Latest 1.1.0
Homepage https://github.com/drewolbrich/ScrollingContentViewController
License MIT
Platforms ios 11.0
Frameworks UIKit
Authors

Travis
Platform
Swift 4.2
License
Twitter

Overview

ScrollingContentViewController makes it easy to create a view controller with a scrolling content view, or to convert an existing static view controller into one that scrolls. Most importantly, it takes care of several tricky undocumented edge cases involving the keyboard, navigation controllers, and device rotations.

Background

A common UIKit Auto Layout task involves creating a view controller with a fixed layout that is too large to fit older, smaller devices, or devices in landscape orientation, or the area of the screen that remains visible when the keyboard is presented.

For example, consider this sign up screen, which fits iPhone Xs, but not iPhone SE with a keyboard:

ScrollingContentViewController

This case can be handled by nesting the view inside a scroll view. You can do this manually in Interface Builder, as described by Apple’s Working with Scroll Views documentation, but many steps are required. If your view contains text fields, you’ll have to write code to compensate for the keyboard when it’s presented, as in Managing the Keyboard. However, handling the keyboard robustly is surprisingly complicated, especially if your app presents a sequence of screens with keyboards in the context of a navigation controller, or when device orientation support is required.

To simplify this task, ScrollingContentViewController inserts the scroll view into the view hierarchy for you, along with all necessary Auto Layout constraints. When used in a storyboard, ScrollingContentViewController exposes a contentView outlet that you connect to the view that you’d like make scrollable. Everything else is taken care of automatically.

ScrollingContentViewController can be configured using storyboards or entirely in code. The easiest way to use it is by subclassing the ScrollingContentViewController class instead of UIViewController. However, when this is not an option, a helper class called ScrollingContentViewManager can be composed with your existing view controller class instead.

An explanation of how ScrollingContentViewController works internally is provided below.

Installation

To install ScrollingContentViewController using CocoaPods, add this line to your Podfile:

pod 'ScrollingContentViewController'

To install using Carthage, add this to your Cartfile:

github "drewolbrich/ScrollingContentViewController"

Usage

Subclasses of ScrollingContentViewController may be configured using storyboards or in code.

This library can also be used without subclassing, by composing the helper class ScrollingContentViewManager instead. See Usage Without Subclassing.

Storyboards

To configure ScrollingContentViewController in a storyboard:

  1. Create a subclass of ScrollingContentViewController and add a new view controller with that class in Interface Builder. Or, if you have an existing view controller that subclasses UIViewController, modify your view controller to subclass ScrollingContentViewController instead.

    import ScrollingContentViewController
    
    class MyViewController: ScrollingContentViewController {
    
        // ...
    
    }
  2. In Interface Builder’s outline view, control-click your view controller and connect its contentView outlet to your view controller’s root view.

    ScrollingContentViewController

  3. If your view controller defines a viewDidLoad method, call super.viewDidLoad if you aren’t already doing so.

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()
    
        // ...
    }
  4. At runtime, the ScrollingContentViewController property contentView will now reference the superview of the controls that you laid out in Interface Builder. This superview will no longer be referenced by the view property, which will instead reference an empty root view behind the scrolling content view. If necessary, revise your code to reflect this change.

Your content view will now scroll, provided that you ensure that the content view’s Auto Layout constraints sufficiently define its size, and that this size is larger than the safe area.

Code

To integrate ScrollingContentViewController programmatically:

  1. Subclass ScrollingContentViewController instead of UIViewController.

    import ScrollingContentViewController
    
    class MyViewController: ScrollingContentViewController {
    
        // ...
    
    }
  2. In your view controller’s viewDidLoad method, assign a new view to the contentView property. Add all of your controls to this view instead of referencing the view property so they can scroll freely. The view controller’s root view referenced by its view property now acts as a background view behind the scrolling content view.

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()
    
        contentView = UIView()
    
        // Add all controls to contentView instead of view.
        // ...
    }

Caveats

Auto Layout Considerations

For ScrollingContentViewController to determine the height of the scroll view’s content, the content view must contain an unbroken chain of constraints and views stretching from the content view’s top edge to its bottom edge. This is also true for the content view’s width. This is consistent with the approach described by Apple’s Working with Scroll Views documentation.

