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4
Prototyping Supplementary Views Written by Audrey Tam

Your app still needs three more full-screen views:

  • Welcome
  • History
  • Success

In the previous chapter, you laid out the Exercise view. In this chapter, you’ll lay out the History and Welcome views then complete the challenge to create the Success view. And your app’s prototype will be complete.

Creating the History view

Skills you’ll learn in this section: working with dates; extending a type; Quick Help comments; creating forms; looping over a collection; layering views with ZStack; stack alignment values

In this chapter, you’ll just do a mock-up of the list view. After you create the data model in the next chapter, you’ll modify this view to use that data.

➤ Continue with your project from the previous chapter or open the project in this chapter’s starter folder.

➤ Create a new SwiftUI View file named HistoryView.swift. For this mock-up, add some sample history data to HistoryView, above body:

let today = Date()
let yesterday = Date().addingTimeInterval(-86400)

let exercises1 = ["Squat", "Step Up", "Burpee", "Sun Salute"]
let exercises2 = ["Squat", "Step Up", "Burpee"]

You’ll display exercises completed over two days.

➤ Replace Text("Hello, World!") with this code:

VStack {
  Text("History")
    .font(.title)
    .padding()
  // Exercise history
}

You’ve created the title for this view with some padding around it.

Creating a form

SwiftUI has a container view that automatically formats its contents to look organized.

➤ Inside the VStack, replace // Exercise history with this code:

Form {
  Section(
    header:
    Text(today.formatted(as: "MMM d"))
      .font(.headline)) {
    // Section content
  }
  Section(
    header:
    Text(yesterday.formatted(as: "MMM d"))
      .font(.headline)) {
    // Section content
  }
}

Inside the Form container view, you create two sections. Each Section has a header with the date, using headline font size.

This code takes yesterday and today’s date as the section headers, so your view will have different dates from the one below:

History Form with two Sections
History Form with two Sections

Extending the Date type

When you created the timer view, you had a quick look at the Swift Date type and used one of its methods. It’s now time to learn a little more about it.

Swift Tip: A Date object is just some number of seconds relative to January 1, 2001 00:00:00 UTC. To display it as a calendar date in a particular time zone, you must use a DateFormatter. This class has a few built-in styles named short, medium, long and full, described in links from the developer documentation page for DateFormatter.Style. You can also specify your own format as a String.

➤ Open DateExtension.swift. The first method shows how to use a DateFormatter.

func formatted(as format: String) -> String {
  let dateFormatter = DateFormatter()
  dateFormatter.dateFormat = format
  return dateFormatter.string(from: self)
}

DateFormatter has only the default empty initializer. You create one, then configure it by setting the properties you care about. This method uses its format argument to set the dateFormat property.

In HistoryView, you pass "MMM d" as format. This specifies three characters for the month — so you get SEP or OCT — and one character for the day — so you get a number. If the number is a single digit, that’s what you see. If you specify "MM dd", you get numbers for both month and day, with leading 0 if the number is single digit: 09 02 instead of SEP 2.

Once you’ve configured dateFormatter, its string(from:) method returns the date string.

You don’t have to worry about time zones if you simply want the user’s current time zone. That’s the default setting.

Formatting Quick Help comments

Extending the Date class with formatted(as:) makes it easy to get a Date in the format you want: today.formatted(as: "MMM d").

Swift Tip: You can add methods to extend any type, including those built into the software development kit, like Image and Date. Then, you can use them the same way you use the built-in methods.

➤ Look at the comment above the formatted(as:) method:

/// Format a date using the specified format.
///   - parameters:
///     - format: A date pattern string like "MM dd".

This is a special kind of comment. It appears in Xcode’s Quick Help when you Option-click the method name:

DIY Quick Help documentation comment
DIY Quick Help documentation comment

It looks just like all the built-in method summaries!

It’s good practice to document all the methods you write this way. Apple’s documentation for Formatting Quick Help is at apple.co/33hohbk.

Looping over a collection

➤ Now, head back to HistoryView.swift to fill in the section content.

To display the completed exercises for each day, you’ll use ForEach to loop over the elements of the exercises1 and exercises2 arrays.

➤ In the first Section, replace // Section content with this code:

ForEach(exercises1, id: \.self) { exercise in
  Text(exercise)
}

In ContentView, you looped over a number range. Here, you’re using the third ForEach initializer:

init(Data, id: KeyPath<Data.Element, ID>, content: (Data.Element) -> Content)

The exercises1 array is the Data and \.self is the key path to each array element’s identifier. The \.self key path just says each element of the array is its own unique identifier.

As the loop visits each array element, you assign it to the local variable exercise, which you display in a Text view.

