Lecture 2: MVVM and the Swift Type System | Summary and Q&A

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May 18, 2020
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Stanford
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Lecture 2: MVVM and the Swift Type System

TL;DR

This lecture introduces the MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) architecture and the type system in Swift for designing iOS apps using SwiftUI.

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Key Insights

  • 😀 The MVVM architecture is used to organize and separate code in SwiftUI apps, promoting reusability and maintainability.
  • 👷 Structs are recommended as the go-to data structure in SwiftUI, while classes are used for ViewModels and situations that require sharing and mutation.
  • 😀 Functions can serve as types in Swift and are used to define Intents, representing user actions in the app.

Transcript

(mellow ambient music) - [Announcer] Stanford University. - [Instructor] Right, well, welcome back to lecture two of Stanford CS193p in spring of 2020. I'm gonna dive right back into the demo that we started in lecture one, however, first, I'm gonna cover these two really important conceptual ideas. First is MVVM. This is a design paradigm we're go... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the purpose of the Model in MVVM?

The Model in MVVM represents the data and logic of the app, encapsulating information and operations that the app performs.

Q: What is the difference between structs and classes in Swift?

Structs are value types and are passed by copying, while classes are reference types and are passed by reference. Structs are generally recommended for most use cases, except in situations that require sharing and mutation among multiple views.

Q: What is the purpose of the ViewModel in MVVM?

The ViewModel acts as the middleman between the Model and the View, binding the View to the Model and providing functionalities for the View to interact with the Model.

Q: What is the purpose of the ViewModel's private set?

The private set modifier restricts access to the ViewModel's properties, making them read-only outside of the ViewModel, preventing unauthorized modifications by external sources.

Summary

This video covers two important conceptual ideas in iOS development - MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) and the type system in Swift. The instructor explains how MVVM is used as a design paradigm to organize code and create reactive user interfaces. The Model in MVVM is UI independent and encapsulates data and logic, while the View reflects the Model and displays the current state. The ViewModel binds the Model and the View, interpreting the Model for the View and handling user intents. The instructor also introduces different types in Swift such as structs, classes, don't care types (generics), and functions as types.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is MVVM and why is it important?

MVVM stands for Model-View-ViewModel and it is a design paradigm used in iOS development. It helps organize code and create reactive user interfaces. MVVM separates the Model (UI independent part of the app) from the View (what is displayed to the user), and uses the ViewModel to bind the two together. This paradigm is important because it allows for clear separation of concerns and makes it easier to maintain and test code.

Q: What is the difference between MVVM and MVC?

MVVM is different from MVC (Model-View-Controller), which is the traditional iOS development mechanism. In MVC, the Model represents the data and logic, the View represents what is displayed to the user, and the Controller is responsible for managing user interactions and updating the Model and View. In MVVM, the ViewModel takes on the role of the Controller, binding the Model and View together and handling user intents. MVVM also emphasizes a declarative and reactive approach to UI development.

Q: What is the role of the Model in MVVM?

The Model in MVVM is UI independent and represents the data and logic of the app. It encapsulates information about the application's state, such as the cards in a card matching game, and the logic for actions such as choosing and matching cards. The Model is considered the source of truth and is always consulted for data and logic, making sure there is only one version of the truth.

Q: How does the View reflect the Model in MVVM?

The View in MVVM reflects the current state of the Model. It displays the data from the Model and updates itself based on changes in the Model. The View is stateless and declarative, meaning it takes the current state of the Model and displays it without any additional logic. The View appears as the code that declares the UI elements and modifiers, and it only updates when the Model changes.

Q: How does the ViewModel bind the Model and the View together in MVVM?

The ViewModel in MVVM acts as a mediator between the Model and the View. It notices changes in the Model and publishes notifications to any interested parties. However, the ViewModel doesn't have direct references to the Views. Instead, the View subscribes to these notifications and asks the ViewModel for the current state of the Model. This allows for loose coupling between the ViewModel and the View, ensuring that the ViewModel can handle interpretation and protection of the Model's data.

Q: What is the difference between a struct and a class in Swift?

In Swift, structs and classes are both types that can contain properties and functions. However, there are some key differences between the two. Structs are value types, meaning they are copied when passed around, while classes are reference types, meaning they are passed with pointers. Structs are generally used as go-to data structures and are suitable for functional programming. On the other hand, classes are used for object-oriented programming and are well-suited for encapsulating data and functionality. Classes support inheritance, while structs do not.

Q: What is a don't care type and how is it used in Swift?

A don't care type, also known as a type parameter or generics, is a way to create type-safe code in Swift when the specific type doesn't matter. It is denoted by a placeholder name, such as "Element" in the case of arrays. Arrays are generic types, and the Element is the type of the items contained in the array. When an array is instantiated or used, the type parameter is specified, allowing the code to be flexible and work with different types.

Q: Can functions serve as types in Swift?

Yes, functions can serve as types in Swift. The syntax for a function type is similar to the syntax for defining a function, but without the function body. Function types specify the types of the arguments and the return value of the function. They can be used to declare variables, parameters, or function return types. Function types are useful for passing functions as arguments or returning them from other functions.

Q: When would you use a struct instead of a class in Swift?

Structs are commonly used when you only need simple data types and don't require the features provided by classes, such as inheritance or reference semantics. They are lightweight and copied when passed around, making them suitable for functional programming and value-oriented scenarios. Structs are recommended as the go-to data structure for most cases in Swift. However, there are some situations where classes may be more appropriate, such as when you need reference semantics or the ability to create subclasses.

Q: How does the MVVM architecture handle user intents?

In MVVM, the ViewModel is responsible for processing user intents. User intents are the actions or operations that the user wants to perform in the app. The ViewModel provides a set of functions that represent the possible user intents. When the View detects a user interaction, such as a tap or a swipe gesture, it calls the corresponding function in the ViewModel to notify it of the user's intent. The ViewModel then updates the Model accordingly and triggers any necessary updates to the View.

Q: Why is MVVM preferred over imperative models for UI development?

MVVM is preferred over imperative models for UI development because it offers several advantages. One major advantage is that MVVM allows for a declarative approach to UI development, where the code explicitly declares what the UI should look like based on the current state of the Model. This makes the code easier to understand and maintain. Additionally, MVVM's reactive nature ensures that the View automatically updates whenever the Model changes, eliminating the need for manual updates. This helps to reduce bugs and improve overall code quality.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • MVVM is a design paradigm used to organize code in SwiftUI apps and works in conjunction with reactive user interfaces.

  • The Model represents the data and logic of the app, while the View reflects the Model and the ViewModel binds the View to the Model.

  • Structs are used as the go-to data structure in SwiftUI, while classes are typically used for ViewModels.

  • Functions can serve as types in Swift and are used to define Intents, which are actions performed by the user.

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