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iOS 7 Programming Cookbook by Vandad Nahavandipoor

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1.6. Implementing Range Pickers with UISlider

Problem

You would like to allow your users to specify a value within a range, using an easy-to-use and intuitive UI.

Solution

Use the UISlider class.

Discussion

You’ve certainly seen sliders before. Figure 1-17 shows an example.

The volume slider in Control Center

Figure 1-17. The volume slider in Control Center

To create a slider, instantiate an object of type UISlider. Let’s dive right in and create a slider and place it on our view controller’s view. We’ll start with our view controller’s implementation file:

#import "ViewController.h"

@interface ViewController ()
@property (nonatomic, strong) UISlider *slider;
@end

@implementation ViewController

...

And now let’s go to the viewDidLoad method and create our slider component. In this code, we are going to give our slider a range between 0 and 100 and set its default position to be halfway between start and end.

Note

The range of a slider has nothing to do with its appearance. We use the range specifiers of a slider to tell the slider to calculate its value based on the relative position within the range. For instance, if the range of a slider is provided as 0 to 100, when the knob on the slider is on the leftmost part, the value property of the slider is 0, and if the knob is to the rightmost side of the slider, the value property would be 100.

- (void)viewDidLoad{
    [super viewDidLoad];

    self.slider = [[UISlider alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0.0f,
                                                               0.0f,
                                                               200.0f,
                                                               23.0f)];
    self.slider.center = self.view.center;
    self.slider.minimumValue = 0.0f;
    self.slider.maximumValue = 100.0f;
    self.slider.value = self.slider.maximumValue / 2.0;
    [self.view addSubview:self.slider];
}

What do the results look like? You can now run the app on the simulator and you’ll get results like those shown in Figure 1-18.

A simple slider at the center of the screen

Figure 1-18. A simple slider at the center of the screen

We used a few properties of the slider to get the results we wanted. What were they?

minimumValue

Specifies the minimum value of the slider’s range.

maximumValue

Specifies the maximum value of the slider’s range.

value

The current value of the slider. This is a read/write property, meaning that you can both read from it and write to it. If you want the slider’s knob to be moved to this value in an animated mode, you can call the setValue:animated: method of the slider and pass YES as the animated parameter.

The little knob on a slider is called the thumb. If you wish to receive an event whenever the slider’s thumb has moved, you must add your object as the target of the slider, using the slider’s addTarget:action:forControlEvents: method:

- (void) sliderValueChanged:(UISlider *)paramSender{

    if ([paramSender isEqual:self.slider]){
        NSLog(@"New value = %f", paramSender.value);
    }

}

- (void)viewDidLoad{
    [super viewDidLoad];
    self.slider = [[UISlider alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0.0f,
                                                               0.0f,
                                                               200.0f,
                                                               23.0f)];
    self.slider.center = self.view.center;
    self.slider.minimumValue = 0.0f;
    self.slider.maximumValue = 100.0f;
    self.slider.value = self.slider.maximumValue / 2.0;
    [self.view addSubview:self.slider];

    [self.slider addTarget:self
                      action:@selector(sliderValueChanged:)
            forControlEvents:UIControlEventValueChanged];
}

If you run the application on the simulator now, you will notice that the sliderValueChanged: target method gets called whenever and as soon as the slider’s thumb moves. This might be what you want, but in some cases, you might need to get notified only after the user has let go of the thumb on the slider and let it settle. If you want to wait to be notified, set the continuous property of the slider to NO. This property, when set to YES (its default value), will call the slider’s targets continuously while the thumb moves.

The iOS SDK also gives you the ability to modify how a slider looks. For instance, the thumb on the slider can have a different image. To change the image of the thumb, simply use the setThumbImage:forState: method and pass an image along with a second parameter that can take any of these values:

UIControlStateNormal

The normal state of the thumb, with no user finger on this component.

UIControlStateHighlighted

The image to display for the thumb while the user is moving her finger on this component.

I have prepared two images: one for the normal state of the thumb and the other one for the highlighted (touched) state of the thumb. Let’s go ahead and add them to the slider:

[self.slider setThumbImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"ThumbNormal.png"]
                    forState:UIControlStateNormal];
[self.slider setThumbImage:[UIImage imageNamed:@"ThumbHighlighted.png"]
                    forState:UIControlStateHighlighted];

And now let’s have a look and see how our normal thumb image looks in the simulator (Figure 1-19).

A slider with a custom thumb image

Figure 1-19. A slider with a custom thumb image

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