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ZeeZide/UXKit 1.0.2
Write code that works on both, UIKit and AppKit.
⭐️ 54
🕓 17 weeks ago
iOS macOS
.package(url: "https://github.com/ZeeZide/UXKit.git", from: "1.0.2")


Swift3 Swift4 Swift5 macOS iOS Travis

There is a rumor that something called UXKit exists as part of the Apple Photos application, enabling the same codebase to run on macOS and iOS. Though the article is probably incorrect in that this is an UIKit implementation for macOS:

UIKit for macOS already exists, and it is called UXKit I heard about UXKit when Apple first introduced the new Photos app for macOS.

At ZeeZide we are using something along the lines to build all applications for both, macOS and iOS. One demo of that are the CodeCows and ASCII Cows applications, which share about 90% of the code, while offering unique system features on both platforms (e.g. Stickers on iOS and System Services on macOS).

This is not only useful for actual deployment to macOS, but also during development, as it saves you a lot of the simulator or device testing hassle if you develop for macOS first. (e.g. you can do CoreBluetooth development on macOS)

ZeeZide UXKit

The Apple acquired UXKit is not an official API, and there are good reasons for this. UXKit is more of a hack to get stuff running in both environments, and not a beautiful framework wrapping UIKit and/or AppKit.

This codebase while not small, has very little 'actual' code. Most stuff is just typealiases, constant aliases, etc.

The idea of this is NOT to provide a full cross platform abstraction. It is expected that a lot of apps will still carry #if os(macOS) like code to enable/disable specific features.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Still cleaning up the stuff.

How to do write Cross-Platform Code using UXKit

View Aliases

Generally instead of using UIView or NSView, you are using UXView in UXKit. UXKit provides a lot of such aliases to streamline the available classes.

Sometimes different aliases point to the same class in one or the other framework. For example UIKit has UILabel and UITextField as distinct classes, while AppKit uses NSTextField for both, readonly and editable textfields. In UXKit you should then use the more specific UXKit variant. E.g. on AppKit, use UXLabel for readonly texts and UXTextField for editable lines, even though both alias to NSTextField. This way the code will work right on both platforms.

Note: The far majority of those are really just typealiases and not subclasses.


View Identifiers


  • all views have identifiers
    • uses accessibilityIdentifier on UIKit (is that OK?)
  • special type in Swift 4


In UIKit one can attach multiple handlers to a single control action, and quite often there are multiple options on when the action fires (e.g. touchUpInside etc). This isn't usually available in AppKit. In AppKit a control usually has a single target, and usually one action (sometimes a second for double clicks).

When doing a UXKit application, the code needs to constraint itself to using a single, 'semantic', action. For example this UIKit code:

button.addTarget(self, action: #selector(doIt(:_)), for: .touchUpInside)


button.onClick(self, #selector(doIt(:_)))

And works on both, UIKit and AppKit.


  • gestures (below)

Table Views

UITableView is incorrectly labeled 'table view' - it really is a 'list view' with support for sections. The AppKit NSTableView is an actual tableview with support for columns (and also sections).

There are other differences. For example UIKit has a UITableViewCell which is a full implementation of a cell which can be used as-is in the table view. On AppKit, the corresponding NSTableCellView is just a shallow wrapper object maintaining just outlets to associated labels and such. To streamline the porting, UXKit adds a NSTableViewCell which matches the UITableViewCell. All of those are properly aliases to the corresponding UX names (i.e. UXTableViewCell).

Another example is that UIKit requires the datasource to return an instance of UITableViewCell or a subclass of it. In AppKit you can return arbitrary views. So avoid doing that when you write portable code.

Row editing is also different on UIKit and AppKit. For example reordering is done using drag&drop on AppKit, while UIKit has special builtin support for that.


  • sectioned list view vs table view vs outline view
  • source lists
  • integrate the UXTableViewController into UXKit
  • row indexing is different, it includes sections on AppKit, but not on iOS
    • this also affects things like selectedRow!

Collection Views


  • VC vs View factory
  • items are VCs on AppKit and Views on UIKit
  • layouts can be shared

Layer based views


  • explain the tricky parts
  • e.g. how layers transforms are reset in unexpected ways on AppKit

View Controllers


  • representedObject for UIKit

Control Values


  • formatters attached to controls
  • objectValue vs intValue etc





  • on AppKit buttons are selected by index
  • on UIKit actions are triggered by individual closures


UXKit is brought to you by ZeeZide. We like feedback, GitHub stars, cool contract work, presumably any form of praise you can think of.


Stars: 54
Last commit: 4 days ago
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Release Notes

17 weeks ago

Contains the contributed text property on macOS UXLabel (aka NSTextField).

Also bumps the required Swift version to 4.0 🙈

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