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Interface Builder

As we saw in the previous chapter, the AppDelegate class is where you write the code that defines the custom behavior of your app, and the MainMenu.xib NIB file is where you create the user interface. This gives us two distinct aspects of a Cocoa app: the code layer and the graphical layer.

One of the core problems in application development is connecting these two layers. Buttons are useless if you can’t determine when the user clicks them, as are text fields if you can’t choose what they say from inside your code. A functional app requires 2-way communication between its code and its UI components.

2-way communication between the code and the user interface

Cocoa’s solution to this problem is two-fold. The target-action design pattern tells the code layer when the user interacts with a UI component, and the outlets pattern allows you to alter UI components from within the code layer. Implementing these patterns is one of the most important jobs of Interface Builder.

In this chapter, we’ll begin by learning how to lay out a user interface and configure UI components. Then, we’ll explore how Interface Builder facilitates the connection between this interface and the code layer of an application.

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