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Abusing ViewControllers

UIViewControllers are a fundamental building block of most iOS applications. Unfortunately many developers seem to use them in unintended and unsupported ways which leaves their apps vulnerable to bugs, rejections, unpredictable behavior under new iOS releases, and with controllers which are difficult to update or reuse. The core misconceptions behind this abuse of UIViewController are understandable. Apple presents UIViewControllers as a key element of an app’s navigation and interface stating “custom view controllers are the primary coordinating objects for your application’s content”. The basic application templates are defined in terms of their UIViewController behavior; “navigation-based”, “tab bar”, “split-view based”. From our first exposure to the platform developers are presented with UIViewControllers as classes for managing views and the transitions between them. Sadly those examples present a pattern which we, as iOS developers outside Apple, cannot follow or build on.

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