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SwiftUI Apprentice

Second Edition · iOS 16 · Swift 5.7 · Xcode 14.2

Section I: Your First App: HIITFit

Section 1: 12 chapters
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Section II: Your Second App: Cards

Section 2: 9 chapters
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13. Outlining a Photo Collage App
Written by Caroline Begbie

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Congratulations, you’ve written your first app! HIITFit uses standard iOS user interaction with lists and swipeable page views. Now you’ll get your teeth into something a bit more complex with custom gestures and custom views.

Photo collage apps are very popular, and in this section, you’ll build your own collaging app in which you’ll create cards to share. You’ll be able to add images — from your photos or from the internet — and add text and stickers too. This app will be real-world with real-world problems to match.

In this chapter, you’ll take a look at a sketch outline of the app idea and create a view hierarchy that will be the skeleton of your app.

At the end of Section 2, your finished app will look like this:

Final app
Final app

Initial App Idea

The first step to creating a new app is having the idea. Before writing any code, you should do research as to whether your app is going to be a hit or a miss. Work out who your target audience is and talk to some people who might use your app. Find out what your competition is in the App Store and explore how your app can offer something new and different.

Once you’ve decided that you have a hit on your hands, sketch your app out and work out feasibility and where technical difficulties may lie.

Your photo collaging app will have a primary view — where you list all the cards — and a detail view for the selected card — where you can add photos and text. This might be the back-of-the-napkin sketch:

Back of the napkin sketch
Back of the napkin sketch

In future chapters, you’ll set up the data model and data storage, but for now, examine the design and think about possible implementation difficulties that you’ll need to overcome. Always take a modular approach and test each aspect of the app as separately from the main app as possible.

SwiftUI is great for this, because you can construct views and controls independently using SwiftUI’s live preview. When you’re happy with how a view works, add it to your app.

Creating the Project

In the previous section, you began with a starter app containing all the assets you needed to create HIITFit. In this section, you’ll start with a new app, and you’ll find out how to add assets as you move through the next few chapters.

Initial view
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Creating the First View for Your Project

Skills you’ll learn in this section: ScrollView

Creating a List of Cards

Instead of cards, for the moment, you’ll show a placeholder list of rounded rectangles.

var body: some View {
  ScrollView {
    VStack {
      ForEach(0..<10) { _ in
        RoundedRectangle(cornerRadius: 15)
          .frame(width: 150, height: 250)
Placeholder thumbnails
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Show canvas
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ScrollView(showsIndicators: false) {
With and without the scroll bar
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Refactoring the View

Skills you’ll learn in this section: refactoring views

Extracted View
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Refactor the view
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struct CardThumbnail: View {
  var body: some View {
    RoundedRectangle(cornerRadius: 15)
      .frame(width: 150, height: 250)

Setting Up the Single Card View

A card will have a colored background to which you’ll add photos, stickers and text.

var body: some View {
A yellow card
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Transitioning From List to Card

Skills you’ll learn in this section: full screen modal

Creating a Full Screen Modal View

➤ In CardsListView, create a new property to track the modal presentation:

@State private var isPresented = false
.fullScreenCover(isPresented: $isPresented) {
.onTapGesture {
  isPresented = true
Transition from thumbnail to card
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The Navigation Toolbar

Skills you’ll learn in this section: toolbars; navigation bar; NavigationStack; tuples

@Environment(\.dismiss) var dismiss
.toolbar {
  ToolbarItem(placement: .navigationBarTrailing) {
    Button("Done") {
No Done button
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Notice that the button doesn’t show up. This is because ToolbarItem(placement:) is using navigationBarTrailing, so any item will only show up if the view is inside a NavigationStack.

Navigation bar Done button
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Navigation with Done button
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The Bottom Toolbar

The single card view will have four buttons at the bottom, allowing you to add elements to your card:

enum ToolbarSelection {
  case photoModal, frameModal, stickerModal, textModal
struct ToolbarButton: View {
  var body: some View {
    VStack {
      Image(systemName: "")
@Binding var modal: ToolbarSelection?
var body: some View {
  HStack {
    Button {
      modal = .stickerModal
    } label: {
struct BottomToolbar_Previews: PreviewProvider {
  static var previews: some View {
    BottomToolbar(modal: .constant(.stickerModal))
Stickers button
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Adding the Bottom Toolbar

➤ Open SingleCardView.swift and add a new property to SingleCardView:

@State private var currentModal: ToolbarSelection?
ToolbarItem(placement: .bottomBar) {
  BottomToolbar(modal: $currentModal)
Bottom toolbar
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Adding the Other Buttons

➤ Open BottomToolbar.swift and add a new property to ToolbarButton:

let modal: ToolbarSelection
private let modalButton: [
    ToolbarSelection: (text: String, imageName: String)
  ] = [
    .photoModal: ("Photos", "photo"),
    .frameModal: ("Frames", ""),
    .stickerModal: ("Stickers", ""),
    .textModal: ("Text", "textformat")


A tuple is a group of values. For example, you could initialize a tuple with three elements like this:

let button = ("Stickers", "", 1)
let text = button.0
let number = button.2
var body: some View {
  if let text = modalButton[modal]?.text,
    let imageName = modalButton[modal]?.imageName {
  VStack {
    Image(systemName: imageName)
enum ToolbarSelection: CaseIterable {
HStack {
  ForEach(ToolbarSelection.allCases, id: \.self) { selection in
    Button {
      modal = selection
    } label: {
      ToolbarButton(modal: selection)
Button Preview
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Adding Modal Views

Skills you’ll learn in this section: multiple modal sheets; Identifiable enumerations; Hashable

.sheet(item: $currentModal) { item in
  switch item {
    Text(String(describing: item))

Making an Enumeration Identifiable

➤ Open ToolbarSelection.swift and conform ToolbarSelection to Identifiable:

enum ToolbarSelection: CaseIterable, Identifiable {
var id = UUID()

Making an Object Hashable

You need a value that uniquely identifies an object. That describes a hash value. Hashing algorithms calculate values from any data to provide a digital fingerprint that identifies an object.

var id: Int {
A modal view
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Cleaning Up

➤ Open BottomToolbar.swift, and in BottomToolbar, remove , id: \.self from the ForEach loop.

ForEach(ToolbarSelection.allCases) { selection in
The app outline
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Make it a habit to regularly tidy up the code and files in your app.

Challenge 1: Tidy up Files

Look down the list of files and see which ones you can group together. Command-click each file that you want to group together, then Control-click the selected files and choose New Group from Selection. Name the group. If you miss any files, just drag them into the group later.

Challenge 2: Refactor Code

You don’t always have to create new structures for views. Sometimes, if it’s a simple view and you’re only using it once, it’s easier to keep track of views as properties or methods.

Key Points

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