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SwiftUI vs UIKit

SwiftUI vs UIKit

Which One is Better for iOS Development?

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George Nhari
ยทFeb 1, 2023ยท

4 min read

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Table of contents

  • Strengths of SwiftUI:
  • Weaknesses of SwiftUI:
  • Strengths of UIKit:
  • Weaknesses of UIKit:

As an iOS developer, you may have already heard about SwiftUI, Apple's latest framework for building user interfaces for its ecosystem. On the other hand, UIKit has been the go-to framework for iOS development for years. So, what's the difference between the two and which one should you choose for your next project?

SwiftUI, introduced in WWDC 2019, is a declarative framework that makes it easier and faster to build user interfaces. It leverages the power of Swift programming language and provides a new way of building UI, which is more concise and easier to understand. SwiftUI provides automatic support for dynamic type, dark mode, localization, and accessibility. With SwiftUI, you can build modern and beautiful interfaces in less time, with fewer lines of code, and fewer mistakes.

UIKit, on the other hand, is a more established and mature framework that has been around since the beginning of iOS development. It has a rich set of tools and APIs for building UI and has been the foundation of many successful apps. UIKit provides a more traditional object-oriented approach to building UI, where you interact with UI elements through instances of classes and use a lot of boilerplate code. Despite its age, UIKit is still being actively developed and maintained by Apple, and it still has a lot to offer to those who are familiar with its API.

So, which one is better for iOS development? The answer is: it depends. If you are a seasoned iOS developer who is already familiar with UIKit, you may want to stick with it for your next project, especially if you have a large existing codebase that you need to maintain. On the other hand, if you are just starting out or if you are looking for a more modern and concise way of building UI, then SwiftUI is the way to go.

In conclusion, both SwiftUI and UIKit have their own strengths and weaknesses. The choice between the two largely depends on your own expertise and the specific requirements of your project. Whether you choose SwiftUI or UIKit, one thing is for sure: Apple has made it easier and faster than ever to build beautiful and functional apps for its ecosystem.


Here is an example of creating a button in both SwiftUI and UIKit:

SwiftUI:

import SwiftUI

struct ContentView: View {
    var body: some View {
        Button(action: {
            print("Button Tapped")
        }) {
            Text("Tap Me")
        }
    }
}

UIKit:

import UIKit

class ViewController: UIViewController {
    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()

        let button = UIButton(type: .system)
        button.setTitle("Tap Me", for: .normal)
        button.addTarget(self, action: #selector(buttonTapped), for: .touchUpInside)
        view.addSubview(button)
    }

    @objc func buttonTapped() {
        print("Button Tapped")
    }
}

Strengths of SwiftUI:

  • Declarative Syntax: SwiftUI provides a declarative syntax for building user interfaces, which makes it easier to understand and debug.

  • Improved Productivity: SwiftUI requires fewer lines of code to accomplish the same tasks compared to UIKit, which leads to faster development times and improved productivity.

  • Automatic Support for Dynamic Type, Dark Mode, Localization, and Accessibility: SwiftUI provides automatic support for these important features, which saves developers time and reduces the likelihood of mistakes.

  • Real-Time Previews: SwiftUI offers real-time previews of how your app will look, which speeds up the design process and eliminates the need to constantly build and run the app.

Weaknesses of SwiftUI:

  • Limited Customizability: SwiftUI provides a limited set of customization options, which may not be enough for some developers who need more control over their user interfaces.

  • Steep Learning Curve: SwiftUI's declarative syntax may be unfamiliar to some developers and may require a significant amount of time to get used to.

  • Limited Legacy Support: SwiftUI is a relatively new framework, and it may not be supported in older versions of iOS. This can be a problem for those who need to maintain legacy apps or support older devices.

Strengths of UIKit:

  • Established Framework: UIKit is a well-established framework with a rich set of tools and APIs for building user interfaces.

  • High Customizability: UIKit provides a wide range of customization options, which gives developers more control over their user interfaces.

  • Widely Adopted: UIKit is widely adopted by the iOS developer community and is used in many successful apps.

Weaknesses of UIKit:

  • Verbose Syntax: UIKit's syntax can be verbose and difficult to understand, especially for those who are new to iOS development.

  • Slower Development Time: UIKit requires more code to accomplish the same tasks compared to SwiftUI, which can lead to slower development times.

  • Lack of Automatic Support for Dynamic Type, Dark Mode, Localization, and Accessibility: UIKit does not provide automatic support for these important features, which means developers must implement them manually, which takes more time and increases the likelihood of mistakes.

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