Fundamental Design Pattern: ModelViewController


Design Patterns that will be covered in this article:

  • Model-View-Controller


The MVC pattern simply is broken down into 3 main parts:

  1. Model — Models hold onto application data (typically in the form of structs or simple classes)
  2. View — Views communicate to their controller via IBActions
  3. View Controller — Controllers coordinate between models and views

Important to Note

  • Models and views should not hold strong references to their owning controller because this would cause a retain cycle
  • Use the MVC design pattern as a starting point and be open to implementing other patterns as you build your app


  • When implementing a MVC design pattern, it’s convenient to organize your app bundle’s files with a Model, View, and Controller directory.


  • I created a simple struct that represents a single programmer


  • I created an IBOutlet for each of the properties I have in the Programmer model
  • I set the class of the default UIView element to the view I set-up programmatically (ProgrammerView).
  • I dragged 3 UITextFields from our Object Library and placed it within the UIView.
  • Go ahead and connect the 3 UITextFields with the IBOutlets using the Connection Inspector of the UIView.
  • Make sure to set Auto Layout constraints for your UI elements.


  • In your main view controller, you can hold a strong reference to the view and model that it owns.
  • It’s the controller’s job to coordinate between the model and view → In this case, the controller should update its view using the values from the model.
  • If a programmer is set after viewDidLoad() is called, the controller should update ProgrammerView → You can use a didSet to accomplish this.
  • This is an example of how the model can tell the controller that something has changed and that the view needs updating.
  • Conversely, this is an example of how the view can tell the controller that something has changed and the model needs updating.
  • I connected the IBAction to all three of the textfields in Main.storyboard.
  • To see the IBAction work with a UITextField, I connected each of the textfields to the same IBAction with an Editing Changed event.


1. Not every object fits into a category of a model, view, or controller

2. Be-ware of the “Massive-View-Controller” or view controllers growing too big

3. Feel free to use other design patterns to build on top of MVC


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