Majid's Blog about Swift development

The power of Closures in SwiftUI

One of my favorite design patterns in UIKit development was a Delegate pattern. Delegate pattern is very straightforward, and everybody knows how to use it. In the Functional Programming world, we usually replace delegates with closures. This week we will learn how to use closures to make SwiftUI views composable and decoupled.

Passing closures to child views

I usually build my app screen by implementing one container view which handles all the data-flow related to the screen and a couple of rendering views, which simply represent passed data and propagate user actions to the container view. Let’s take a look at an example.

struct PostContainerView: View {
    @EnvironmentObject var store: Store<State, Action>
    @State private var content: String = ""

    var body: some View {
        PostContentView(
            content: $content,
            postContent: postContent
        )
    }

    private func postContent() {
        store.send(.post(content))
    }
}

struct PostContentView: View {
    @Binding var content: String
    let postContent: () -> Void

    var body: some View {
        VStack {
            TextField("type something...", text: $content)
            Button("post", action: postContent)
        }
    }
}

Here we have a container view that handles user actions by providing a closure to the child view. PostContentView renders the state provided by a container view and passes user action to the container view. This technique allows us to reuse PostContentView across the codebase. We can use it whenever we need to post a comment or some post.

We already discussed the benefits of using container view in SwiftUI on my blog multiple times, take a look at “Introducing Container views in SwiftUI” post if you missed it.

Extracting navigation into closures

SwiftUI has a pretty declarative way of building navigation between the screens. All you need to do is embedding your view into a NavigationLink with a provided destination view. Here is a quick example of using NavigationLink in SwiftUI apps.

struct ItemsView: View {
    let items: [Item]

    var body: some View {
        NavigationView {
            List(items) { item in
                NavigationLink(destination: DetailsView(item: item)) {
                    Text(item.id.uuidString)
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

As you can see in the example above, we simply wrap our list item into a NavigationLink, which navigates to the DetailsView after a click on any list item. The logic here is very straightforward, but it has at least one downside. ItemsView knows about DetailsView and depends on it, and because of that, we can’t reuse it somewhere in our app, or we can’t use it with a different destination in other parts of the app. Let’s see how we can solve the problem by using closures.

struct ItemsView<Destination: View>: View {
    let items: [Item]
    let buildDestination: (Item) -> Destination

    var body: some View {
        NavigationView {
            List(items) { item in
                NavigationLink(destination: self.buildDestination(item)) {
                    Text(item.id.uuidString)
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

I refactored our ItemsView to accept a closure which maps an item to a destination view. It allows us to leave the responsibility of creating a destination view to a parent view. Now we can reuse ItemsView with different destinations depending on our use case. Here is a code sample demonstrating the usage of the ItemsView.

struct ItemsContainerView: View {
    @State private var items: [Item] = [.init(), .init(), .init()]
    
    var body: some View {
        ItemsView(items: items) { item in
            // build your destination view here
            Text(item.id.uuidString)
        }
    }
}

Here we have ItemsContainerView, which handles data-flow for the screen and builds the destination view. It feels very natural by using trailing closure syntax.

Navigation is a crucial topic, and we already covered it in previous posts, to learn more about navigation in SwiftUI take a look at the dedicated post.

Conclusion

This week we learned how to use closures to extract navigation and user input handling from SwiftUI views. Closures allow us to make our views decoupled and respecting the single responsibility principle. We can benefit it to build simple and composable view hierarchies in SwiftUI. I hope you enjoy the post. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask your questions related to this post. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!