Building a custom Dashboard-like UIButton

Parking Mobility Quick Start Help

Help overlay showing the Parking Mobility quick start help

As part of the Parking Mobility iPhone app I’ve been building, I wanted to integrate a simple “Quick Start” help guide to show people how to use the app without being intrusive.  I wanted to use the project’s branding as much as possible, and give the user a feeling like they haven’t left the main portion of the app.  So I wanted the user to be comfortable with it, and always have a quick way to close the help window to get back to the app.

In the end I created a little Close button in the top-left corner to mimic the behaviour of the Mac OS X Dashboard widgets.  But I didn’t want to simply add a static image since those don’t scale easily.  Plus I wanted to learn more about native drawing using Core Animation and Quartz2D.

The end result is actually really simple.  I subclassed the UIButton class, and overrode the drawRect: method to use some native drawing primitives.

Reading through the source code, you can see how I split the drawing between two different routines.  First, my layer drawing which draws the border, the circle, shadows, etc is handled using raw CALayer drawing.  The second block, inside drawRect:, draws the lines forming the “X” inside.

Simply add these files to your project, and create a new DNCloseButton object and add it to your view.

If you find any bugs in this code, please let me know and I’ll update this post.  I hope this works out as well for you as it has for me.

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