iOS - Auto Layouts

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Introduction

Auto layouts were introduced in iOS 6.0 and we can support only deployment target of 6.0 and higher. It helps us create interfaces that can be used for multiple orientations and multiple devices.

Goal of our example

We will add two buttons that will be placed a certain distance from the center of screen. We will also try to add a resizable text field that will be placed from a certain distance from above the buttons.

Our Approach

We will add text field and two buttons in code along with their constraints. The constraints of each UI Elements will be created and added to the super view and we will have to disable auto resizing for each of the UI elements we add in order get the desired result.

Steps Involved

1. Create a simple View based application.

2. We will only edit ViewController.m and it is as follows.

#import "ViewController.h"
@interface ViewController ()
@property (nonatomic, strong) UIButton *leftButton;
@property (nonatomic, strong) UIButton *rightButton;
@property (nonatomic, strong) UITextField *textfield;

@end
@implementation ViewController

- (void)viewDidLoad{
    [super viewDidLoad];
    UIView *superview = self.view;
    /*1. Create leftButton and add to our view*/
    self.leftButton = [UIButton buttonWithType:UIButtonTypeRoundedRect];
    self.leftButton.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = NO;
    [self.leftButton setTitle:@"LeftButton" forState:UIControlStateNormal];
    [self.view addSubview:self.leftButton];    
    /* 2. Constraint to position LeftButton's X*/
    NSLayoutConstraint *leftButtonXConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.leftButton attribute:NSLayoutAttributeCenterX 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationGreaterThanOrEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeCenterX multiplier:1.0 constant:-60.0f];
    /* 3. Constraint to position LeftButton's Y*/
    NSLayoutConstraint *leftButtonYConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.leftButton attribute:NSLayoutAttributeCenterY 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeCenterY multiplier:1.0f constant:0.0f];   
    /* 4. Add the constraints to button's superview*/
    [superview addConstraints:@[ leftButtonXConstraint,
    leftButtonYConstraint]];    
    /*5. Create rightButton and add to our view*/
    self.rightButton = [UIButton buttonWithType:UIButtonTypeRoundedRect];
    self.rightButton.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = NO;
    [self.rightButton setTitle:@"RightButton" forState:UIControlStateNormal];
    [self.view addSubview:self.rightButton];    
    /*6. Constraint to position RightButton's X*/
    NSLayoutConstraint *rightButtonXConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.rightButton attribute:NSLayoutAttributeCenterX 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationGreaterThanOrEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeCenterX multiplier:1.0 constant:60.0f];
    /*7. Constraint to position RightButton's Y*/
    rightButtonXConstraint.priority = UILayoutPriorityDefaultHigh;
    NSLayoutConstraint *centerYMyConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.rightButton attribute:NSLayoutAttributeCenterY 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationGreaterThanOrEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeCenterY multiplier:1.0f constant:0.0f];
    [superview addConstraints:@[centerYMyConstraint,
    rightButtonXConstraint]];
   //8. Add Text field
    self.textfield = [[UITextField alloc]initWithFrame:
    CGRectMake(0, 100, 100, 30)];
    self.textfield.borderStyle = UITextBorderStyleRoundedRect;
    self.textfield.translatesAutoresizingMaskIntoConstraints = NO;
    [self.view addSubview:self.textfield];
    //9. Text field Constraints
    NSLayoutConstraint *textFieldTopConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.textfield attribute:NSLayoutAttributeTop 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationGreaterThanOrEqual toItem:superview 
    attribute:NSLayoutAttributeTop multiplier:1.0 constant:60.0f];
    NSLayoutConstraint *textFieldBottomConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.textfield attribute:NSLayoutAttributeTop 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationGreaterThanOrEqual toItem:self.rightButton 
    attribute:NSLayoutAttributeTop multiplier:0.8 constant:-60.0f];
    NSLayoutConstraint *textFieldLeftConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.textfield attribute:NSLayoutAttributeLeft 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeLeft multiplier:1.0 constant:30.0f];
    NSLayoutConstraint *textFieldRightConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.textfield attribute:NSLayoutAttributeRight 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeRight multiplier:1.0 constant:-30.0f];
    [superview addConstraints:@[textFieldBottomConstraint ,
    textFieldLeftConstraint, textFieldRightConstraint, 
    textFieldTopConstraint]];   
}
- (void)didReceiveMemoryWarning
{
    [super didReceiveMemoryWarning];
    // Dispose of any resources that can be recreated.
}
@end

What we did here?

In steps marked 1, 5 and 8 we just programmatically add two buttons and a text field respectively. In rest of the steps we create constraints and add those constraints to respective super views which are actually self.view. When you look into the one of the left button's constraint as shown below,

    NSLayoutConstraint *leftButtonXConstraint = [NSLayoutConstraint 
    constraintWithItem:self.leftButton attribute:NSLayoutAttributeCenterX 
    relatedBy:NSLayoutRelationGreaterThanOrEqual toItem:superview attribute:
    NSLayoutAttributeCenterX multiplier:1.0 constant:-60.0f];

We actually have constraintWithItem and toItem which decides between which UI element we are creating the constraint. The attribute decides on what basis the two elements have linked together. Related by decides how much the attributes have effect between the elements. Multiplier is the multiplication factor and constant will be added to the multipler. Here we are saying that X of leftButton is always greater than or equal to -60 pixels with respect to the center of the super view. Similarly other constraints are defined.

Output

Now when we run the application we'll get the following output on iPhone simulator.

iOS Tutorial

When we change the orientation of the simulator to landscape we will get following output.

iOS Tutorial

When we run the same application on iPhone 5 simulator we will get the following output.

iOS Tutorial

When we change the orientation of the simulator to landscape we will get following output.

iOS Tutorial



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