Mac Building nice GUI's in Interface Builder


macrumors regular
Original poster
Alright, I'm trying to build an interface that doesn't look too damn plane. I see apps like Acquisition look very nice and they obviously didn't use just the classes that are availiable in IB. My question is: Did they write them all themselves or are there classes somewhere that provide the same nifty views online? I've been looking around and I can't really come up with a whole lot. Thanks for any insight.



Feb 17, 2003
Hitchin, Herts, UK
There are a bunch of free to use classes that you can use (for example Aquisition's splitviews could probably be done with RBSplitView) but you'll probs have to search for them. CocoaDev is a good place to start. Alternatively if there's a look you really like then check out the credits for the app. If the author has used someone else's code he should say so there.

Or you could roll your own.;)


macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
Cork, Ireland.
Here's a useful one - if you want to use the translucent rounded windows (as seen in iPhoto, and others), google "HUDWindow". It's quite easy to use too.


macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2006
Cambridge UK
Don't let your eyes pop out.

Things like Acquisition can look fine, but that's not always the best solution - especially if you're selling to the world of business. There it's more important to make the program easily identifiable - something IBM called the 'Recognition Principle': programs are supposed to look similar. That's the whole point! If you're marketing a consumer app, then going through all that trouble like Acquisition might be considered necessary. But if you're doing a custom job for a client, then definitely do not do that. People who purchase your custom software want to use it, not look at it, and they want to start using it ASAP.

And don't forget: it takes a lot of work to create an add-on. It takes a lot of testing and debugging. And be so sure that just when you think your fancy control is ready for prime time, someone will discover yet another flaw.

That is why there are UI elements provided for you: so everything looks the same (Recognition Principle) and because creating flaw free elements is really hard work - a lot harder than you may imagine.