Programming the iPhone : Scrolling Controls

8/7/2012 3:50:22 PM
The iPhone handles scrolling in a very intuitive manner. The timing of animations and the touch and gesture recognition build muscle memory and acclimate users to the idea of UI elements moving on- and offscreen. Apple sets some precedents for the timing of scrolling, zooming, and panning, and developers who wish to provide a consistent user experience should build their visual transitions around those precedents.

You can use the UIScrollView class to create views that scroll horizontally, vertically, or both. Scrollviews respond to touches, drags, and flick gestures. Dragging a finger across the screen slowly scrolls the content in the scrolling view in parallel. Quickly flicking across the screen will throw the content in the direction of the swipe, and it will continue moving after the touch sequence has ended. Adding a scrolling view to an application is no different from adding any other view to the screen because UIScrollView is a subclass of UIView. Developers can enable a bounce effect using a property of the UIScrollView instance called bounces.

The Photos application uses a scrolling view to display full-screen photographs sequentially. Scrolling views can scroll incrementally or in larger units that correspond to the width of the screen, also known as paging. You can enable paging with the pagingEnabled attribute of UIScrollView.

The following example creates a basic UIScrollView subclass for displaying a sequence of full-screen images. Bouncing is enabled, as is paging. You can enable or disable a subtle scrollbar for scrolling views using the showsHorizontalScrollIndicator and showsVerticalScrollIndicator properties. Small details like scrollbars can make a big impact for users. In some cases, such as a photo gallery, even a subtle scrollbar can be distracting. In other cases, such as the current step in a process or remaining copy in an article, a scrollbar provides important context. UIKit classes offer a great deal of configurability and allow design and development teams to create the most appropriate interface for the task at hand:

// GalleryView.h

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

@interface GalleryView : UIScrollView {

- (void)addImage:(UIImage *)image;


// GalleryView.m

#import "GalleryView.h"

@implementation GalleryView

- (id)initWithFrame:(CGRect)frame
	if(self = [super initWithFrame:frame]){
		self.backgroundColor = [UIColor blackColor];
		self.scrollEnabled = YES;
		self.pagingEnabled = YES;
		self.bounces = YES;
		self.directionalLockEnabled = NO;
	return self;

- (void)addImage:(UIImage *)image
	int imageCount = [self.subviews count];
	float newContentWidth = ((float)imageCount + 1.0) * 320.0;
	CGSize newContentSize = CGSizeMake(newContentWidth, 460.0);
	UIImageView *imageView = [[UIImageView alloc]
		initWithFrame:CGRectMake((imageCount * 320.0), 0.0, 320.0, 460.0)];

	self.contentSize = newContentSize;

	imageView.image = image;
	[self addSubview:imageView];
	[imageView release];



// ImageGalleryViewController.m

#import "ImageGalleryViewController.h"

@implementation ImageGalleryViewController

- (void)viewDidLoad
	GalleryView *galleryView = [[GalleryView alloc]
					initWithFrame:[UIScreen mainScreen].applicationFrame];

	[galleryView addImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"murray.png"]];
	[galleryView addImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"murray.png"]];
	[galleryView addImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"murray.png"]];
	[galleryView addImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"murray.png"]];
	[galleryView addImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"murray.png"]];
	self.view = galleryView;
	[galleryView release];

	[super viewDidLoad];


Scrolling views can also be used for subtle effects. The following example shows the development of a custom UIControl subclass that uses a UIScrollView to create scrolling interaction. It is possible to develop a fully custom scrolling interface without the use of a UIScrollView, but the available UIKit classes help provide consistency in subtle ways, such as in the timing of animations:

// ScrollingControlViewController.h

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

@class Scroller;

@interface ScrollingControlViewController : UIViewController {
	Scroller *scroller;

- (void)scrollerDidScroll:(id)sender;


// ScrollingControlViewController.m

#import "ScrollingControlViewController.h"
#import "Scroller.h"

