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MTStackableNavigationController aims to be an API-compatible replacement for UINavigationController, with special sauce for Facebook / Path style stacked navigation. In contrast to most of the other view controller projects based on this paradigm, MTStackableNavigationController is targeted exclusively for use as a direct replacement for UINavigationController; layered navigation and deck style interaction are already done well by other controllers and I see no reason to reinvent the wheel in that respect.

MTStackableNavigationController does some cool things:

  • The navigation bar framework works as it does inside a UINavigationController. You can define bar button items, titles, and other properties on your controller's navigationItem just as you do with a conventional UINavigationController and they'll be presented appropriately.
  • Your child view controllers don't require any modification to be used with this container (other than changing references to self.navigationController to self.stackedNavigationController). The API methods (and the calling sequence of the various view lifecycle messages such as viewWillAppear et al.) are identical to those of UINavigationController.
  • View controllers can customize various aspects of their presentation by configuring their stackableNavigationItem property.
  • Views can be configured to stick around on the left hand side after being pushed on top of (this is the 'leftPeek' property on stackableNavigationItem)
  • The controller can reveal the next-to-top controller in the stack, having the top controller stay on screen on the right-hand side (this is the 'rightPeek' property on stackableNavigationItem)

MTStackableNavigationController is still under active development and a number of features aren't done yet (but they will be soon). A rough plan of the near future looks like this:

Planned for 0.5

  • Support for configuring the navigation bar (including tints and other appearance hints)
  • Better support for toolbars on contained view controllers
  • More complete support for seldom used properties of navigationItem

Planned for 0.6

  • Support for subview layouts and reizing on rotation (currently, only portrait is supported)
  • Proper resizing of navigation bars and tool bars on rotation
  • iPad support (this is a low priority for me and may get bumped. There are plenty of other view controller projects out there that are probably better choices for iPad development anyway)

Planned for 0.7

  • Comprehensive test suite to stay in lock-step with subtle timing changes of view lifecycle messages in UINavigationController

Supported Platforms

iOS 5.0 is a minimum; any release since then is supported. ARC is required (if you have a need for this project to not require ARC, let me know and I'll fix you up; I just haven't has a need for it yet). Note that UINavigationController has slightly changed which lifecycle messages are sent (and in which order) since iOS 5.0; MTStackableNavigationController mimics the semantics of iOS 6.1 in this regard.


Using MTStackableNavigationController is easy. Initialization is identical to that of the system UINavigationController (with the exception that use inside a storyboard or nib isn't perfectly supported; see below for more info). See the included MTStackableNavigationControllerDemo project to see a usage example of using MTStackableNavigationController without storyboards.

Using MTStackableNavigationController with storyboards

You're free to create instances of MTStackableNavigationController from inside a storyboard, with some limitations. Most notably, you'll need to wire up your root view controller in code, since Apple doesn't allow third party view controllers to declare Relationship segues inside storyboards.

This project includes a custom segue (MTStackableNavigationPushSegue) which performs the equivalent of a UINavigationController's push segue. Using this custom segue, you can realize most of the navigational benefit of storyboards while still using MTStackableNavigationController. Here's how:

  1. Create your storyboard as normal, making your storyboard's initial view controller be your top-level contained view (instead of the typical approach of your initial view controller being an instance of the container UINavigationController).

  2. Remove any Main Storyboard entires from your application's Info.plist file. We'll be creating your UIWindow and initial view controller in our delegate.

  3. Create an instance of MTStackableNavigationController inside your app delegate and populate it with your storyboard's initial view controller like so:

     - (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary *)launchOptions {
       self.window = [[UIWindow alloc] initWithFrame:[[UIScreen mainScreen] bounds]];
       UIViewController *topLevelController = [[UIStoryboard storyboardWithName:@"YourStoryboardFile" bundle:[NSBundle mainBundle]] instantiateInitialViewController];
       MTStackableNavigationController *stackableNavigationController = [[MTStackableNavigationController alloc] initWithRootViewController:topLevelController];
       self.window.rootViewController = stackableNavigationController;
       [self.window makeKeyAndVisible];
       return YES;
  4. Within your storyboard, use custom segues based on MTStackableNavigationPushSegue to navigate between scenes.


Contributions welcome! Fork this repo and submit a pull request (or just open up a ticket and I'll see what I can do).