➤ In the second Section, replace // Section content with the almost identical code:

ForEach(exercises2, id: \.self) { exercise in
  Text(exercise)
}

This time, you display the exercises2 array.

➤ Refresh the preview to admire your exercise history:

History list for two days
History list for two days

Creating a button in another layer

In Chapter 6, “Adding Functionality to Your App”, you’ll implement this view to appear as a modal sheet, so it needs a button to dismiss it. You’ll often see a dismiss button in the upper right corner of a modal sheet. The easiest way to place it there, without disturbing the layout of the rest of HistoryView, is to put it in its own layer.

If you think of an HStack as arranging its contents along the device’s x-axis and a VStack arranging views along the y-axis, then the ZStack container view stacks its contents along the z-axis, perpendicular to the device screen. Think of it as a depth stack, displaying views in layers.

Command-click VStack to embed it in a ZStack, then add this code at the top of ZStack:

Button(action: {}) {
  Image(systemName: "xmark.circle")
}

Here’s the top part of your view now:

Dismiss button outline
Dismiss button outline

The button is centered in the view, because the default stack alignment is center. Because you added the Button code above the VStack in the source code, it’s underneath the VStack on screen, so you see only its outline.

The arrangement is a little counter-intuitive unless you think of it as placing the first view down on a flat surface, then layering the next view on top of that, and so on. So declaring the button as the first view places it on the bottom of the stack. If you want the button in the top layer, declare it last in the ZStack.

It doesn’t matter in this case, because you’ll move the button into the top right corner of the view, where there’s nothing in the VStack to cover it.

You can specify an alignment value for any kind of stack, but they use different alignment values. VStack alignment values are horizontal: leading, center or trailing. HStack alignment values are vertical: top, center, bottom, firstTextBaseline or lastTextBaseline.

To specify the alignment of a ZStack, you must set both horizontal and vertical alignment values. You can either specify separate horizontal and vertical values, or a combined value like topTrailing.

➤ Replace ZStack { with this:

ZStack(alignment: .topTrailing) {

You set the ZStack alignment parameter to position the button in the top right corner of the view. Other views in the ZStack have their own alignment values, so the ZStack alignment value doesn’t affect them.

The button is now visible, but it’s small and a little too close to the corner edges.

➤ Add these modifiers to the Button to adjust its size and position:

.font(.title)
.padding(.trailing)

Refresh the preview to see the result:

History view with dismiss button in top trailing corner
History view with dismiss button in top trailing corner

Creating the Welcome view

Skills you’ll learn in this section: refactoring/renaming a parameter; modifying images; using a custom modifier; Button label with text and image

➤ Open WelcomeView.swift.

WelcomeView is the first page in your app’s page-style TabView, so it should have the same header as ExerciseView.

➤ Replace Text("Hello, World!") with this line:

HeaderView(exerciseName: "Welcome")

You want the title of this page to be “Welcome”, so you pass this as the value of the exerciseName parameter. HeaderView also displays the page numbers of the four exercises:

Welcome view header: First try
Welcome view header: First try

Refactoring HeaderView

Using HeaderView here raises two issues:

  1. There’s no page number for the Welcome page.
  2. The parameter name exerciseName isn’t a good description of “Welcome”.

The first issue is easy to resolve. The app has only one non-exercise page, so you just need to add another page ”number” in HeaderView.

➤ In HeaderView.swift, in the canvas preview, duplicate the 1.circle Image, then change the first Image to display a hand wave:

Image(systemName: "hand.wave")

➤ Refresh the preview to see how it looks:

Header with hand-wave SF Symbol for Welcome page
Header with hand-wave SF Symbol for Welcome page

That’ll do nicely.

Now to rename the exerciseName property. Its purpose is really to be the title of the page, so titleText is a better name for it.

You could search for all occurrences of exerciseName in your app, then decide for each whether to change it to titleText. In a more complex app, this approach almost guarantees you’ll forget one or change one that shouldn’t change.

Xcode has a safer way!

Command-click the first occurrence of exerciseName and select Rename… from the menu:

Command-click exerciseName, select Rename.
Command-click exerciseName, select Rename.

Note: If you Command-click exerciseName in Text(exerciseName), you’ll see the longer menu that includes Embed in HStack etc. Rename… is at the bottom of this menu.

Xcode displays all the code statements that need to change:

Xcode shows code affected by name change.
Xcode shows code affected by name change.

➤ The first instance is highlighted differently. Type titleText, and all the instances change:

Change exerciseName to titleText.
Change exerciseName to titleText.

➤ Click the Rename button in the upper right corner to confirm these changes, then head back to WelcomeView.swift to see the results:

Welcome view with refactored Header view: issues resolved
Welcome view with refactored Header view: issues resolved

That’s better! The user sees a page icon, and the programmer sees a descriptive parameter.