@implementation ScrollingControlViewController

- (void)viewDidLoad
	CGRect f = CGRectMake(0.0, 0.0, 320.0, 460.0);
	UIImageView *backgroundView = [[[UIImageView alloc]
	backgroundView.image = [UIImage imageNamed:@"background.png"];
	[self.view addSubview:backgroundView];

	scroller = [[Scroller alloc]
		initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0.0, 100.0, 320.0, 60.0)];
	[scroller addTarget:self action:@selector(scrollerDidScroll:)
	[self.view addSubview:scroller];

	f.size.height = 126.0;
	UIImageView *topView = [[[UIImageView alloc] initWithFrame:f]
	topView.image = [UIImage imageNamed:@"top.png"];
	[self.view addSubview:topView];
	[super viewDidLoad];

- (void)scrollerDidScroll:(id)sender
	NSLog(@"Scroller did scroll.");

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



// Scroller.h

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

@interface Scroller : UIControl <UIScrollViewDelegate> {
	UIScrollView *numbersView;
	CGPoint touchPoint;
	CGPoint scrollerPoint;


// Scroller.m

#import "Scroller.h"
#import "NumView.h"

@interface Scroller (PrivateMethods)

- (void)snapToClosestNumber;


@implementation Scroller

#define WIDTH 500.0
#define NUM 10
#define HALF (NUM_WIDTH / 2)
#define HEIGHT 40.0
#define INSET_WIDTH 160.0

- (void)snapToClosestNumber
	CGPoint coff = numbersView.contentOffset;
	float normalizedX = coff.x + INSET_WIDTH;
	double diff = fmod(normalizedX, NUM_WIDTH);
	// Move to the left or right, as needed
	if(diff < NUM_WIDTH){
		// If we're at the max...
		if(normalizedX == WIDTH){
			normalizedX -= NUM_WIDTH;
		normalizedX -= diff;
		normalizedX += diff;
	float leftX = normalizedX - INSET_WIDTH + HALF;
	[numbersView scrollRectToVisible:CGRectMake(leftX, 0.0, 320.0, HEIGHT)

- (void)scrollViewDidScroll:(UIScrollView *)scrollView
	NSLog(@"sending actions for UIControlEventApplicationReserved.");
	[self sendActionsForControlEvents:UIControlEventApplicationReserved];

- (void)scrollViewDidEndDragging:(UIScrollView *)scrollView
	[self snapToClosestNumber];

- (void)scrollViewDidEndDecelerating:(UIScrollView *)scrollView
	[self snapToClosestNumber];

- (id)initWithFrame:(CGRect)frame
	if (self = [super initWithFrame:frame]) {
		numbersView = [[UIScrollView alloc]
			initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0.0, 0.0, 320.0, 66.0)];
		numbersView.delegate = self;
		numbersView.showsHorizontalScrollIndicator = NO;
		numbersView.showsVerticalScrollIndicator = NO;
		numbersView.delaysContentTouches = NO;
		numbersView.bounces = YES;

		self.backgroundColor = [UIColor clearColor];
		//	Add in a bunch of subs
		NSUInteger i = 0;
		NumView *numView;
		CGRect frame;
		for(i; i < NUM; i++){
			frame = CGRectMake((i * NUM_WIDTH), 20.0, NUM_WIDTH, HEIGHT);
			numView = [[[NumView alloc] initWithFrame:frame number:i] autorelease];
			[numbersView addSubview:numView];
			numView.frame = frame;
		[self addSubview:numbersView];
		numbersView.contentSize = CGSizeMake(WIDTH, HEIGHT);
		numbersView.contentInset = UIEdgeInsetsMake(0.0,
	return self;

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



// NumView.h

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

@interface NumView : UILabel {

- (id)initWithFrame:(CGRect)frame number:(NSUInteger)num;


// NumView.m

#import "NumView.h"

@implementation NumView

- (id)initWithFrame:(CGRect)frame number:(NSUInteger)num
	if (self = [super initWithFrame:frame]) {
		self.text = [NSString stringWithFormat:@"%d", num];
		self.backgroundColor = [UIColor clearColor];
		self.textColor = [UIColor whiteColor];
		self.textAlignment = UITextAlignmentCenter;
		self.shadowColor = [UIColor darkGrayColor];
		self.shadowOffset = CGSizeMake(0, 1.0);
		self.font = [UIFont boldSystemFontOfSize:36.0];
	return self;


Figure 1 shows the custom control.

Figure 1. Custom scrolling UIControl subclass

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