• Development


  • swift
  • tutorial
  • mobile
  • ios

Swift has been surfing the news waves quite some time by now even more after the Open Source Announcement. I have given the though of learning it day one, and to say the truth I read the Apple’s intro book when the first version came off, the problem was I didn’t wanted to commit to the language at that time.

I believe that the way to learning some kind of stuff, like programming languages, is through practicing. So this series of posts will present the birth of a simple Todo App from ground zero to the point it is exhausted, at least the point I think it is.

Check the code in my github repo

First steps

  • Did you get latest Xcode? Some Swift enable version please
  • Create a single view application, remember to enable tests

Now the project have:

  • A view controller
  • Main and LaunchScreen storyboards
  • The famous AppDelegate, if you’re an iOS developer

Pro tip: If you’re lost about the basics I strongly recommend to check the intro book mentioned before, is quite helpful

Why storyboard? This app isn’t complex enough that demands a nib or frame approach, and if that became true in the future then it can always be changed. Here is a post by Antonio Bello from Toptal dwelving further into the subject.

Todo Model

The todo item during this step is composed by two things:

  • content: the text that an user input as a to do
  • completed: the field that stores if that to do was completed

Also I added a bonus static method sample to create some pre-inserted data.

class TodoModel {
    var content: String
    var completed: Bool

    init (content: String) {
        self.content = content
        self.completed = false

    static func sample() -> [TodoModel] {
        var data = [TodoModel]()
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Pay the bills"))
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Fix bike"))
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Schedule Medic"))
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Get more dog food"))
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Call jenny to schedule dinner"))
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Invite Bob to play basket"))
        data.append(TodoModel(content:"Buy ticket to see this week Golden State game"))      
        return data

Todo list Cell - UITableViewCell

I created a simple UITableViewCell file just to store a checkbox image (UIImageView) and a title label, as long as switching the checkbox image properly. Also I want to improve the cell in the future.

class TodoTableViewCell: UITableViewCell {

    @IBOutlet weak var checkboxImg: UIImageView!
    @IBOutlet weak var titleLabel: UILabel!

    func switchCheckbox(checked: Bool) {
        if checked {
            checkboxImg.image = UIImage(named: "checked")
        else {
            checkboxImg.image = UIImage(named: "unchecked")


Important to note that I built the cell UI directly into storyboard, to do that:

  • Table view content is at Dynamic Prototypes
  • Prototype Cells is set to 1
  • Changed the class to TodoTableViewCell
  • Set identifier to the same used in the TodosViewController

cell on storyboard

Todo list ViewController

Almost there, the only thing left is the ViewController. I didn’t mention how everything would work right?

Well the idea is similar to the todomvc online sample, at least the visual is and some features, not the code.

Initial features:

  • user can add a new todo in a simple input field
  • each new item is added to both all and todo lists
  • if the user check it as completed then the item is marked as completed, when unchecked we rollback the action
  • there are three states for the view: all, todo and completed lists. they are filter results from the all list
  • an user can remove a todo swiping left

What is used in the view

  • A toolbar (with all, todos and completed items)
  • Input field
  • Table view to show todos

Each section of code is commented and I made everything in the same class with the purpose of improving the code gradually.

class TodosViewController: UIViewController, UITextFieldDelegate, UITableViewDataSource, UITableViewDelegate {

    //MARK: Properties
    @IBOutlet weak var txtFieldTodo: UITextField!    
    @IBOutlet weak var tblViewTodos: UITableView!
    @IBOutlet weak var toolbar: UIToolbar!

    // allTodos is the unfiltered list, todosData store the filtered list
    var todosData: [TodoModel] = [];
    var allTodos: [TodoModel] = [];

    // this field is a trick to easily keep track of filter state, since its either all (nil), todos (false), completed (true)
    var completedFilter: Bool? = nil

     override func viewDidLoad() {
         txtFieldTodo.delegate = self
         todosData = TodoModel.sample()
         allTodos = todosData

     // MARK: UITextFieldDelegate
     // Methods to receive input and add new item properly
     func textFieldShouldReturn(textField: UITextField) -> Bool {
         return true

     func textFieldDidEndEditing(textField: UITextField) {
         if let newItem = textField.text {
             let newTodo = TodoModel(content: newItem)
         textField.text = ""

     //Mark: UITableViewDelegate/DataSource
     // Add each todo as a cell and controls the table view
     func tableView(tableView: UITableView, cellForRowAtIndexPath indexPath: NSIndexPath) -> UITableViewCell {
         let cell = tableView.dequeueReusableCellWithIdentifier("reuseIdentifier", forIndexPath: indexPath) as! TodoTableViewCell

         let todo = todosData[indexPath.row]
         cell.titleLabel.text = todo.content

         return cell

     func tableView(tableView: UITableView, numberOfRowsInSection section: Int) -> Int {
         return todosData.count

     func numberOfSectionsInTableView(tableView: UITableView) -> Int {
         return 1

     func tableView(tableView: UITableView, commitEditingStyle editingStyle: UITableViewCellEditingStyle, forRowAtIndexPath indexPath: NSIndexPath) {
         if editingStyle == .Delete {
             let todo = todosData[indexPath.row]
             var removeIndex = -1
             for i in 0..<allTodos.count {
                 if allTodos[i].content == todo.content {
                     removeIndex = i
             if removeIndex != -1 {
             tableView.deleteRowsAtIndexPaths([indexPath], withRowAnimation: .Fade)

     func tableView(tableView: UITableView, canEditRowAtIndexPath indexPath: NSIndexPath) -> Bool {
         return true

     func tableView(tableView: UITableView, didSelectRowAtIndexPath indexPath: NSIndexPath) {
         let todo = todosData[indexPath.row]
         todo.completed = !todo.completed

     //Mark: UIToolbarDelegate
     func selectToolbarItem(completedFilter: Bool?) {
         self.completedFilter = completedFilter

     func swapTabItemsColors(selectedItem: UIBarButtonItem) {
         self.toolbar.items!.forEach({ (item: UIBarButtonItem) -> () in
             item.tintColor = UIColor(red: 216/255.0, green: 222/255.0, blue: 227/255.0, alpha: 1)
         selectedItem.tintColor = UIColor(red: 127/255.0, green: 219/255.0, blue: 118/255.0, alpha: 1)

     @IBAction func selectedToDos(sender: UIBarButtonItem) {

     @IBAction func selectedAll(sender: UIBarButtonItem) {

     @IBAction func selectedCompleted(sender: UIBarButtonItem) {

     //Mark: Filter todos
     func filterTodos() {
         // Uses Ruby magic to filter the array, oh wait....
         todosData = allTodos.filter { (TodoModel) -> Bool in
             return completedFilter == nil || TodoModel.completed == completedFilter


  1. Swift is quite beautiful to read and type
  2. Is quite easier to create an iOS app if you already did it before in ObjC
  3. It is not that hard if you don’t know ObjC
  4. Reminds me of Ruby and Rust
  5. Has some interesting features, watch this… this will have changed someday so pay a visit to

Future improvements

  1. Add unit tests
  2. Code quality
  3. Local data persistence
  4. Web data persistence
  5. Cell improvement with date
  6. Item editing
  7. Others…