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When UIKit was first introduced, one of the things I loved about it was how much easier it was to customise the look and feel of views than it was with AppKit, where I was developing at the time. Of course AppKit has improved drastically over the years too, but from day one building custom components on iOS felt so easy. I'm also quite sure that this ease of customisation was one of the major contributing factors to iOS becoming such a wonderful playground for software design in those first few years.

It feels like with SwiftUI, things have moved even further in that direction. It's so trivial to make custom, reusable UI now that it feels like iOS could be poised to become a design playground all over again.

But if that happens, is it a good thing? Over the last few years, there has definitely been a trend to conform to "standard" iOS UI as much as possible. I'm a fan of that, I think it makes much more usable apps, and we all strive to create those. But I also miss coming across apps that have completely new UI concepts. For example, remember that pull to refresh was not invented by Apple, but by Loren Brichter.

I don't know where it will lead us, but having such expressive tools for creating UI has me very excited for the future of iOS app design in a time when it feels like it has stagnated a bit.

Dave Verwer

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