Latest 0.6.6
License MIT
Platforms ios 10.0


Reinstate is a toolbox for creating apps using hierarchies of view controllers, helping to dispel the myth that a UIViewController needs to correspond to a single screen in your application. Write clean and easy-to-understand app logic using container and child view controllers, keeping each individual component small and much easier to maintain.

UIKit comes with a few built-in container view controllers that are meant to coordinate app logic (UINavigationController, UITabBarController, UIPageViewController to name a few). They hold on to one or several child view controllers and handle the necessary app logic to switch between them. Reinstate aims to make it easy to use this pattern in your own UIViewControllers to help break your app into composable pieces. What exactly do you get out of this pattern?

Benefits of View Controller Composition

  • Your view controllers are less dependent on one another. Do your view controllers do things like self.navigationController?.pushViewController(...? It’s common, but now this view controller doesn’t know how to operate outside of a particular navigation stack.
  • This pattern can be extended to single screens. If you have a really complicated UI, rather than a single, massive view controller, you could have a single container view controller that manages a handful of children.
  • It is easier to identify bugs, and be more confident that regressions won’t occur. Going back to the above example, suppose you have a bug in one of the widgets in your highly complex UI. As a single view controller, it’s harder to know if your change will impact the view controller elsewhere, and it’s probably harder to even pinpoint the bug. However, with container and child view controllers, you can isolate the particular component and be sure the others are not involved.
  • Unlike a screen broken down into several UIViews, each child UIViewController reaps the benefits of the UIViewController lifecycle events. You can supply some special logic to occur on only one component of your screen on viewWillAppear. Or you can customize the layout code of a single component when it rotates to landscape mode.

How to get started?


Reinstate is available through CocoaPods. To install
it, simply add the following line to your Podfile:

pod 'Reinstate'

Adding and Removing Child View Controllers

It’s probably second nature adding UIView subclasses to your UIViewController. But how about adding a child UIViewController instead? Without Reinstate it looks like this:

// childController is the new child view controller
    childController.view.topAnchor.constraint(equalTo: view.topAnchor),
    childController.view.leadingAnchor.constraint(equalTo: view.leadingAnchor),
    childController.view.trailingAnchor.constraint(equalTo: view.trailingAnchor),
    childController.view.bottomAnchor.constraint(equalTo: view.bottomAnchor)
childController.didMove(toParentViewController: self)

And this gets a lot more complicated if you want to animate the change. However, with Reinstate:

// or, an animated version:
self.addChild(childController, animations: (duration: 0.3, options: .transitionCrossDissolve))
// or, add it to a subview instead of self.view:
self.addChild(childController, constrainedTo: containerView, animations: (duration: 0.3, options: .transitionCrossDissolve))

You can similarly remove and replace child view controllers this way. But Reinstate goes beyond utilities to add and remove these child view controllers: it provides several clean container view controllers for you to manage the state of your app.


StatefulViewController is a UIViewController subclass that can manage its contents according to a State. It does so by swapping out child view controllers that you can map to however you model the state of the controller. StatefulViewController can greatly cut down on confusing code, and give you an easy, readable API to specify transition animations and settings.

import Reinstate

enum RootViewState {
    case splash
    case onboarding
    case signIn
    case home

class RootViewController: StatefulViewController<RootViewState> {

    var currentChild: UIViewController?

    override func childViewController(for state: RootState) -> UIViewController {
        switch state {
        case .splash:
            let vc = SplashViewController()
            vc.delegate = self
            return vc
        case .onboarding:
            let vc = OnboardingViewController()
            vc.delegate = self
            return vc
        case .signIn:
            let vc = SignInViewController()
            vc.delegate = self
            return vc
        case .home:
            let vc = HomeViewController()
            vc.delegate = self
            return vc

    override func transitionAnimation(from oldState: RootState, to newState: RootState) -> StateTransitionAnimation? {
        switch (oldState, newState) {
        case (.splash, _):
            return .appearAndSimultaneouslyRemove(
                onAppear: (0.3, .transitionCrossDissolve),
                onRemove: (0.3, .transitionCrossDissolve))
        case (.onboarding, .signIn), (.signIn, .home):
            return .appearOverPrevious(
                onAppear: (0.3, .transitionFlipFromLeft))
        case (.signIn, .onboarding), (.home, .signIn):
            return .appearUnderPrevious(
                onRemove: (0.3, .transitionFlipFromRight))
            return nil


extension RootViewController: SplashViewControllerDelegate {

    func splashViewControllerDidComplete(_ controller: SplashViewController) {
        switch (UserDefaults.standard.isAuthenticated, UserDefaults.standard.hasCompletedOnboarding) {
        case (true, _):
            transition(to: .home, animated: true)
        case (false, true):
            transition(to: .signIn, animated: true)
        case (false, false):
            transition(to: .onboarding, animated: true)


extension RootViewController: OnboardingViewControllerDelegate {

    func onboardingViewControllerDidComplete(_ controller: OnboardingViewController) {
        UserDefaults.standard.hasCompletedOnboarding = true
        transition(to: .signIn, animated: true)


// Other delegate implementations omitted for brevity


StatefulNavigationController is a wrapper around UINavigationController that manages its navigation stack according to its NavigationState. Similar to StatefulViewController, you tell it which view controller should be created for which state, and tell it when to transition. The API is meant to mirror that of StatefulViewController. See the Example project for usage.

Flowchart describing whether your transition will push or pop


StatefulNavigationController is a wrapper around UITabBarController, in the same vein as the other stateful controllers. Its API is highly similar to the other two (one difference: a Tab Bar needs to know all possible states when initialized). See the Example project for usage.


To run the example project, clone the repo, open and run Example/Reinstate.xcworkspace.


Connor Neville, [email protected]


Reinstate is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.

Latest podspec

    "name": "Reinstate",
    "version": "0.6.6",
    "summary": "A toolbox for better view controller management in iOS.",
    "description": "Leverage view controller containment to write cleaner, more readable UI code.",
    "homepage": "",
    "license": {
        "type": "MIT",
        "file": "LICENSE"
    "authors": {
        "Connor Neville": "[email protected]"
    "source": {
        "git": "",
        "tag": "0.6.6"
    "swift_version": "4.0",
    "platforms": {
        "ios": "10.0"
    "source_files": "Source/**/*"

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