Xcode 8.2 Application Development Basic Guide

Introduction to Xcode 8.2 Application

This is Xcode 8.2 tutorial. If you have an earlier version, we recommend you update your environment development, because the Swift programming language has changed significantly recently, and these changes are only available in the latest version of Xcode.

In this article, you will learn:

  • about the five main components of the Xcode development environment,
  • And how to test your app using an iOS emulator.

After reading the tutorial, you will have a clear understanding of how to create projects in Xcode.

1) Where to download Xcode?

The easiest way to find Xcode is in the Mac App Store. Or follow the link Apple Developer page for Xcode.

2) Xcode interface

You can also read the official Apple Documentation for XCode.

Pay attention to this image. If your interface is different, make sure you have Xcode 8 installed and not an earlier version.

This is a reference image, and we’ll come back to it. The sections of the interface are clearly presented here.

4 main sections: Navigator, Editor, Debug Area, and Utility Area.

You can resize these windows (just hover the cursor over the borders of the area), or hide the different areas in the upper right corner as needed:

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

When you write code, the utility or debug area is unnecessary. By hiding these panels, you thereby expand the editor’s working area.

3) Navigator area

There are several navigators in this panel, you can switch between them using the Navigator selector bar (see image). Three frequently used navigators: Project, Search, Issue.

Project Navigator

Here you will see all the project files.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Within the project navigator, you can create groups of files: right-click and select Create Group. The group only exists in the Xcode project – no folder is created in the file system, i.e. there will be no files on the hard disk. It is argued that it is better to use the actual directories on your hard drive, organize the files, and then move them back into the Xcode project.

You can right-click on the project navigator to create new files or add existing ones. Alternatively, you can move folders or files from your computer directly to the project navigator. Then a dialog box appears asking: how do you want to add files? If you click on a file in the project navigator, the contents of the Editor area are highlighted. Double-clicking on the file will open a new window (this is more convenient if you are using two monitors).

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The root node of the project navigator is the Xcode project file (marked with a blue icon). When clicked, the project properties will open in the editor area.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Search Navigator

The search navigator tab is convenient for viewing individual parts of the text in your project. This option is often used when you need to find a specific property, method, or variable.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Issue Navigator

This navigator will show all the problems the application has.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

If there are certain defects that will prevent Xcode from building the application, it will stop and errors in the navigator will be highlighted in red.

A click will mistakenly show the corresponding files and lines in the editor. Yellow warnings also appear in the Issue Navigator. A warning can indicate the presence of certain problems.

4) Editor area  

The editor area is where mobile app developers Dallas spend the most time.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

As noted, clicking on the file opens the content for editing. But that’s not the only way to get to the code files.

Navigating the editor area

There are forward and backward arrows in the upper left corner of the editor section. Their purpose is the same as that of similar browser arrows: to return to previous sections.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Another way to quickly jump to the file you are looking for is the Jump Bar function (see image). With the Jump Bar, you can quickly browse through the groups and find the file you want.

At the top of the editor area, this option looks like a breadcrumb navigation chain. But if you click on one of the segments, a menu with other groups of a separate hierarchical level will open.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Clicking on the tail segment of the Jump Bar will open a menu with methods in the file. This will not only allow you to navigate to another section of the file but also show which methods are available in that file.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Three views of the editor window

In the editor section, there are three separate windows that you can switch between, there is a set of buttons in the upper right corner:

The button on the left is for working in only one editor mode, which is more suitable for laptops with small screens when there is no external monitor.

The middle button, the Assistant Editor option, shows the additional file of the current file in split screen format. For example, if the file on the left is ViewController.swift, in the window on the right there will be a file of the corresponding class for ViewController. Each panel has a jump bar option. It can be used to change what is shown in each file.

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Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

The right button is the Version Editor, where you can compare two different files; more information on this feature in the Apple Documentation.

Interface designer window

So far, we’ve talked about editing code files and writing code, but Xcode has an integrated interface builder where you can view Storyboard or XIB files. The editor area becomes a visual designer.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

Find and replace in a file

Press Command-F to bring up a search box in the upper right corner, which will search for what you type in the current file. It is also a good way to navigate to different areas of your file, or change anything about it.

Go to definitions   

If you see the name of a particular class and want to jump to its definition, hold down Command and click on the class name to quickly jump to the file.

Control points

Here (see image) you can set breakpoints/breakpoints at specific lines of code. By placing these points, you will notice a blue indicator. To cancel the breakpoint, click on the blue indicator – it will become darker.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

If you click and drag the blue indicator, the control point is completely removed. You can view a list of all the breakpoints in a project using the breakpoint navigator tab in the navigator area.

5) Utilities area

The Xcode utility area consists of two panels: the Inspector Panel and the Library.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

The inspector panel will tell you the details of the file that is highlighted in the project navigator. However, if you are looking at the XIB / StoryBoard file, the inspector panel will show various attributes that you can change for the Featured item.

When using the Interface Builder, you can move interface elements from the library panel to an editor area or section to add that element to your interface.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

It is believed that when editing code files, it is better to hide the entire Utility Area in order to give the editor more space. After all, an inspector panel or a library panel is not required.

6) Debug area

When the application starts up, the debug section will show the console output and the state of various variables.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

This is often used when looking for miscalculations and errors.

7) Toolbar

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

On the left is the Run button. It builds and runs the app, and runs the app in an iOS emulator. The adjacent button stops the application and takes you back to Xcode.

If you press and hold the Run button, you will see more options for working with the application:

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

The test starts unit testing if provided in the project.

Profile measures various metrics of an application such as performance, memory usage, and more.

Analyze gives you the ability to analyze your code and identify potential errors.

You can find more information on this in the Apple iOS Documentation.

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The drop-down list next to the Stop button contains the names of the devices on which the application will run (this could be Apple Watch). You can also choose iPhone or iPad emulators (or other versions if installed). The iOS device section launches applications on an electronic device if it is connected and properly configured.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

And finally, at the top right of the toolbar, there are editor buttons, buttons to switch between multiple Xcodepanels, and an Organizer button.

8) Organizer

Located in the menu item: Window -> Organizer. This option appears in a separate window. An organizer is needed for several tasks.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application


There are many actions available to you in device windows (shortcut ⌘⇧). But the main thing is the management of profiles (Provisioning profile) in the system and on various devices. Profiles allow you to host apps on iOS devices.


You can view the error report on multiple connected devices.

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In Xcode 8, you can find various datastores: Source Control >> Check Out. In the corresponding tab, you can manage and delete repositories (GitHub, etc.).


In the Projects tab, a list of projects that were opened before is available. Thus, they can be quickly reopened. You have the ability to control the input data.


In the archives tab, you can manage archives for different projects. Apps are archived, for example, when they are submitted to an app store.


In Xcode 8, documentation and APIs are available in the Help menu.

9) iOS emulator

Xcode 8 comes with several useful emulators for testing. Moreover, most of the development time you can use emulators, and for testing, when almost everything is done, choose a smartphone or tablet.

Xcode 8.2 Application
Xcode 8.2 Application

In particular, the emulator allows you to:

  • Change screen position (landscape/portrait modes)
  • Simulate various GPS coordinates
  • Simulate low memory scenarios

(With the release of Xcode 6.3, an Apple Watch emulator appeared for testing applications for this OS).

Let’s sum up

Now you have some knowledge about Xcode, i.e. everything you need to develop applications for iOS:

  • navigator, editor, utility, debugging, toolbars;
  • code editing function;
  • organizer Xcode;
  • and an iOS emulator.

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