Announcing DSActivityView: open source for iPhone developers

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Please see blog posts on DejalActivityView.

DSActivityViewI recently wrote a reusable class for a couple of iPhone apps I'm currently working on, called DSActivityView. I decided to release it as open source. Read on for details.

Firstly, I should say that this work was inspired in part by Matt Gallagher's excellent article, Showing a "Loading..." message over the iPhone keyboard. My code only uses the -keyboardView method from his article, but he deserves credit and thanks for that and many other helpful articles. If you're not reading his blog, Cocoa with Love, you're doing yourself a disservice.

Back to my class. Actually, there are three classes: DSActivityView, DSBezelActivityView, and DSKeyboardActivityView. They provide three styles of activity view, and could easily be extended to support more.


DSActivityViewThis does a simple horizontal-style loading view, intended for situations where you have a blank view while loading data. It can be displayed very easily — for the default "Loading..." label text, simply use:

[DSActivityView activityViewForView:self.view];

The activity view is automatically added as a subview of the specified view (e.g. the current content view). No need to save the result to an ivar. It automatically supports rotation to any orientation, too.

You can specify a custom label via:

[DSActivityView activityViewForView:self.view withLabel:@"Processing..."];

Or specify a custom width, e.g. so you can change the label while it is being displayed without upsetting the geometry, via:

[DSActivityView activityViewForView:self.view withLabel:@"Connecting..." width:100];

Then when you're done with it, simply invoke this to get rid of it:

[DSActivityView removeView];


DSBezelActivityViewThis is a subclass of DSActivityView, which displays an animated round-rect-enclosed variation: it animates into view by zooming from full-screen, with a gray background fading in to cover the passed view, and animates out by zooming to half size and fading out the background (see below for a movie showing it in action). It is ideal for situations where you have content visible already, but want to do a network operation to validate or send data, or some other time-consuming activity.

Display it via:

[DSBezelActivityView activityViewForView:self.view];

The [DSBezelActivityView activityViewForView:withLabel:] and [DSBezelActivityView activityViewForView:withLabel:width:] variations are also available. To remove with animation, call:

[DSBezelActivityView removeViewAnimated:YES];


DSKeyboardActivityViewThis is a subclass of DSBezelActivityView, which displays over the keyboard, somewhat like the OS 2 Text app used to do. It is useful to simply prevent further typing while validating a field or sending data (though you might also want to disable the field, to prevent pasteboard operations on it). No need to specify a view to use for this, since it uses the keyboard:

[DSKeyboardActivityView activityView];

Plus a [DSKeyboardActivityView activityViewWithLabel:] variation for custom text. Remove it the same as for the bezel style:

[DSKeyboardActivityView removeViewAnimated:YES];


I've included a demo project that builds an app to show the various options: the three styles, default or custom label text, covering just the content view or whole window, etc. It requires iPhone OS 3. Here's a movie showing the demo app running:

You can get the project from my Dejal Open Source Subversion repository via this Terminal command:

svn checkout

Or browse the source directly on the web.

You can also download a snapshot, though it may not remain up-to-date; using Subversion is the recommended approach.

Follow @dejalopen on Twitter for automated Subversion commit message updates. You may also like to follow @dejaldevdiary for my behind-the-scenes development diary, and @dejal for general Dejal and personal tweets. Finally, there's also a RSS feed for the repository.

I hope these classes are useful. You are welcome to use them in any project, commercial or otherwise. I just ask that you give me credit; see the DSActivityView header for the easy and free licensing terms. If you do use this code in any form, please tell me (or comment here).

If you make improvements, e.g. to add other activity styles or fix bugs, please send them to me so I can share them with the community. Thanks.


Update: see also an update to optionally support the network indicator, and an update for iOS 4.