Mastering MVVM With Swift

Time to Create a View Model

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In this episode, we create a view model for the day view controller. Fire up Xcode and open the starter project of this episode. We start by creating a new group, View Models, in the Weather View Controllers group. I prefer to keep the view models close to the view controllers in which they are used.

Creating the View Models Group

Create a new Swift file in the View Models group and name it DayViewModel.swift.

Creating the Day View View Model

Creating the Day View View Model

Creating the Day View View Model

DayViewModel is a struct, a value type. Remember that the view model should keep a reference to the model, which means we need to create a property for it. That is all we need to do to create our first view model.

DayViewModel.swift

import Foundation

struct DayViewModel {

    // MARK: - Properties

    let weatherData: WeatherData

}

Creating the Public Interface

The next step is moving the code located in the updateWeatherDataContainerView(with:) method of the DayViewController class to the view model. What we need to focus on are the values we use to populate the user interface.

Date Label

Let's start with the date label. The date label expects a formatted date and it needs to be of type String. It is the responsibility of the view model to ask the model for the value of its time property and transform that value to the format the date label expects.

Let's start by creating a computed property in the view model. We name it date and it should be of type String.

DayViewModel.swift

var date: String {

}

We initialize a DateFormatter instance to convert the date to a formatted string and set the date formatter's dateFormat property. We invoke the date formatter's string(from:) method and return the result. That is it for the date label.

DayViewModel.swift

var date: String {
    // Initialize Date Formatter
    let dateFormatter = DateFormatter()

    // Configure Date Formatter
    dateFormatter.dateFormat = "EEE, MMMM d"

    return dateFormatter.string(from: weatherData.time)
}

Time Label

We can repeat this for the time label. We create a time computed property of type String. The implementation is similar. We create a DateFormatter instance, set its dateFormat property, and return a formatted string.

DayViewModel.swift

var time: String {
    // Initialize Date Formatter
    let dateFormatter = DateFormatter()

    // Configure Date Formatter
    dateFormatter.dateFormat = ""

    return dateFormatter.string(from: weatherData.time)
}

There is one complication, though. The format of the time depends on the user's preferences. That is easy to solve, though. Navigate to TimeNotation.swift in the Types group. We add a computed property, dateFormat, to the TimeNotation enum. The dateFormat computed property returns the correct date format based on the user's preferences.

UserDefaults.swift

enum TimeNotation: Int {

    // MARK: - Cases

    case twelveHour
    case twentyFourHour

    // MARK: - Properties

    var dateFormat: String {
        switch self {
        case .twelveHour: return "hh:mm a"
        case .twentyFourHour: return "HH:mm"
        }
    }

}

We can now update the implementation of the time computed property in DayViewModel.swift.

DayViewModel.swift

var time: String {
    // Initialize Date Formatter
    let dateFormatter = DateFormatter()

    // Configure Date Formatter
    dateFormatter.dateFormat = UserDefaults.timeNotation.dateFormat

    return dateFormatter.string(from: weatherData.time)
}

Let me explain what is happening. timeNotation is a class computed property of the UserDefaults class. You can find its implementation in UserDefaults.swift in the Extensions group. It returns a TimeNotation object.

UserDefaults.swift

// MARK: - Time Notation

class var timeNotation: TimeNotation {
    get {
        let storedValue = UserDefaults.standard.integer(forKey: Keys.timeNotation)
        return TimeNotation(rawValue: storedValue) ?? TimeNotation.twelveHour
    }
    set {
        UserDefaults.standard.set(newValue.rawValue, forKey: Keys.timeNotation)
    }
}

We load the user's preference from the user defaults database and use the value to create a TimeNotation object. We use the same technique for the user's other preferences.

Description Label

Populating the description label is easy. We define a computed property in the view model, summary, of type String and return the value of the summary property of the model.

DayViewModel.swift

var summary: String {
    weatherData.summary
}

Temperature Label

The value for the temperature label is a bit more complicated because we need to take the user's preferences into account. We start simple. We create another computed property in which we store the temperature in a constant, temperature.

DayViewModel.swift

var temperature: String {
    let temperature = weatherData.temperature
}

We fetch the user's preference and format the value stored in the temperature constant based on the user's preference. We need to convert the temperature if the user's preference is set to degrees Celcius.

DayViewModel.swift

var temperature: String {
    let temperature = weatherData.temperature

    switch UserDefaults.temperatureNotation {
    case .fahrenheit:
        return String(format: "%.1f °F", temperature)
    case .celsius:
        return String(format: "%.1f °C", temperature.toCelcius)
    }
}

The implementation of the temperatureNotation class computed property is very similar to the timeNotation class computed property we looked at earlier.

