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Apple maintains its dominance in the Australian smartphone market, securing the top spot for market share in the first three months of 2022. According to the news, Apple devices captured a staggering 46.5% of smartphone sales to end users, amounting to a whopping 840,000 units. This outstanding achievement solidifies Apple’s position as the frontrunner in the ever-evolving world of smartphones. And to maintain this, they have released a powerful yet easy-to-use user interface development framework called SwiftUI.
This innovative new language is accessible to both experienced developers and those just starting out with coding. It’s designed to help you create stunning user interfaces quickly and easily—no matter your experience level.
In this blog, we’ll look at what SwiftUI is, why you should be using it, how to get started with the language, and some helpful tips and tricks along the way.
What is SwiftUI?
In 2019, Apple introduced SwiftUI, a simple and creative framework for building interfaces across all Apple platforms and devices. With SwiftUI, writing code becomes more intuitive, eliminating confusion between storyboards and programmatic UI.
SwiftUI, a programming language based on Swift, is a new framework that feels familiar to developers already experienced with AppKit and UIKit. Unlike before, where developers relied on Xcode’s interface builders, SwiftUI allows for cross-platform application development with less code.
What Can SwiftUI Do?
SwiftUI provides views, controls, and layout structures for declaring your app’s user interface. The framework provides event handlers for delivering taps, gestures, and other types of input to your app and tools to manage the flow of data from your app’s models down to the views and controls that users see and interact with.
Define your app structure using the App protocol, and populate it with scenes that contain the views that make up your app’s user interface. Create your own custom views that conform to the View protocol, and compose them with SwiftUI views for displaying text, images, and custom shapes using stacks, lists, and more. Apply powerful modifiers to built-in views and your own views to customize their rendering and interactivity. Share code between apps on multiple platforms with views and controls that adapt to their context and presentation.
Upsides of SwiftIU
There are a number of great things about SwiftUI that make it an excellent choice for developers. If you’re starting out with coding, SwiftUI is incredibly simple to learn and use. The code is incredibly clean and organized—a major bonus for those who are just getting started.
Below are a few of the top benefits of using SwiftUI:
Easy to use due to declarative syntax
SwiftUI is based on a declarative syntax, which means that it’s easier to write and understand. It also makes debugging and maintenance much easier. With minimal code, you can quickly change the look and feel of your app without having to spend time rewriting code.
Not using XML prevents merge conflicts
The declarative syntax of SwiftUI also helps to eliminate merge conflicts that can occur when using XML-based programming languages such as Android’s XML. This eliminates the need for a long and complicated code review process, making it easier to maintain your app over time.
Live UI preview
Thanks to SwiftUI’s live previews, developers can see how their app behaves in real-time while coding. This makes it easier to make changes and iterate faster quickly. Plus, the new Xcode 12 inspector provides a more detailed view of what’s going on inside your project for even better troubleshooting.
Much less code than UIKit
SwiftUI has been designed from the ground up to require less code than UIKit. This makes it much easier to develop an app with fewer lines of code, making the process more efficient and cost-effective.
Can create widgets unlike UIKit
Widgets provide quick access to other content and information about your app, making it easier for users to stay up-to-date with what’s going on without having to launch the app. With SwiftUI, you can easily create these widgets with just a few lines of code.
Can interact with UIKit and AppKit
SwiftUI is also designed to interact seamlessly with UIKit and AppKit, meaning you can use it in combination with existing technologies for even more powerful features. This makes it possible to build complex apps and experiences that are tailored exactly to your needs.
Future of Apple platform
With its strong focus on speed, low learning curve, and versatility, many developers see SwiftUI as the future of Apple’s development platform. By investing in this language now, you can give yourself an advantage for years to come.
Downsides of SwiftIU
As much as SwiftUI offers some amazing benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:
Limited UI components
Currently, SwiftUI has a limited selection of native UI components (e.g., scroll view, date picker, etc.), making it difficult to create complex user interfaces without relying on third-party libraries or custom code.
Less developer community support
Being a relatively new language, SwiftUI still has a limited community of developers. This makes it more difficult to find help and resources when coding in the language.
No best practices for complex UI yet
Because SwiftUI is still in its early days, there are no established best practices for complex UI yet. This means that developers have to figure out their own solutions when faced with tricky design problems.
Has a minimum supported version of iOS 13+
In order to use SwiftUI, you must have an iOS 13+ version installed on your device. This means that apps built with the language won’t be able to run on older devices without making significant adjustments.
Preview/Canvas issues on XCode
If you’re coding on Xcode, you may encounter issues with the preview/canvas window. This can be especially frustrating when trying to debug your app or test out a new feature.
How to Start a Project in SwiftUI
Now that you know some of the pros and cons of using SwiftUI, let’s take a look at how you can get started with your own project.
1. On the home page, choose “Create a new Xcode project”
2. Select a template. “iOS” is the most common template. Then select “App”.
3. Fill the required fields and select “SwiftUI” for the interface.
4. After the setup, a default content will be created. Compared to UIKit, a live preview via Canvas will be noticed.
Supported third-party libraries can be added via CocoaPods or Xcode’s own package manager.
- CocoaPods installation is required if not yet available on the system
- See the installation guide here.
- Once CocoaPods is available, run `pod init.` This will create a new file workspace and a Podfile
- Podfile is where you can add your dependencies
- Run `pod install` into your project directory
- Open `AppName.workspace` and build
Via Package Manager
- On XCode’s top left corner select `File > Add Packages`
- If the package is available under Apple Swift Packages, just select the appropriate package the tap `Add Packages`
- If it is not, you may tap the plus button(`+`) located at the bottom left to add from Package Collection or from a Source Control Account.
What is Inside a Demo App?
The demo app contains basic features which are:
- App Icon
- App Assets
- App Color set
- Custom Launch screen
- Login Page
- Home page
- Select project
- Selected project basic info card
- Start/Stop timelog
- 10 day span timelog stats/chart
- A page with a list of items (Project list)
- Communication between two pages/views (Project selection)
- Custom UI (Card)
- State management
- State usage and bindings
- API request (Project tracker API) using Alamofire
Note: Demo app’s main purpose is to have a first example of a working app using the SwiftUI framework with real and actual data. Best practices involving design patterns are not its top priority.
Apple made SwiftUI to offer a syntax that is easy to understand and structured in a clear way. Creating the demo app proves that SwiftUI will be the future of iOS development. Having an experience with both UIKit and SwiftUI, immediately SwiftUI is clearly way faster and cleaner to implement.
As of the moment, SwiftUI is a good option for small to medium projects considering that SwiftUI code is still in its early stages.
Need iOS Developers for Your App?
There’s no denying the multitude of Apple smartphone users out there. If you’re itching to develop an app specifically designed for this vibrant community, look no further than StarTechUP! We’ve got you covered!
Our team comprises experienced iOS developers who can create your app using SwiftUI and other frameworks. We understand the importance of delivering projects on time and on budget.
We also offer additional development services such as web application development, custom software integration, UX/UI design, and more. No matter what you need for your project—consultation, development, or support—StarTechUP has got you covered!
Contact us now if you have any questions or inquiries about our services!