SwiftUI vs UIKit: A Case Study on How a Declarative Framework Can Improve Learnability of UI Programming
User interface development on iOS is in a major transitionary state as Apple introduces a declarative and interactive framework called SwiftUI. SwiftUI’s success depends on how well it integrates its new tooling for novice developers. This paper will demonstrate and discuss where SwiftUI succeeds and fails at carving a new path for user interface development for new developers. This is done by comparisons against its existing imperative UI framework UIKit as well as elaborating on the background of SwiftUI and examples of how SwiftUI works to help developers. The paper will also discuss what exactly led to SwiftUI and how it is currently faring on Apple's latest operating systems. SwiftUI is a framework growing and evolving to serve the needs of 5 very different platforms with code that claims to be simpler to write and easier to deploy. The world of UI programming in iOS has been dominated by a Storyboard canvas for years, but SwiftUI claims to link this graphic-first development process with the code programmers are used to by keeping them side by side in constant sync. This bold move requires interactive programming capable of recompilation on the fly. As this paper will discuss, SwiftUI has garnered a community of developers giving it the main property it needs to succeed: a component library.