Wednesday, November 11, 2020

On Apple’s SwiftUI Header File Documentation

Conrad Stoll:

The Swift programming language may have gotten rid of the compiler’s need to define a real header file but it didn’t get rid of the programmer’s need to have clear and orderly descriptions of types and what they can do. When I started experimenting with SwiftUI my instinct was to start command clicking on types to learn from their definitions. This time though, command clicking didn’t help me. When you jump to the definition of a type in SwiftUI you end up in the 22,000 line definition of SwiftUI itself.

You actually can discover some of the modifiers and important types there that you need to use, but the lack of structural organization and the sheer scope of of the definition file keeps the information feeling like it’s trying to hide from you.

I have yet to be able to solve any kind of non-trivial SwiftUI problem on my own inside of Xcode. For every issue I run into I’m falling back to the time-tested practice of google searching for a tutorial that happens to mention the name of a modifier that I need to know.


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