If you don’t define sufficient Auto Layout constraints, ScrollingContentViewController won’t be able to determine the size of your content view, and it will not scroll as expected.

If you’d like your content view to stretch to take advantage of the full visible area of the scroll view, relax your constraints to allow for this. For example, in Interface Builder, change the Relation property of one of your height constraints to Greater Than or Equal.

To determine the size of the scroll view’s content size, ScrollingContentViewController creates width and height constraints with a relation greater than or equal to the width and height of the scroll view’s safe area. The priority of these constraints is 500. Consequently, if you create an unbroken chain of constraints with priority defaultHigh (750) or required (1000), they will take precedence over ScrollingContentViewController’s internal minimum width and height constraints, and your content view will not stretch to fill the scroll view’s safe area.

If the size of your view controller is intentionally highly constrained (e.g. consisting exclusively of constraints with required priority and lacking greaterThanOrEqual relation constraints), you may see Auto Layout constraint errors in Interface Builder if the constraints don’t match the simulated size of the view, for example, when you switch between simulated device sizes. The easiest way to resolve this issue is to reduce the priority of one of your constraints. The value 240 is a good choice because it is lower than the default content hugging priority (250) and consequently, it will help avoid the undesirable behavior where text fields and labels without height constraints stretch vertically.

ScrollingContentViewController

Intrinsic Content Size

If you’d prefer not to use Auto Layout, the content view’s size may be specified using intrinsicContentSize instead of constraints.

The default UIView content hugging priority is defaultLow, and consequently, the content view’s intrinisic content size will normally be overridden by the minimum size constraints that ScrollingContentViewController assigns. If you’d like intrinsicContentSize to take precedence over these constraints, set the content view’s content hugging priority to required.

Changing the Background Color

The content view is positioned within the scroll view’s safe area. Consequently, the content view’s background color won’t extend underneath the status bar, home indicator, navigation bar, or toolbar.

ScrollingContentViewController

To specify a background color that extends to the edges of the screen:

  1. Set the background color of the view controller’s root view to the desired color. This view will be visible behind the scroll view, which is transparent.

  2. Set the content view’s background color to nil so it is also transparent.

For example:

view.backgroundColor = UIColor(red: 1, green: 0.949, blue: 0.788, alpha: 1)
contentView.backgroundColor = nil

Resizing the Content View

If you make changes to your content view that modify its size, you must call the scroll view’s setNeedsLayout method, or otherwise the scroll view’s content size won’t be updated to reflect the size change, and your view may not scroll correctly.

For example, after updating the view’s NSLayoutConstraint.constant properties, you may animate the changes like this:

UIView.animate(withDuration: 0.5, delay: 0, usingSpringWithDamping: 1, initialSpringVelocity: 0, 
        options: [], animations: {
    self.scrollView.setNeedsLayout()
    self.scrollView.layoutIfNeeded()
}, completion: nil)

Oversized View Controllers

In Interface Builder, it’s possible to design a view controller that is intentionally larger than the height of the screen. To do this, change the view controller’s simulated size to Freeform and adjust its height. When used with ScrollingContentViewController, the view controller’s oversized content view will scroll freely, assuming its constraints require it to be larger than the screen.

ScrollingContentViewController

Usage Without Subclassing

When subclassing ScrollingContentViewController is not an option, the helper class ScrollingContentViewManager can be composed with your view controller instead:

import ScrollingContentViewController

class MyViewController: UIViewController {

    lazy var scrollingContentViewManager = ScrollingContentViewManager(hostViewController: self)

    @IBOutlet weak var contentView: UIView!

    override func loadView() {
        // Load all controls and connect all outlets defined by Interface Builder.
        super.loadView()

        scrollingContentViewManager.loadView(forContentView: contentView)
    }

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()

        // When ScrollingContentViewManager.contentView is first assigned, this has the
        // side effect of adding a scroll view to the content view's superview, and
        // adding the content view to the scroll view.
        scrollingContentViewManager.contentView = contentView

        // Set the content view's background color to transparent so the root view is
        // visible behind it.
        contentView.backgroundColor = nil
    }