More layering with ZStack

So far, so good, but the header should be at the top of the page. There’s also a History button that should be at the bottom of the page. The main content should be centered in the view, independent of the heights of the header and button.

In HistoryView, you used a ZStack to position the dismiss button in the upper right corner (topTrailing), without affecting the layout of the other content.

In this view, you’ll use a ZStack to put the header and History button in one layer, to push them apart. Then you’ll create the main content in another layer, centered by default.

➤ First, embed HeaderView in a VStack, then embed that VStack in a ZStack.

ZStack {
  VStack {
    HeaderView(titleText: "Welcome")
  }
}

➤ In the VStack, below HeaderView, add this code:

Spacer()
Button("History") { }
  .padding(.bottom)

You have the header and the History button in a VStack, with a Spacer to push them apart and some padding so the button isn’t too close to the bottom edge:

Welcome view header and footer
Welcome view header and footer

➤ Now to fill in the middle space. Add this layer to the ZStack:

VStack {
  HStack {
    VStack(alignment: .leading) {
      Text("Get fit")
        .font(.largeTitle)
      Text("with high intensity interval training")
        .font(.headline)
    }
  }
}

Note: You can add this VStack either above or below the existing VStack. It doesn’t matter because there’s no overlapping content in the two layers.

Welcome view center text
Welcome view center text

The inner VStack contains two Text views with different font sizes. You set its alignment to leading to left-justify the two Text views.

This VStack is in an HStack because you’re going to place an Image to the right of the text. And the HStack is in an outer VStack because you’ll add a Button below the text and image.

Modifying an Image

➤ Look in Assets.xcassets for the step-up image:

step-up image in Assets
step-up image in Assets

➤ Back in WelcomeView.swift, open the Library with Shift-Command-L (or click the + toolbar button) and select the media tab:

Add image from canvas library.
Add image from canvas library.

➤ To insert step-up in the correct place, it’s easiest to drag it into the code editor. Hold onto it while nudging the code with the cursor, until a line opens, just below the VStack with two Text views. Let go of the image, and it appears in your code:

HStack {
  VStack(alignment: .leading) {
    Text("Get fit")
      .font(.largeTitle)
    Text("with high intensity interval training")
      .font(.headline)
  }
  Image("step-up")  // your new code appears here
}

➤ You usually have to add several modifiers to an Image, so open the Attributes inspector in the inspectors panel:

Open Attributes inspector in the inspector panel.
Open Attributes inspector in the inspector panel.

Note: If you don’t see Image with a value of step-up, select the image. You might have to close then reopen the inspector panel.

➤ First, you must add a modifier that lets you resize the image. In the Add Modifier field, type resiz then select Resizable.

Select Resizable modifier.
Select Resizable modifier.

Don’t worry if the image stretches. You’ll fix that with the next modifier.

➤ When resizing an image, you usually want to preserve the aspect ratio. So search for an aspect modifier and select Aspect Ratio:

Select Aspect Ratio modifier.
Select Aspect Ratio modifier.

➤ The suggested contentMode value is fill, which is what you usually want, so press Return to accept it.

➤ Now the image looks more normal, but it’s too big. In the Frame section, set the Width and Height to 240:

Set Frame Width and Height to 240.
Set Frame Width and Height to 240.

That’s looking pretty good! How about clipping it to a circle?

➤ Search for a clip modifier and select Clip Shape:

Select Clip Shape modifier.
Select Clip Shape modifier.

➤ Again, the suggestion Circle() is what you want, so accept it.

Your HStack code and canvas now look like this:

Welcome view center view
Welcome view center view

➤ You need just one more tweak: The text would look better if you align it with the bottom of the image. Just change the alignment of the enclosing HStack:

HStack(alignment: .bottom)

And here’s your Welcome page:

Welcome view center view with text aligned to bottom of HStack
Welcome view center view with text aligned to bottom of HStack

You’ve done enough to make it look welcoming. :] In Chapter 10, “Refining Your App”, you’ll add a few more images.

Using a custom modifier

You’ll use this triplet of Image modifiers all the time:

.resizable()
.aspectRatio(contentMode: .fill)
.frame(width: 240.0, height: 240.0)

Everyone does, although the frame dimensions won’t always be 240. In ImageExtension.swift, you’ll find resizedToFill(width:height:) which encapsulates these three modifiers:

func resizedToFill(width: CGFloat, height: CGFloat) 
-> some View {
  return self
    .resizable()
    .aspectRatio(contentMode: .fill)
    .frame(width: width, height: height)
}

It extends the Image view, so self is the Image you’re modifying with resizedToFill(width:height:).

➤ To use this custom modifier, head back to WelcomeView.swift. Comment out (Command-/) or delete the first three modifiers of Image("step-up"), then add this custom modifier:

.resizedToFill(width: 240, height: 240)

And the view looks the same, but there’s a little less code.

