Rob Fahrni

Rob Fahrni

Is SwiftUI ready for prime time?

Brain in a jarTL;DR - Yes, for certain types of apps.

I know Apple has started to dog food SwiftUI, but it’s being used for UI that fits nicely into what SwiftUI is good at. It can create basic UI elements in a window; labels, text input, lists, checkboxes, etc.

Take the new System Settings App. It’s written in SwiftUI and it looks nice. The UI design is simple enough to use what SwiftUI is really good at!

Ventura System Settings App

I don’t want to discourage anyone creating a new app. By all means, start with SwiftUI, especially on iOS if you’re writing an app that is small to medium sized and doesn’t venture outside the things SwiftUI is good at. All of my simple little apps could be converted to SwiftUI today, if I thought it was a good use of my time.

How will we know when SwiftUI is a true replacement for UIKit and AppKit?

We’ll know it’s a real replacement when you can build Xcode, Keynote, Pages, or heaven forbid, Photoshop with it. When our favorite Mac shops like Panic and Omni Group can rewrite their flagship applications using 100% SwiftUI. It’s as simple as that.

Apple could really help propel SwiftUI into common use by starting with Keynote. That is an important application to many folks and having it rebuilt with SwiftUI and taking it to the next level would cement SwiftUI as the real deal.

For now it’s kind of wait and see. Apple has done a really great job of prioritizing features for SwiftUI to cover the 90% case on iOS; lists (table views) and basic controls used to make those. I’ll bet that accounts for a huge number of apps in the App Ecosystem.

I started Stream for Mac with UIKit and I’ll probably finish it that way.

Then I may do one of my apps in SwiftUI since they’re all very simple from a UI perspective.

A Swift Only Future? - Yours truly in 2016.

My thinking has shifted, slightly, on the topic. But only just.

Oh, one more thing. SwiftUI is the worst name ever for a framework. Just sayin’. 😄