    // Note: This method is not strictly required, but logs a warning if the content
    // view's size is undefined.
    override func viewWillAppear(_ animated: Bool) {
        super.viewWillAppear(animated)

        scrollingContentViewManager.viewWillAppear(animated)
    }

    // Note: This is only required in apps that support device orientation changes.
    override func viewWillTransition(to size: CGSize,
            with coordinator: UIViewControllerTransitionCoordinator) {
        super.viewWillTransition(to: size, with: coordinator)

        scrollingContentViewManager.viewWillTransition(to: size, with: coordinator)
    }

    // Note: This is only required in apps with navigation controllers that are used to
    // push sequences of view controllers with text fields that become the first
    // responder in `viewWillAppear`.
    override func viewSafeAreaInsetsDidChange() {
        super.viewSafeAreaInsetsDidChange()

        scrollingContentViewManager.viewSafeAreaInsetsDidChange()
    }

}

The ScrollingContentViewManager class supports all of the same properties and methods as ScrollingContentViewController.

ScrollingContentViewManager can also be used to create a scrolling view controller programatically:

import ScrollingContentViewController

class MyViewController: UIViewController {

    lazy var scrollingContentViewManager = ScrollingContentViewManager(hostViewController: self)

    let contentView = UIView()

    override func viewDidLoad() {
        super.viewDidLoad()

        // Populate your content view here.
        // ...

        // When ScrollingContentViewManager.contentView is first assigned, this has the
        // side effect of adding a scroll view to the view controller's root view, and
        // adding the content view to the scroll view.
        scrollingContentViewManager.contentView = contentView
    }

    // Note: This method is not strictly required, but logs a warning if the content
    // view's size is undefined.
    override func viewWillAppear(_ animated: Bool) {
        super.viewWillAppear(animated)

        scrollingContentViewManager.viewWillAppear(animated)
    }

    // Note: This is only required in apps that support device orientation changes.
    override func viewWillTransition(to size: CGSize,
            with coordinator: UIViewControllerTransitionCoordinator) {
        super.viewWillTransition(to: size, with: coordinator)

        scrollingContentViewManager.viewWillTransition(to: size, with: coordinator)
    }

    // Note: This is only required in apps with navigation controllers that are used to
    // push sequences of view controllers with text fields that become the first
    // responder in `viewWillAppear`.
    override func viewSafeAreaInsetsDidChange() {
        super.viewSafeAreaInsetsDidChange()

        scrollingContentViewManager.viewSafeAreaInsetsDidChange()
    }

}

Examples

  • StoryboardExample – Example configuring ScrollingContentViewController in a storyboard.

  • CodeExample – Example using code only.

  • ManagerExample – Example using ScrollingContentViewManager and class composition instead of subclassing ScrollingContentViewController.

  • SequenceExample – Example of a sequence of pushed scrolling view controllers with keyboards in the context of a navigation controller.

  • ReassignExample – Example of dynamically reassigning contentView.

View Controller Properties

The ScrollingContentViewController and ScrollingContentViewManager classes share the following properties:

contentView

The scrolling content view parented to the scroll view.

When this property is first assigned, the view that it references is parented to scrollView, which is then added to the view controller’s view hierarchy.

If the content view already has a superview, the scroll view replaces it in the view hierarchy and all of the superview’s constraints that reference the content view are retargeted to the content view. The content view’s width and height constraints and autoresizing mask are transferred to the scroll view.

If the content view has no superview, the scroll view is parented to the view controller’s root view and its frame and autoresizing mask are defined to track the root view’s bounds.

If the contentView property is later reassigned, the new content view replaces the old one as the subview of the scroll view, and the scroll view is left otherwise unmodified.

scrollView

The scroll view to which contentView is parented.

You may safely modify any of the scroll view’s properties. For example, setting keyboardDismissMode to interactive or onDrag will allow the user to dismiss the keyboard by dragging the scroll view.

The scroll view is implemented as a subclass of UIScrollView that provides additional properties and methods which you may use to modify its behavior.

shouldResizeContentViewForKeyboard

A Boolean value that determines whether or not the content view is resized when the keyboard is presented.