Labeling a Button with text and image

The final detail is a Button. The user can tap this to move to the first exercise page, but the label also has an arrow image to indicate they can swipe to the next page.

The other buttons you’ve created have only text labels. But it’s easy to label a Button with text and an image.

➤ In the center view VStack, below the HStack with the image, add this code:

Button(action: { }) {
  Text("Get Started")
  Image(systemName: "arrow.right.circle")
}
.font(.title2)
.padding()

Welcome view Get Started button
Welcome view Get Started button

This code is quite different from the other buttons you’ve created and requires some explanation. SwiftUI uses a lot of syntactic sugar: Instead of using the official method calls, SwiftUI lets you write code that’s much simpler and more readable.

If you start typing Button in the code editor, Xcode will auto-suggest this official Button signature:

Button(action: {}, label: {
  <Content>
})

Button has two parameters: action is a method or a closure containing executable code; label is a view describing the button’s action. Both parameter values can be closures, so action can be more than one executable statement, and label can be more than one view.

Swift Tip: You can move the last closure argument of a function call outside the parentheses into a trailing closure.

If you drag a Button into your view from the canvas library, you get this version of the Button signature with the label content as a trailing closure:

Button(action: {} ) {
  <Content>
}

This is the syntax used in the “Get Started” Button above, with the Text and Image views in an implicit HStack.

The other buttons you’ve created use an even simpler syntax for Button, where the button’s label is just a String, and the button’s action is in the trailing closure. For example:

Button("History") { }

➤ The Label view is another way to label a Button with text and image. Comment out (Command-/) the Text and Image lines, then write this line in the label closure:

Label("Get Started", systemImage: "arrow.right.circle")

Look closely: Do you see what changed?

Welcome view Get Started button with Label view
Welcome view Get Started button with Label view

Note: You can modify a Label with labelStyle to show only the text or only the image.

The image is on the left side of the text. This looks wrong to me: An arrow pointing right should appear after the text. Unfortunately for this particular Button, there’s no way to make the image appear to the right of the text, unless you’re using a language like Arabic that’s written right-to-left. Label is ideal for icon-text lists, where you want the icons nicely aligned on the leading edge.

➤ Delete the Label and uncomment the Text and Image.

➤ Just for fun, give this button a border. Add this modifier below padding():

.background(
  RoundedRectangle(cornerRadius: 20)
  .stroke(Color.gray, lineWidth: 2))

Welcome view Get Started button with border
Welcome view Get Started button with border

You put a rounded rectangle around the padded button, specifying the corner radius, line color and line width.

Challenge

When your users tap Done on the last exercise page, your app will show a modal sheet to congratulate them on their success.

Your challenge is to create this SuccessView:

Challenge: Create this Success view.
Challenge: Create this Success view.

Challenge: Creating the Success view

  1. Create a new SwiftUI View file named SuccessView.swift.
  2. Replace its Text view with a VStack containing the hand.raised.fill SF Symbol and the text in the screenshot.
  3. The SF Symbol is in a 75 by 75 frame and colored purple. Hint: Use the custom Image modifier.
  4. For the large “High Five!” title, you can use the fontWeight modifier to emphasize it more.
  5. For the three small lines of text, you could use three Text views. Or refer to our Swift Style Guide bit.ly/30cHeeL to see how to create a multi-line string. Text has a multilineTextAlignment modifier. This text is colored gray.
  6. Like HistoryView, SuccessView needs a button to dismiss it. Center a Continue button at the bottom of the screen. Hint: Use a ZStack so the “High Five!” view remains vertically centered.

Here’s a close-up of the “High Five!” view:

Success view center view
Success view center view

You’ll find the solution to this challenge in the challenge folder for this chapter.

Key points

  • The Date type has many built-in properties and methods. You need to configure a DateFormatter to create meaningful text to show your users.
  • Use the Form container view to quickly lay out table data.
  • ForEach lets you loop over the items in a collection.
  • ZStack is useful for keeping views in one layer centered while pushing views in another layer to the edges.
  • You can specify vertical alignment values for HStack, horizontal alignment values for VStack and combination alignment values for ZStack.
  • Xcode helps you to refactor the name of a parameter quickly and safely.
  • Image often needs the same three modifiers. You can create a custom modifier so you Don’t Repeat Yourself.
  • A Button has a label and an action. You can define a Button a few different ways.

Where to go from here?

Your views are all laid out. You’re eager to implement all the button actions. But … you’ve been using hard-coded sample data to lay out your views. Before you can make everything work, you need to design your data model. The Model-View-Controller division of labor still applies. And you’ll learn lots more about Swift and Xcode.

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