Basic User Interface Elements

This chapter is designed to get you comfortable building with the basic user interface components of UI Kit. The more advanced components will covered. The basic components include the following:

Windows, views, and view controllers

Windows and views are the most basic classes for creating any type of user interface. A window represents a geometric space on a screen, while a view class fills that void with its own functionality. Smaller UI components, such as navigation bars, buttons, and text boxes are all attached to view classes, and a view is anchored to a window.

Text views

Text views are specialized view classes for presenting editor windows to view or edit text. The Notepad application is a good example of a simple text view. They are considered humble and are rarely used in light of UI Kit’s repertoire of more spectacular classes, but are a great start to get you accustomed to UI Kit.

Navigation bars and controllers

The iPhone UI treats different screens as if they are “pages” in a book. Navigation bars are frequently used to provide a visual prompt to allow the user to return “back” to a previous view, supply buttons to modify elements on the current screen page, and display a number of controls such as segmented controls and toolbars. Navigation bars are found in nearly all preloaded iPhone applications.

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Consistent with the spirit of Apple’s user-friendly interfaces, window transitions were introduced with the iPhone to allow the user to perceive navigation through the application’s screens like pages in a book. Animations are used to make this visual transition from one view to another, rather than simply flashing to the next screen.

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Table views and controllers

Table views are lists that you can use to display files, messages, or other types of collections. They are used for the selection of one or more items in a list-like fashion.

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The table objects are very flexible and allow the developer to define how a table cell should look and behave. You can tailor tables to display simple lists, grouped preferences, and rolodex-like section lists.

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