  • true – When the keyboard is presented, the content view shrinks to fit the portion of the scroll view not overlapped by the keyboard, to the extent that this is permitted by the content view’s Auto Layout constraints. With an appropriate use of constraints, this may allow for more effective use of the reduced screen real estate.

  • false – When the keyboard is presented, the content view’s size remains unchanged. This is the default value.

shouldAdjustAdditionalSafeAreaInsetsForKeyboard

A Boolean value that determines whether or not the view controller’s additionalSafeAreaInsets property is adjusted when the keyboard is presented.

  • true – When the keyboard is presented, the view controller’s additionalSafeAreaInsets property is adjusted to compensate for the portion of the scroll view that is overlapped by the keyboard, ensuring that all of the content view’s content is accessible via scrolling. This is the default value.

  • false – When the keyboard is presented, the view controller’s additionalSafeAreaInsets property remains unchanged. Assign this value if you’d prefer to implement your own keyboard presentation compensation behavior.

Scroll View Properties and Methods

The scroll view referenced by the scrollView property of ScrollingContentViewController and ScrollingContentViewManager provides the following additional properties and methods, beyond those normally provided by UIScrollView:

visibilityScrollMargin

A floating point value representing a vertical margin applied to the first responder view frame when the scroll view is scrolled to make the first responder visible. The default value is 0, which matches the UIKit default behavior.

scrollRectToVisible(animated:margin:)

Scrolls the scroll view to make the rect visible.

The optional margin parameter specifies an extra margin around the rect which is also made visible. If margin is unspecified or nil, the value of visibilityScrollMargin will be used instead.

scrollViewToVisible(animated:margin:)

Scrolls the scroll view to make the specified view visible.

The optional margin parameter specifies an extra margin around the view which is also made visible. If margin is unspecified or nil, the value of visibilityScrollMargin will be used instead.

scrollFirstResponderToVisible(animated:margin:)

Scrolls the scroll view to make the first responder visible. If no first responder is defined, this method has no effect.

The optional margin parameter specifies an extra margin around the first responder which is also made visible. If margin is unspecified or nil, the value of visibilityScrollMargin will be used instead.

How It Works

View Hierarchy

ScrollingContentViewController inserts a scroll view between the content view and its superview, using Auto Layout to constrain the scroll view’s content layout guide to the size of the content view. The content view’s size is also constrained to be greater than or equal to the size of the scroll view’s safe area, so it can utilize the full area of the screen assigned to the scroll view.

ScrollingContentViewController

When the content view is first assigned, if it has a superview, the scroll view replaces it in the view hierarchy and all of the superview’s constraints that reference the content view are retargeted to the content view. The content view’s width and height constraints and autoresizing mask are transferred to the scroll view.

If the content view has no superview, the scroll view is parented to the view controller’s root view and its frame and autoresizing mask are defined to track the root view’s bounds.

If the ScrollingContentViewController’s contentView property references its root view, a new UIView is allocated and replaces it as the root view so that the scroll view will have an appropriate view to be parented view.

The content view’s superview does not necessarily have to be the view controller’s root view, and does not have to match the root view’s size.

Refer to Apple’s Working with Scroll Views documentation for a detailed description of how scroll views are used with Auto Layout.

Additional Safe Area Insets

When the keyboard is presented, ScrollingContentViewController modifies the container view controller’s additionalSafeAreaInsets property to compensate for the area of the keyboard that overlaps the scroll view, as recommended in Apple’s Managing the Keyboard documentation.

Although ScrollingContentViewController modifies additionalSafeAreaInsets when the keyboard is presented, it restores it to its original value when the keyboard is dismissed. This allows additionalSafeAreaInsets to be used for other purposes, such as custom tool palettes.

During development, an alternate approach suggested by Apple, modifying the scroll view’s content size, was also tried. This requires adjusting the scroll view’s scrollIndicatorInsets property to compensate for the content size change. On iPhone Xs in landscape orientation, doing so has the unfortunate side effect of awkwardly shifting the scroll indicator away from the edge of the screen.

Keyboard Resize Filtering

When a text field becomes the first responder, UIKit presents the keyboard. If the user taps another text field, changing the first responder, UIKit may adjust the keyboard’s height if an input accessory view is specified. These changes may generate a sequence of keyboardWillShow notifications, each with different keyboard heights.

