Swift and SwiftUI Interoperability: A Practical Guide to Type Conversion

Swift and SwiftUI Interoperability: A Practical Guide to Type Conversion

This post will guide you through the process of converting between Swift and SwiftUI types and vice versa. This ability is quite useful, especially when you have existing Swift code that you want to integrate with SwiftUI or need to use SwiftUI types in a Swift context.

1. Converting Swift Types to SwiftUI

String to Text

In Swift, we use String to store and manage a sequence of characters. In SwiftUI, we use Text to display a static text label in your user interface. Here's how you convert a Swift String to a SwiftUI Text.

let swiftString: String = "Hello, SwiftUI!"
let swiftUIText: Text = Text(swiftString)

UIColor to Color

In Swift, we use UIColor to represent a color in an RGB color space. In SwiftUI, we use Color. Converting a UIColor to a Color is straightforward:

let swiftUIColor: UIColor = .red
let swiftUIColor = Color(swiftUIColor)

UIImage to Image

Swift uses UIImage for representing images, while SwiftUI uses Image. Here's how to convert a UIImage to an Image.

let uiImage: UIImage = UIImage(named: "example")!
let image = Image(uiImage: uiImage)

UIButton to Button

Swift uses UIButton for buttons, while SwiftUI uses Button. Here's how to convert a UIButton action to a SwiftUI Button.

In Swift:

let button = UIButton(type: .system)
button.setTitle("Click me", for: .normal)
button.addTarget(self, action: #selector(buttonClicked), for: .touchUpInside)

@objc func buttonClicked() {
    print("Button clicked")

In SwiftUI:

Button(action: {
    print("Button clicked")
}) {
    Text("Click me")

2. Converting SwiftUI Types to Swift

Text to String

It's important to note that SwiftUI's Text does not have a direct way to convert back to a String because Text in SwiftUI is not just a simple string; it's a view. It is designed to handle complex tasks like localization, style, and accessibility features. However, if you need to extract the string value for some reason, you could initially store it in a String variable before converting it to Text.

let swiftString: String = "Hello, Swift!"
let swiftUIText: Text = Text(swiftString)
// Use swiftString when you need the string value.

Color to UIColor

Similar to the Text to String conversion, SwiftUI's Color does not provide a built-in way to convert back to UIColor. This is because SwiftUI's Color is more complex; it's not just a simple color but a dynamic provider of colors, supporting the Dark Mode feature of iOS, for example.

However, you can use an extension to Color to get a UIColor:

import SwiftUI
import UIKit

extension Color {
    func uiColor() -> UIColor {
        if #available(iOS 14.0, *) {
            return UIColor(self)

        let scanner = Scanner(string: self.description.trimmingCharacters(in: CharacterSet.alphanumerics.inverted))
        var hexNumber: UInt64 = 0
        var r: CGFloat = 0.0, g: CGFloat = 0.0, b: CGFloat = 0.0

        let result = scanner.scanHexInt64(&hexNumber)
        if result {
            r = CGFloat((hexNumber & 0xff000000) >> 24) / 255
            g = CGFloat((hexNumber & 0x00ff0000) >> 16) / 255
            b = CGFloat((hexNumber & 0x0000ff00) >> 8) / 255
        return UIColor(red: r, green: g, blue: b, alpha: 1.0)

Now you can convert a Color to a UIColor like this:

let swiftUIColor = Color.red.uiColor()

This conversion process may not be perfect due to the complexity of the Color type, but it should suffice for most use cases.

Image to UIImage

Converting SwiftUI's Image back to UIKit's UIImage is not straightforward as SwiftUI's Image type doesn't provide a direct way to access the underlying UIImage. This is because Image in SwiftUI is a view, not a direct wrapper around an image like UIImage. If you need to convert a SwiftUI Image to a UIImage, you should keep the original UIImage you used to create the Image.

You might also like: SwiftUI Magic: 7 Lesser-Known Features That Will Make Your Apps Stand Out

Wrap Up

In this post, we've discussed the conversion of Swift types to SwiftUI types and vice versa. While straightforward in some cases, it's important to remember that SwiftUI types are more complex and designed to handle a wider range of tasks, making direct conversion back to Swift types challenging in some cases. When necessary, workarounds and extensions can be employed to facilitate this process.

As SwiftUI continues to evolve, there may be changes and improvements that could affect this conversion process, so it's always a good idea to keep up-to-date with the latest SwiftUI documentation and community discussions.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, then feel free to comment here or reach out via Twitter.

Thanks for reading!