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User Interface Elements

Upon opening an Interface Builder template, you’ll be presented with a window resembling the iPhone’s screen, a smaller document window representing the logical class properties and relationships to different objects, and a library of different UI elements available on the iPhone. From here, use the library window to drag graphical elements directly onto the iPhone window. You’ll be able to design the view you’d like to build by dragging and resizing elements.

Data Views

Data views are individual view classes that display information to the user. These include text views, image viewers, web views, and many other types of objects. A data view is managed by its view controller, which can render multiple data views and link the view it is displaying with your underlying data. You can add as many data views as you like to an existing view, using the guides to position and size them to your liking. Data views can also contain controls and navigation items.

Inputs and Values

Whenever a user needs to provide some type of input, an input object is used. These are commonly referred to as controls (not to be confused with the controllers mentioned earlier), and include switches, text boxes, segmented controls, and other objects you’ll learn about in Chapter 10. You can add a control to any view, and that view will generally handle the events generated when the control is used.

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Windows, Views, and Bars

In addition to controllers and data views, you can add additional window, view, and bar objects to an existing view. For example, to add a search bar so that it is visible exclusively within a given view, drag it onto your standard view class instead of a controlling view. You’ll learn how to interact with search bars and similar objects in Chapter 10.

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The Inspector

Interface Builder includes an inspector tool, which is used to customize the behavior of objects you create. The inspector tool allows you to change an object’s attributes, the connections it has to other resources and files, the size of objects, and most importantly, the actions it takes in response to events such as user input. To display the inspector, choose Inspector from the Tools menu.

Designing a UI

There are two good reasons to build your first UI from scratch. The first is to get a feel for how Interface Builder works. The second is to visualize how the different components of a user interface fit together. There are windows, view controllers, data views, input controls, and a host of relationships that tie them all together. In this section, you’ll build a simple interface from scratch and install it into a sample application.

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