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Tab Bar Controller

In iOS applications, we must provide the user functionality to switch between entirely different parts of the application. We may need a tab bar at the bottom with the different buttons so that the user interacts with the buttons to switch to the different parts of the app. For this purpose, Tab Bar Controllers are used. In this section of the tutorial, we will discuss tab bar controllers.

A Tab Bar Controller is a container view controller that manages an array of view controllers in a radio-style selection interface so that the user can interact with the interface to determine the view controller to display. It is the instance of UITabBarController, which inherits UIViewController.

In the tab bar interface, a tab bar is displayed at the bottom of the screen with multiple tab bar button items for selecting between different modes of the application. The following image shows how the tab bar interface is configured in the Health app in iOS.

iOS Tab Bar Controller iOS Tab Bar Controller

The Tab Bar Controller maintains an array of View Controllers where each tab is associated with the view controller navigation stack or a custom view controller. When the user selects a particular tab, the root view controller of the associated stack will be displayed. The tab bar interface is used to present either different types of information or to present the same type of information using a completely different style.

UITabBarController Properties and methods

The UITabBarController class contains the following properties and methods.

SN Property Description
1 var delegate: UITabBarControllerDelegate? It is an instance of UITabBarControllerDelegate protocol.
2 protocol UITabBarControllerDelegate The protocol UITabBarControllerDelegate contains the set of methods to customize the behavior of the tab bar.
3 var tabBar: UITabBar It is the tab bar associated with the controller.
4 var viewControllers: [UIViewController]? It is the array of view controllers that are to be displayed in the tab bar interface.
5 var customizableViewControllers: [UIViewController]? It is the array of view controllers that can be customized.
6 var moreNavigationController: UINavigationController The navigation controller that manages the More navigation interface.
7 var selectedViewController: UIViewController? It represents the view controller that is associated with the currently selected tab.
8 var selectedIndex: Int It is the index of the view controller that is currently selected.
9 func setViewControllers([UIViewController]?, animated: Bool) It sets the root view controllers of the tab bar controller.

Example 1

In this example, we will create a very simple project using the tab bar controller. Here, we will only use the storyboard to develop the application.

Main.storyboard

First, we need to add a tab bar controller to the storyboard. For this purpose, search for the UITabBarController in the object library and drag the result to the storyboard. This will create a tab bar controller in the project, as shown in the following image.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

Here, we observe that the tab bar controller initially manages two child view controllers having item 1 and item 2, where item 1 is already being selected. If we run the project as is by making tab bar controller as initial view controller, then we will see that item 1 is displayed having two items in the tab bar interface, and we can select both the items to display each one of them as shown in the following image.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

Here, we can configure the tab bar items and select a custom image in the attribute inspector. Select the tab bar in the specific view controller and go to the attribute inspector to change the custom image of the tab bar item, as shown in the following image.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

Let's change the system item to search for item 1 and contacts for item 2. Now, we will change the appearance of item 1 and item 2 to identify them in the tab bar interface. Therefore, let's change the background color of item 1 and item 2, and also we will add the labels to both view controllers.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

Now, run this project, and we will get the following output.

iOS Tab Bar Controller iOS Tab Bar Controller

Now, let's add a third view controller in the project. For this purpose, search for UIViewController in the object library and drag the result to the storyboard. To attach that view controller to the tab bar controller, we must define a relationship between them. Control drag from the tab bar controller to view controller and select The View Controller relationship between them, as shown in the following image.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

It will connect the newly added view controller to the tab bar controller. Now, we will change the appearance of the view controller and add a label to it for the identification.

Finally, the interface builder for the project will look like the following image.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

Output

iOS Tab Bar Controller

Example 2: Creating Javatpoint iOS application

In this example, we will simulate the iOS application of javatpoint using a web view. Here, we will configure three view controllers (HomeViewController, JavaViewController, PythonViewController) in the tab bar controller.

Interface Builder

In the interface builder, we will add a tab bar view controller having three child view controllers, as shown in the following image.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

In this example, we will use the web view to load the specific links in the View Controllers. Therefore, we need to add specific web views into the View Controllers. Search for the WebView in the object library and drag the result to each of the view controllers. Also, define the constraints for the WebView in the view controllers.

iOS Tab Bar Controller

HomeViewController.swift

JavaViewController.swift

PythonViewController.swift

Output

iOS Tab Bar Controller
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