Programming the iPhone : Standard Control Types (part 2) - Modal Buttons

8/4/2012 3:16:02 PM

2. Modal Buttons

Modal controls are UI controls that change state across two or more steps as part of a single expression of user intent. A good example of a modal control is the “Buy Now/Install/Installed” button in the mobile App Store application. You install applications from the App Store on the mobile device by tapping the button several times at specific points in the sequence.

Modal controls are very effective for operations that should be confirmed by users. They can also be excellent triggers when one of a set of options is available, depending on context. For example, the individual record screen in the Contacts application allows you to click an Edit button that changes the view to an editable view of the record. The Edit button then becomes a Done button that can be used to cancel or commit any editing actions that have taken place. Figure 3 shows the modal control in the Contacts application.

Figure 3. The Contacts application uses a modal control for “Edit” and “Done”

Providing secondary confirmations is a common and useful pattern for preventing destructive operations such as deletions.

2.1. Creating a modal button subclass

This example illustrates just one way to create a modal button. There are several options, including building custom UIView objects from scratch. I chose to take a simpler route and simply subclassed UIButton in order to keep the interface consistent, reduce duplication of code, and avoid tiny deviations in the look and feel of my button and standard UIButton instances. The implementation is fairly standard. ModalButton is a subclass of UIButton and overloads the touchesEnded:withEvent: method to add custom handling behavior. Specifically, each touch deactivates the button and sets an NSTimer to fire after a delay, presenting the next state in a finite sequence of modes. The delay emulates what might happen if you were to design the App Store button that triggers an application download over HTTP and acts as an implicit opt-in agreement to purchase an application (versus a one-touch sequence, which might be triggered by accident).

The ModalButton class adheres to the UIControl target-action messaging mechanism. In this example, the main view controller, ModalButtonViewController, adds itself as a target for the UIControlEventTouchUpInside control event. Doing so sends a specific action message to the ModalButtonViewController instance when a UITouch sequence begins and ends inside the bounds of the ModalButton:

#import "ModalButtonViewController.h"

@implementation ModalButtonViewController

- (void)viewDidLoad
	[super viewDidLoad];
	button = [[ModalButton alloc] init];
	[button addTarget:self action:@selector(performModalActionForButton:)
	[button retain];
	[self.view addSubview:button]; = CGPointMake(160.0, 210.0);

- (void)performModalActionForButton:(id)sender
	ModalButton *btn = (ModalButton *)sender;
	ModalButtonMode mode = btn.mode;
	NSLog(@"The button mode is: %d", mode);

- (void)dealloc
	[button release];
	[super dealloc];



The definition of the ModalButton class follows:

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

static NSString *download = @"Download";
static NSString *downloading = @"Downloading...";
static NSString *install = @"Install";
static NSString *installing = @"Installing...";
static NSString *complete = @"Complete!";

static UIImage *heart = nil;
static UIImage *clover = nil;

typedef enum {
	ModalButtonModeDefault = 0,
} ModalButtonMode;

@interface ModalButton : UIButton {
	ModalButtonMode mode;
	NSTimer *timer;
	UIActivityIndicatorView *indicator;

@property (readonly) ModalButtonMode mode;

- (void)update:(NSTimer *)theTimer;



#import "ModalButton.h"

@interface ModalButton (PrivateMethods)
- (void)handleTap;

@implementation ModalButton

@synthesize mode;

- (id) init
	self = [self initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0.0, 0.0, 118.0, 118.0)];
	return self;

- (id)initWithFrame:(CGRect)frame
	if (self = [super initWithFrame:frame]) {
		mode = ModalButtonModeDefault;
		heart = [UIImage imageNamed:@"heart.png"];
		clover = [UIImage imageNamed:@"clover.png"];

		indicator = [[UIActivityIndicatorView alloc]
		indicator.hidesWhenStopped = YES;
		[self addSubview:indicator];
		[self bringSubviewToFront:indicator]; =;

		self.backgroundColor = [UIColor clearColor];
		[self setTitleColor:[UIColor darkGrayColor] forState:UIControlStateNormal];
		[self setTitleColor:[UIColor whiteColor] forState:UIControlStateDisabled];
		self.titleEdgeInsets = UIEdgeInsetsMake(-90.0, 0, 0, 0);
		self.font = [UIFont fontWithName:@"Helvetica" size:12.0f];
		[self setBackgroundImage:heart forState:UIControlStateNormal];

		[self update:nil];
	return self;

- (void)touchesEnded:(NSSet *)touches withEvent:(UIEvent *)event
	UITouch *touch = [touches anyObject];
	if([self hitTest:[touch locationInView:self] withEvent:event]){
		[self handleTap];

	[super touchesEnded:touches withEvent:event];

- (void)handleTap
	self.enabled = NO;
	NSString *title;
		case ModalButtonModeDownload:
			title = downloading;
		case ModalButtonModeInstall:
			title = installing;
	[self setTitle:title forState:UIControlStateNormal];

	if([timer isValid]){
		[timer invalidate];
	timer = [NSTimer timerWithTimeInterval:5.0 target:self
		userInfo:nil repeats:NO];
	[timer retain];
	[[NSRunLoop currentRunLoop] addTimer:timer forMode:NSDefaultRunLoopMode];

	[indicator startAnimating];

- (void)update:(NSTimer *)theTimer
	NSString *title;
	// Toggle mode
		case ModalButtonModeDefault:
			mode = ModalButtonModeDownload;
			title = download;
			self.enabled = YES;
		case ModalButtonModeDownload:
			mode = ModalButtonModeInstall;
			title = install;
			self.enabled = YES;
		case ModalButtonModeInstall:
			mode = ModalButtonModeComplete;
			title = complete;
			[self setBackgroundImage:clover forState:UIControlStateNormal];
			self.enabled = NO;
			self.enabled = NO;
	[self setTitle:title forState:UIControlStateNormal];

	if([timer isValid]){
		[timer invalidate];
	[indicator stopAnimating];

- (void)dealloc
	if([timer isValid]){
		[timer invalidate];
	[timer release];
	[indicator release];
	[super dealloc];
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