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Accepting user actions
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The simplest way to accept new data from a user is through UIControls, a topic that we covered in some depth in the latter half of chapter 6 and that we re looking at again here for the sake of completeness. Table 8.1 includes some notes on the controls that you can use to accept user input.
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Table 8.1 Various controls allow you to accept user input, most using simple interfaces. Control UIButton Summary Offers simple functionality when the user clicks a button. See section 6.5 for an example. A pure navigation object that allows users to move between multiple pages using a trio of dots. Not a UIControl object, but allows the user to select from a number of items in a slot machine selection. It includes the subclass UIDatePicker. Not a UIControl object, but offers similar functionality to a UITextField. It provides an interface that includes a single-line text input, a search button, a cancel button, and a bookmark button. See section 9.1.3 for an example. A horizontal bar containing several buttons. See section 10.4.2 for an example. A slider that allows users to input from a range of approximate values. See section 6.6.2 for an example. An on-off button of the sort used in preferences. See section 8.2.1 for an example. A single-line text input, and probably the most common control for true user input. It requires some work to make the keyboard relinquish control. See section 6.6.1 for complete discussion and an example.
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Maintaining user preferences
Table 8.1
Various controls allow you to accept user input, most using simple interfaces. (continued) Control Summary Not a UIControl object, but does allow the user to enter longer bits of text. As with a text field, you must have it resignFirstResponder status to return control to the program when the user has finished typing. As shown in the iPhone Notes utility, this is typically done with a separate Done button at the top of the interface, because the Return key is used to input returns. See section 8.3.4 for an example. Not a UIControl object. Instead, it s a bar meant to hold a collection of UIBarButtonItems, each of which can be clicked to initiate an action. The bar is easy to configure and change. See section 11.4 for an example.
UITextView
UIToolBar
Clearly, these controls serve a variety of uses. Many exist for pure user interface purposes, which we covered pretty extensively in chapter 6. What s of more interest here are the text-input controls (UISearchBar, UITextField, and UITextView) that you re likely to use in conjunction with files and databases. We ll look particularly at UISearchBar and UITextView, the two text inputs that we hadn t previously given much attention to, over the course of this chapter. Not included in this table are the integrated controller pickers that allow users to input data and make choices using complex prebuilt systems. We ll discuss these pickers in later chapters. Controls are central to any real-life program, so you ll see them throughout the upcoming chapters. Because you ll be seeing lots of examples of their use, we can now move on to the next method of user data input: preferences.
Maintaining user preferences
Preferences are the way an iPhone or iPad program maintains user choices, particularly from one session to another. They re a way to not only accept user input but also save it. You can use your own programmatic interface to maintain these preferences, or you can use the Settings interface provided in the iPhone SDK. If your program includes preferences that may change frequently, or if it would be disruptive for a user to leave your program to set a preference, you can create a preferences page within your program. This type of program-centric preferences page is seen in the Stocks and Maps programs, each of which has settings that can be changed on the backside of the main utility. Alternatively, if your program has preferences that don t change that much, particularly if the defaults are usually okay, you should instead set them using the system s settings. Typically, you use this option when your configuration controls are pretty standard, because this method is limited to a specific set of possible interactions. This type of device-centric setting can be seen in the iPod, Mail, Phone, Photos, and Safari applications, all of which have their settings available under the Settings icon on the device screen.
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