Test models for SwiftUI previews

In my spare time, I’m currently building an iOS app for a video on demand platform I operate, Your Fight Site VOD. I’m using SwiftUI and absolutely love its declarative way of building iOS apps.

Having worked a lot with component-based JavaScript frameworks such as Vue.js I’m accustomed to small, discreet components that can be reused and composed to make up larger views. In this vein, my app has a VideoListItem view. This view represents a single row in a list of videos:

struct VideoListView: View {
  var video: Video

  var body: some View {
    NavigationLink(destination: VideoDetailsView()) {

The above is a simplified version of the actual view, but it shows the video details, and when tapped navigates the user to the view the details of that particular video. The important thing to note is that the view requires a well-formed Video struct instance.

SwiftUI also offers the ability to “preview” views directly in Xcode without the need for using the device simulator or running on a physical device. However, if the view you’re previewing requires data, so in turn do the previews.

Instead of retrieving data over the network for the purpose of previews, I’ve taken to defining static test methods in my structs:

struct Video: Identifiable {
  let id: UUID
  let name: String

extension Video {
  static func test() -> Video {
    self.init(id: UUID(), name: "Test Video")

I can then use these test methods to populate previews with well-defined instances of my application’s models:

struct VideoListView_Previews: PreviewProvider {
  static var previews: some View {
    VideoListView(video: .test())

Swift is pretty clever in that it infers the video argument takes a Video instance, so therefore I can call methods (such as test) using the shorthand notation seen above. Nice!