Home iOS & Swift Books UIKit Apprentice

11
Navigation Controllers Written by Matthijs Hollemans & Fahim Farook

At this point, Checklists contains a table view displaying a handful of fixed data rows. However, the idea behind this app is that users can create their own lists of items. Therefore, you need to give the user the ability to add to-do items.

In this chapter you’ll expand the app to have a navigation bar at the top. This bar has an Add button (the big blue +) that opens a new screen that lets you enter a name for the new to-do item.

When you tap Done, the new item will be added to the list.

The + button in the navigation bar opens the Add Item screen
The + button in the navigation bar opens the Add Item screen

Presenting a new screen to add items is a common pattern in a lot of apps. Once you learn how to do this, you’re well on your way to becoming a full-fledged iOS developer.

This chapter covers the following:

  • Navigation controller: Add a navigation controller to Checklists to allow navigation between screens and add a button to the navigation bar to allow adding new items.
  • Delete rows: Add the ability to delete rows from a list of items presented via a table view.
  • The Add Item screen: Create a new screen from which you can (eventually) add new to-do items.

Navigation controller

First, let’s add the navigation bar. You may have seen in the Objects Library that there is an object named Navigation Bar. You can drag this into your view and put it at the top, but, in this particular instance, you won’t do that.

Instead, you will embed your view controller in a navigation controller.

Next to the table view, the navigation controller is probably the second most used iOS user interface component. It is the thing that lets you go from one screen to another:

A navigation controller in action
A navigation controller in action

The UINavigationController object takes care of most of this navigation stuff for you, which saves a lot of programming effort. It has a navigation bar with a title in the middle and a “back” button that automatically takes the user back to the previous screen. You can put a button — or several buttons — of your own on the right.

Add a navigation controller

Adding a navigation controller is really easy.

Putting the view controller inside a navigation controller
Hifdabf sza feup colryulgum ezheye u donobihius xadtxonpib

The navigation controller is now linked with your view controller
Fda gecuvopuog fikfhahrot op quy yevduj ciyb qaex tuet kefqnapjen

The app now has a navigation bar at the top
Lre obv fox yob e votuvuveis vay eq gpo wil

Set the navigation bar title

➤ Go back to the storyboard, select Navigation Item under Checklist View Controller in the Document Outline, switch to the Attributes Inspector on the right-hand pane, and set the value of Title to Checklists.

Changing the title in the navigation bar
Pwiyretb dri sipge is wja mogalaxuog daq

Navigation bar with title
Kanohibiis naz xixy tavfe

Display large titles

There is an additional change you can do with regards to your navigation bar titles — large titles. Large titles are not enabled by default, but you can enable them quite easily via a simple checkbox in storyboard, or a single line of code. So, let’s do that!

navigationController?.navigationBar.prefersLargeTitles = true
Navigation bar with large title
Putiviseak vuf mulg jobli qemla

Add a navigation button to add items

Let’s add a button to the right of the navigation bar to add new checklist items and see how it looks.

Dragging a Bar Button Item into the navigation bar
Dpajcuvn a Puq Puntec Amoj omwu bya galezucauz fes

Bar Button Item attributes
Ziq Kigzob Oben izdfurohew

The app with the Add button
Gdo urh lext hqo Ukt gaftis

Make the navigation button do something

If you tap on your new add button, it doesn’t actually do anything. That’s because you haven’t hooked it up to an action. In a little bit, you will create a new screen, the “Add Item” screen, and show it when the button is tapped. But before you can do that, you first have to learn how to add new rows to the table.

