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Declarative UITableViewDataSource implementation
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Functional Table Data implements a functional renderer for UITableView. You pass it a complete description of your table state, and Functional Table Data compares it with the previous render call to insert, update, and remove the sections and cells that have changed. This massively simplifies state management of complex UI.

No longer do you have to manually track the number of sections, cells, and indices of your UI. Build one method that generates your table state structure from your data. The provided HostCell generic makes it easy to add FunctionalTableData support to UITableViewCells.

Noteworthy features
💯 Functional approach for maintaining table state
👷‍ Reusable views and states
Unit tests
🔀 Automatic diff in your states
❤️ Used across Shopify's iOS apps
🙅 No more IndexPath bookkeeping



Simply drag and drop FunctionalTableData/FunctionalTableData.xcodeproj into your Xcode project.


Add the following to your Cartfile:

github "Shopify/FunctionalTableData"

Getting started

To use the Functional Table Data (FTD) two things are required, one instance of UITableView, and an instance of the FTD itself. Once both are available, typically in a view controller's viewDidLoad, they are connected together using functionalTableData.tableView = yourTableViewInstance. After this, every time we want to display/update the data we simply call functionalTableData.renderAndDiff(sections).

For more information, read our documentation.


Check out the demo app for a fully interactive example.

Any time you want to update the data currently being displayed you generate the new state and pass it off to your instance of the Functional Table Data. The FTD is then responsible for computing the differences between the previous state and the next state and updating itself as necessary.

The FunctionalTableData holds onto an array of sections where each section has a key. This key must be unique across all sections but should be deterministic so that it's possible to adjust the rows contained within that section without replacing the entire section itself.

let section = TableSection(key: "header-unique-key", rows: [])

Each section contains a series of rows where each row value must conform to the CellConfigType protocol.

/// The simplest possible version of a cell that displays a label.
/// Useful to get started, but in most cases a more robust state should be used allowing more customization.
typealias LabelCell = HostCell<UILabel, String, LayoutMarginsTableItemLayout>

let cells: [CellConfigType] = [
	LabelCell(key: "company", state: "Shopify") { view, state in
		view.text = state
	LabelCell(key: "location", state: "🇨🇦") { view, state in
		view.text = state

The rows themselves also have a key which must be unique inside of that section. This key is used to determine when new rows are added to a section, if any were removed, or if any moved to a different location. Additionally, each CellConfig type implements an isEqual function to determine if two of them represent the same data being displayed. This allows for a single cell to perform a state change operation, that is, a toggle changing from its off to on state, a text value changing, etc.

After assigning the variable rows to our previously created section, all that is needed to display the data in the table view is this method.


Check out the demo app for a fully interactive example.

Building new Cells

Knowing that a cell consists of a view and state let's start with a simple example, a cell that displays a label. By specifying the generic requirements of HostCell, the simplest possible example is one that takes an UILabel as its view, a String as its state and LayoutMarginsTableItemLayout as the layout (See TableItemLayout for more info).

typealias LabelCell = HostCell<UILabel, String, LayoutMarginsTableItemLayout>

// Usage
LabelCell(key: "company", state: "Shopify") { view, state in
	view.text = state

Although, the previous code is very useful to get started, in most cases a more robust state should be used allowing more customization. A better example would be something like this

typealias LabelCell = HostCell<UILabel, LabelState, LayoutMarginsTableItemLayout>

struct LabelState: Equatable {
	let text: String
	let alignment: NSTextAlignment
	let color: UIColor

	static func ==(lhs: LabelState, rhs: LabelState) -> Bool {
		return lhs.text == rhs.text && lhs.alignment == rhs.alignment && lhs.color == rhs.color

// Usage
LabelCell(key: "company", state: LabelState(text: "Shopify",
                                            alignment: .center,
                                            color: .green)) { view, state in
	guard let state = state else {
		// If the state is `nil`, prepare this view to be reused
		view.text = ""
		view.textAlignment = .natural
		view.textColor = .black
	view.text = state.text
	view.textAlignment = state.alignment
	view.textColor = state.color

At the end of the day HostCell is just one of the possible implementations of CellConfigType, that's the underlying power of this framework.

For examples of more complex cells, check out the demo app.

Other resources

Seen other articles in the wild? Feel free to open a pull request.


Functional Table Data is under the MIT License

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