TextField in SwiftUI

This week I want to talk to you about a TextField component in SwiftUI. It might look like an elementary tutorial, but TextField has pretty exciting features like out of the box formatting that we don’t have in UIKit. But let’s start with the basics of the TextField component.

Basics

As you might know, we can use TextField for user input. All we need to do is to create a TextField and assign it to any Binding of a String value. Let’s take a look at a very quick example.

struct ContentView: View {
    @State private var text = ""

    var body: some View {
        TextField("type something...", text: $text)
    }
}

In the example above, we create a TextField with a placeholder and bind it to a state variable. Pretty easy, right? TextField also provides callbacks that we might need to handle during user input.

struct ContentView: View {
    @State private var text = ""

    var body: some View {
        TextField(
            "type something...",
            text: $text,
            onEditingChanged: { _ in print("changed") },
            onCommit: { print("commit") }
        )
    }
}

As you can see in the example above, TextField allows us to handle onEditingChanged and onCommit events. Let’s learn what the difference between them. TextField calls onEditingChanged closure whenever the user starts or finishes editing text. It also passes a boolean value that describes a starting or finishing event. Whenever a user performs an action like pressing the return key, TextField calls onCommit closure.

TextField formatters

OK, we learned basics, and now we can move to a more interesting feature of TextFields. You might be noticed that TextField has a few overloads that accept Formatter. These overloads allow us to bind a TextField to raw data and present it after converting to a string by using selected Formatter instance. Let’s take a look at a quick example that will help us to understand how it works.

extension NumberFormatter {
    static var currency: NumberFormatter {
        let formatter = NumberFormatter()
        formatter.numberStyle = .currency
        return formatter
    }
}

struct ContentView: View {
    @State private var price = 99

    var body: some View {
        TextField(
            "type something...",
            value: $price,
            formatter: NumberFormatter.currency
        )
    }
}

TextField uses provided Formatter while converting between the string that user edits and the underlying raw value. In case when Formatter is unable to perform a conversion, the value will not be modified. Try to type some letters that Formatter is not able to convert to see what will happen.

Styling

SwiftUI provides us a few styles and the textFieldStyle modifier that we can use to apply styles to our TextFields in the app. textFieldStyle modifier uses the environment to pass the style to every view inside the environment. It looks very similar to the buttonStyle modifier that discussed in the previous post.

To learn more about buttonStyle modifier, take a look at my “Mastering buttons in SwiftUI post”.

struct ContentView: View {
    @State private var text = ""

    var body: some View {
        TextField("type something...", text: $text)
            .textFieldStyle(RoundedBorderTextFieldStyle())
    }
}

SwiftUI has a TextFieldStyle protocol that we can use to provide styling to our TextFields. Let’s take a look at how we can use it.

struct SuperCustomTextFieldStyle: TextFieldStyle {
    func _body(configuration: TextField<_Label>) -> some View {
        configuration
            .padding()
            .border(Color.accentColor)
    }
}

struct ContentView: View {
    @State private var text = ""

    var body: some View {
        TextField("type something...", text: $text)
            .textFieldStyle(SuperCustomTextFieldStyle())
    }
}

It looks like there is some compiler magic behind this protocol because it works with _body function, which is not a part of TextFieldStyle.

SwiftUI uses environment to pass system-wide and application-related information. You can also populate environment with your custom objects. To learn more about environment, take a look at my “The power of Environment in SwiftUI” post.

Conclusion

This week we learned the things behind the TextField component. It provides us an interesting raw data formatting feature that we don’t have in UIKit. 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!