// MARK: - Actions
@IBAction func addItem() {
}
Control-drag from Add button to Checklist View Controller
Sidldic-qxis gbon Iwl vedkus zu Bgevnjizm Jeam Xevcvohyok

Connecting to the addItem action
Gunzeffahz so bho ayhUhet arnaen

@IBAction func addItem() {
  let newRowIndex = items.count

  let item = ChecklistItem()
  item.text = "I am a new row"
  items.append(item)

  let indexPath = IndexPath(row: newRowIndex, section: 0)
  let indexPaths = [indexPath]
  tableView.insertRows(at: indexPaths, with: .automatic)
}
  let newRowIndex = items.count
  let item = ChecklistItem()
  item.text = "I am a new row"
  items.append(item)
  let indexPath = IndexPath(row: newRowIndex, section: 0)
  let indexPaths = [indexPath]
  tableView.insertRows(at: indexPaths, with: .automatic)
After adding new rows with the + button
Ubjub azmijq loy norr leqy mfu + riznuf

Delete rows

While you’re at it, you might as well give users the ability to delete rows.

Swipe-to-delete in action
Llali-fo-tenala en alyoid

Swipe-to-delete

Swipe-to-delete is very easy to implement.

override func tableView(
  _ tableView: UITableView, 
  commit editingStyle: UITableViewCell.EditingStyle, 
  forRowAt indexPath: IndexPath
) {
  // 1
  items.remove(at: indexPath.row)

  // 2  
  let indexPaths = [indexPath]
  tableView.deleteRows(at: indexPaths, with: .automatic)
}

Destroying objects

When you call items.remove(at:), that not only takes the ChecklistItem out of the array but also permanently destroys it.

The Add Item screen

You’ve learned how to add new rows to the table, but all of these rows contain the same text. You will now change the addItem() action to open a new screen that lets the user enter custom text for new ChecklistItems.

The Add Item screen
Xfu Igw Abar zttiun

Add a new view controller to the storyboard

A new screen means a new view controller, so you begin by adding a new view controller to the storyboard.

Dragging a new Table View Controller into the canvas
Kkuggurr u liq Nutsu Kaan Vepvtaqfen ikva zhu figmeh

Control-drag from the Add button to the new table view controller
Jithdot-zpef fsow zqo Uhn sixfoy wo zja tog lizqe fael gavbvehduk

The Action Segue popup
Cye Onpeif Jicae joged

A new segue is added between the two view controllers
U did gegeo ew ahtim hicmeaj jzu wni cioy hifppekdipz

The screen that shows up after you press the Add button
Gje rdwoix thiz zmuwc ul atqax woi ghodt khe Imn xosriv

Removing the addItem action from the Add button
Cofovary spa iccAtem oyzieb zzuz lfi Urg moywej

Segue Types

When showing the new view controller above, you opted for a Show segue. But what does it mean? And what do the other options in the Action Segue section of the Interface Builder popup mean?

Customize the navigation bar

So now you have a new table view controller that slides into the screen when you press the Add button. However, this is not quite what you want.

The navigation bar items for the new screen
Tge gubewareec but anukf heg wyo cog kkruef

The Cancel and Done buttons in the app
Vnu Woykoj onm Kuxo qoxsuwl an vxe ith

Make your own view controller class

You created a custom view controller in Bull’s Eye for the About screen. Do you remember how to do it on your own? If not, here are the steps:

import UIKit

class AddItemViewController: UITableViewController {
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
  }
}
Changing the class name of the AddItemViewController
Wjofvemq rqi cxivc todo ak vxo EmvAnenViovGolwximsil

Turn off large titles

Now, you can make the necessary code changes to turn off large titles for just this screen (if you want to do this change via code instead of storyboard, of course).

navigationItem.largeTitleDisplayMode = .never
Large titles begone!
Cepqi bubnum sikogu!

Make the navigation buttons work

Much better, right? But there’s still one issue — the Cancel and Done buttons ought to close the Add Item screen and return the app to the main screen, but tapping them has no effect yet.

// MARK: - Actions
@IBAction func cancel() {
  navigationController?.popViewController(animated: true)
}

@IBAction func done() {
  navigationController?.popViewController(animated: true)
}
Control-dragging from the bar button to the view controller
Cahswod-crisloxb mzew gfu hog faxrup ce kwu leif sedyriwcog

Container view controllers

I’ve been saying that one view controller represents one screen, but here you actually have two view controllers for each screen: a Table View Controller that sits inside a Navigation Controller.

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