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Styling our flags

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Our game now works, although it doesn’t look great. Fortunately, we can make a few small tweaks to our design to make the whole thing look better.

First, let’s replace the solid blue background color with a linear gradient from blue to black, which ensures that even if a flag has a similar blue stripe it will still stand out against the background.

So, find this line:

Color.blue
    .ignoresSafeArea()

And replace it with this:

LinearGradient(gradient: Gradient(colors: [.blue, .black]), startPoint: .top, endPoint: .bottom)
    .ignoresSafeArea()

It still ignores the safe area, ensuring that the background goes edge to edge.

Now let’s adjust the fonts we’re using just a little, so that the country name – the part they need to guess – is the most prominent piece of text on the screen, while the “Tap the flag of” text is smaller and bold.

We can control the size and style of text using the font() modifier, which lets us select from one of the built-in font sizes on iOS. As for adjusting the weight of fonts – whether we want super-thing text, slightly bold text, etc – we can get fine-grained control over that by adding a weight() modifier to whatever font we ask for.

Let’s use both of these here, so you can see them in action. Add this directly after the “Tap the flag of” text:

.font(.subheadline.weight(.heavy))

And put this modifiers directly after the Text(countries[correctAnswer]) view:

.font(.largeTitle.weight(.semibold))

“Large title” is the largest built-in font size iOS offers us, and automatically scales up or down depending on what setting the user has for their fonts – a feature known as Dynamic Type. We’re overriding the weight of the font so it’s a little bolder, but it will still scale up or down as needed.

Finally, let’s jazz up those flag images a little. SwiftUI gives us a number of modifiers to affect the way views are presented, and we’re going to use two here: one to change the shape of flags, and one to add a shadow.

There are four built-in shapes in Swift: rectangle, rounded rectangle, circle, and capsule. We’ll be using capsule here: it ensures the corners of the shortest edges are fully rounded, while the longest edges remain straight – it looks great for buttons. Making our image capsule shaped is as easy as adding the .clipShape(Capsule()) modifier, like this:

.clipShape(Capsule())

And finally we want to apply a shadow effect around each flag, making them really stand out from the background. This is done using shadow(), which takes the color, radius, X, and Y offset of the shadow, but if you skip the color we get a translucent black, and if we skip X and Y it assumes 0 for them – all sensible defaults.

So, add this last modifier below the previous two:

.shadow(radius: 5)

So, our finished flag image looks like this:

Image(countries[number])
    .renderingMode(.original)
    .clipShape(Capsule())
    .shadow(radius: 5)

SwiftUI has so many modifiers that help us adjust the way fonts and images are rendered. They all do exactly one thing, so it’s common to stack them up as you can see above.

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