UserDefaults.swift

// MARK: - Temperature Notation

class var temperatureNotation: TemperatureNotation {
    get {
        let storedValue = UserDefaults.standard.integer(forKey: Keys.temperatureNotation)
        return TemperatureNotation(rawValue: storedValue) ?? TemperatureNotation.fahrenheit
    }
    set {
        UserDefaults.standard.set(newValue.rawValue, forKey: Keys.temperatureNotation)
    }
}

Wind Speed Label

Populating the wind speed label is very similar. Because the wind speed label expects a string, we create a windSpeed computed property of type String. We ask the model for the the value of its windSpeed property and format that value based on the user's preference.

DayViewModel.swift

var windSpeed: String {
    let windSpeed = weatherData.windSpeed

    switch UserDefaults.unitsNotation {
    case .imperial:
        return String(format: "%.f MPH", windSpeed)
    case .metric:
        return String(format: "%.f KPH", windSpeed.toKPH)
    }
}

The implementation of the unitsNotation class computed property is very similar to the timeNotation and temperatureNotation class computed properties we looked at earlier.

UserDefaults.swift

// MARK: - Units Notation

class var unitsNotation: UnitsNotation {
    get {
        let storedValue = UserDefaults.standard.integer(forKey: Keys.unitsNotation)
        return UnitsNotation(rawValue: storedValue) ?? UnitsNotation.imperial
    }
    set {
        UserDefaults.standard.set(newValue.rawValue, forKey: Keys.unitsNotation)
    }
}

Icon Image View

For the icon image view, we need an image. We could put this logic in the view model. However, because we need the same logic later, in the view model of the week view controller, it is better to create an extension for UIImage in which we put that logic.

Create a new file in the Extensions group and name it UIImage.swift. Create an extension for the UIImage class and define a class method imageForIcon(with:).

UIImage.swift

import UIKit

extension UIImage {

    class func imageForIcon(with name: String) -> UIImage? {

    }

}

We simplify the current implementation of the weather view controller. We use the value of the name argument to instantiate the UIImage instance in most cases of the switch statement. I really like how flexible the switch statement is in Swift. Notice that we also return a UIImage instance in the default case of the switch statement.

UIImage.swift

import UIKit

extension UIImage {

    class func imageForIcon(with name: String) -> UIImage? {
        switch name {
        case "clear-day", "clear-night", "rain", "snow", "sleet": return UIImage(named: name)
        case "wind", "cloudy", "partly-cloudy-day", "partly-cloudy-night": return UIImage(named: "cloudy")
        default: return UIImage(named: "clear-day")
        }
    }

}

With this method in place, it is easy to populate the icon image view. We create a computed property of type UIImage? in the view model and name it image. In the body of the computed property, we invoke the class method we just created, passing in the value of the model's icon property.

DayViewModel.swift

var image: UIImage? {
    UIImage.imageForIcon(with: weatherData.icon)
}

Because UIImage is defined in the UIKit framework, we need to replace the import statement for Foundation with an import statement for UIKit.

DayViewModel.swift

import UIKit

struct DayViewModel {

    ...

}

This is a code smell. Whenever you import UIKit in a view model, a warning bell should go off. The view model shouldn't need to know anything about views or the user interface. In this example, however, we have no other option. Since we want to return a UIImage instance, we need to import UIKit. If you don't like this, you can also return the name of the image and have the view controller be in charge of creating the UIImage instance. That is up to you.

I want to make two small improvements. The DateFormatter instances shouldn't be created in the computed properties. Every time the date and time computed properties are accessed, a DateFormatter instance is created. We can make the implementation of the DayViewModel struct more efficient by creating a property with name dateFormatter. We create and assign a DateFormatter instance to the dateFormatter property.

DayViewModel.swift

import UIKit

struct DayViewModel {

    // MARK: - Properties

    let weatherData: WeatherData

    // MARK: -

    private let dateFormatter = DateFormatter()

    // MARK: - Public API

    var date: String {
        // Configure Date Formatter
        dateFormatter.dateFormat = "EEE, MMMM d"

        return dateFormatter.string(from: weatherData.time)
    }

    var time: String {
        // Configure Date Formatter
        dateFormatter.dateFormat = UserDefaults.timeNotation.dateFormat

        return dateFormatter.string(from: weatherData.time)
    }

    ...

}

In the date and time computed properties, the DateFormatter instance is configured by setting its dateFormat property. This implementation is more efficient. It is a small improvement but nonetheless an improvement.

What's Next?

You have created your very first view model. In the next episode, we put it to use in the day view controller.

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The Missing Manual
for Swift Development

The Guide I Wish I Had When I Started Out

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Next Episode "Put the View Model to Work"