As an extreme example, if the user populates a text field by tapping on an AutoFill input accessory view, and this action causes a password text field to automatically become the first responder, one keyboardWillHide notification and two keyboardWillShow notifications will be posted within a span of 0.1 seconds.

If ScrollingContentViewController were to respond to each of these notifications individually, this would cause awkward discontinuities in the scroll view animation that accompanies changes to the keyboard’s height.

To work around this issue, ScrollingContentViewController filters out sequences of notifications that occur within a small time window, acting only on the final assigned keyboard frame in the sequence. This appears to be consistent with the way Apple’s iOS apps are implemented. As of iOS 12, Apple’s apps respond to keyboard size changes only after a short delay, and do not animate their views in concert with the keyboard’s animation.

During a device orientation transition, a keyboardWillHide notification is posted before the animation starts, followed by keyboardWillShow after it ends, even though the keyboard remains visible during the transition. Because the duration of the animation exceeds the filtering time window, it is therefore necessary to temporarily suspend filtering during the transition. Otherwise, the content view would resize unnecessarily.

Finally, ScrollingContentViewController correctly handles the case where changes to the size or layout of the scroll view’s content may occur in response to keyboard presentation or device orientation changes (in particular when shouldResizeContentViewForKeyboard is true), invaliding the coordinate space of the rectangle passed to scrollRectToVisible (most importantly, in the case when that method is called automatically by iOS after keyboard changes) which would otherwise result in the scroll view scrolling by an inappropriate amount or leaving the scroll view with a content offset that is outside of the legal scrolling range.

Refer to Apple’s Managing the Keyboard documentation for more information about responding to changes in keyboard visibility.

Special Cases Handled

In addition to keyboard resize filtering, above, ScrollingContentViewController addresses a few other edge cases:

Navigation Controllers

ScrollingContentViewController correctly handles sequences of pushed view controllers in the context of a navigation controller, in particular in the case when each view controller calls a text field’s becomeFirstResponder method in viewWillAppear, such that the keyboard remains visible across view controller transitions.

Device Orientation Changes

When device orientation changes occur, ScrollingContentViewController improves upon the default scroll view behavior by pinning the upper left corner of the scroll view in place, while at the same time preventing out of range content offsets. This matches the behavior of many of Apple’s iOS apps.

keyboardDismissMode Enhancement

ScrollingContentViewController automatically enables UIScrollView.alwaysBounceVertical while the keyboard is presented if UIScrollView.keyboardDismissMode is set to anything other than none, so the keyboard can be dismissed even if the view is too short to normally allow scrolling.

Arbitrary Scroll View Sizes

ScrollingContentViewController correctly handles the case when the scroll view doesn’t cover the full extent of the screen, in which case it may only partially intersect the keyboard.

Text Field Animation Artifact Fix

As of iOS 12, if the user taps a sequence of custom text fields, UIKit may awkwardly animate the text field’s text. ScrollingContentViewController suppresses this animation.

License

This project is licensed under the terms of the MIT open source license. Please refer to the file LICENSE for the full terms.

Latest podspec

{
    "name": "ScrollingContentViewController",
    "version": "1.1.0",
    "summary": "A Swift library that simplifies making a view controller's view scrollable",
    "description": "ScrollingContentViewController makes it easy to create a view controller with anscrolling content view, or to convert an existing static view controller intonone that scrolls. Most importantly, it takes care of several tricky undocumentednedge cases involving the keyboard, navigation controllers, and device rotations.",
    "homepage": "https://github.com/drewolbrich/ScrollingContentViewController",
    "license": {
        "type": "MIT",
        "file": "LICENSE"
    },
    "authors": {
        "drewolbrich": "[email protected]"
    },
    "source": {
        "git": "https://github.com/drewolbrich/ScrollingContentViewController.git",
        "tag": "1.1.0"
    },
    "social_media_url": "https://twitter.com/drewolbrich",
    "platforms": {
        "ios": "11.0"
    },
    "source_files": "Source/**/*.swift",
    "frameworks": "UIKit",
    "swift_version": "4.2"
}

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