings.sleepGoal, in: 6...12) {
                        Text("Sleep goal is \(settings.sleepGoal) hours")
                    }
                }

                if !settings.isPro {
                    Section {
                        Button(action: {
                            self.settings.unlockPro()
                        }) {
                            Text("Unlock PRO")
                        }

                        Button(action: {
                            self.settings.restorePurchase()
                        }) {
                            Text("Restore purchase")
                        }
                    }
                }
                }
                .navigationBarTitle(Text("Settings"))
        }
    }
}

As you can see we are wrapping our layout code inside the Form component. Form component uses grouped List to present every child inside the cell. By wrapping layout inside the Form, SwiftUI changes the visual appearance for every element. You can simply replace the Form with VStack to check the difference between them. Even Picker looks different. It uses a separated screen with List to show the items. We don’t need to do something, and we have this behavior out of the box. This is where the real power of declarative programming is coming. Every component has different adaptive appearances, which we can easily change by wrapping it into another container. Here is the screenshot of the final result.

Settings screen

Conclusion

I enjoy how easy we can build apps with SwiftUI. You can use Form component for making complex Form layouts with a lot of sections and choices for data entry. I hope you love SwiftUI as much as me because I’m going to cover more SwiftUI topics soon. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask your questions related to this post. Thanks for reading and see you next week!