iOS Introduction


Example

Typically, when using UIControl or UIButton, we add a selector as a callback action for when an event occurs on a button or control, such as the user pressing the button or touching the control.

For example, we would do the following:

import UIKit

class ViewController: UIViewController {
    @IBOutlet weak var button: UIButton!

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()
        
        let button = UIButton(frame: CGRect(x: 0, y: 0, width: 100, height: 44))
        button.addTarget(self, action: #selector(self.onButtonPress(_:)), for: .touchUpInside)
        self.view.addSubview(button)
    }

    override func didReceiveMemoryWarning() {
        super.didReceiveMemoryWarning()
    }
    
    func onButtonPress(_ button: UIButton!) {
        print("PRESSED")
    }
}

When it comes to selector, the compiler only needs to know that it exists.. This can be done through a protocol and not be implemented.

For example, the following would crash your application:

import UIKit

@objc
protocol ButtonEvent {
    @objc optional func onButtonPress(_ button: UIButton)
}

class ViewController: UIViewController, ButtonEvent {
    @IBOutlet weak var button: UIButton!

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()
        
        let button = UIButton(frame: CGRect(x: 0, y: 0, width: 100, height: 44))
        button.addTarget(self, action: #selector(ButtonEvent.onButtonPress(_:)), for: .touchUpInside)
        self.view.addSubview(button)
    }

    override func didReceiveMemoryWarning() {
        super.didReceiveMemoryWarning()
    }
}

This is because your application does NOT implement the onButtonPress function.

Now what if you could do all of this alongside the initialization of the button? What if you didn't have to specify callbacks and could instead specify blocks that can be added and removed at any time? Why worry about implementing selectors?


Solution

import Foundation
import UIKit

protocol RemovableTarget {
    func enable();
    func disable();
}

extension UIControl {
    func addEventHandler(event: UIControlEvents, runnable: (control: UIControl) -> Void) -> RemovableTarget {
        
        class Target : RemovableTarget {
            private var event: UIControlEvents
            private weak var control: UIControl?
            private var runnable: (control: UIControl) -> Void
            
            private init(event: UIControlEvents, control: UIControl, runnable: (control: UIControl) -> Void) {
                self.event = event
                self.control = control
                self.runnable = runnable
            }
            
            @objc
            private func run(_ control: UIControl) {
                runnable(control: control)
            }
            
            private func enable() {
                control?.addTarget(self, action: #selector(Target.run(_:)), for: event)
                objc_setAssociatedObject(self, unsafeAddress(of: self), self, .OBJC_ASSOCIATION_RETAIN)
            }
            
            private func disable() {
                control?.removeTarget(self, action: #selector(Target.run(_:)), for: self.event)
                objc_setAssociatedObject(self, unsafeAddress(of: self), nil, .OBJC_ASSOCIATION_ASSIGN)
            }
        }
        
        let target = Target(event: event, control: self, runnable: runnable)
        target.enable()
        return target
    }
}

The above is a simple extension on UIControl. It adds an inner private class that has a callback func run(_ control: UIControl) that is used as the events' action.

Next we use object association to add and remove the target because it will not be retained by the UIControl.

The event handler function returns a Protocol in order to hide the inner workings of the Target class but also to allow you to enable and disable the target at any given time.


Usage Example:

import Foundation
import UIKit

class ViewController: UIViewController {

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()
        

        //Create a button.
        let button = UIButton(frame: CGRect(x: 0, y: 0, width: 100, height: 44))
        
        //Add an event action block/listener -- Handles Button Press.
        let target = button.addEventHandler(event: .touchUpInside) { (control) in
            print("Pressed")
        }
        

        self.view.addSubview(button)
        
        //Example of enabling/disabling the listener/event-action-block.
        DispatchQueue.main.after(when: DispatchTime.now() + 5) {
            target.disable() //Disable the listener.
            
            DispatchQueue.main.after(when: DispatchTime.now() + 5) {
                target.enable() //Enable the listener.
            }
        }
    }

    override func didReceiveMemoryWarning() {
        super.didReceiveMemoryWarning()
    }
}