Widgets Code-along, part 1: The adventure begins

Description: Take your app on a most wondrous adventure to the home and Today screens of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Grab the starter project and code along with us! We will guide you through the process of creating a widget for your app from start to finish so that you can provide people with beautiful views and glanceable information in an easily-accessible place. Discover how to create a widget project, learn fundamental concepts for widgets and their structure, configure the widget and its provider, and start exploring timeline concepts. Once you’re finished, travel onward with us to part two of the Widgets Code-along where we’ll learn more about timelines, system intelligence, and configuration.

This session is a Code Along session, the session project can be found here.

What is a Widget?

A widget is a SwiftUI view that updates over time, how and when it updates is covered in this and the following sessions.

How to add a widget to an existing app

  1. Create a new Widget target: File > New > Target > Widget Extension

This will create a new target with a new project folder associated with it.

In this folder we have one .swift file, named after our widget, which declares:

  • a IntentTimelineProvider
  • a Widget, which contains your widget declaration
  • a TimelineEntry
  • a placeholder View, which is a view WidgetKit uses to render the widget for the first time an entry View`, which is the default view used by the widget
import WidgetKit
import SwiftUI
import Intents

struct Provider: IntentTimelineProvider {
  public func snapshot(for configuration: ConfigurationIntent, with context: Context, completion: @escaping (SimpleEntry) -> ()) {
    let entry = SimpleEntry(date: Date(), configuration: configuration)

  public func timeline(for configuration: ConfigurationIntent, with context: Context, completion: @escaping (Timeline<Entry>) -> ()) {
    var entries: [SimpleEntry] = []

    // Generate a timeline consisting of five entries an hour apart, starting from the current date.
    let currentDate = Date()
    for hourOffset in 0 ..< 5 {
      let entryDate = Calendar.current.date(byAdding: .hour, value: hourOffset, to: currentDate)!
      let entry = SimpleEntry(date: entryDate, configuration: configuration)

    let timeline = Timeline(entries: entries, policy: .atEnd)

struct SimpleEntry: TimelineEntry {
  public let date: Date
  public let configuration: ConfigurationIntent

struct PlaceholderView : View {
  var body: some View {
    Text("Placeholder View")

struct WWDCNotesWidgetEntryView : View {
  var entry: Provider.Entry

  var body: some View {
    Text(entry.date, style: .time)

struct WWDCNotesWidget: Widget {
  private let kind: String = "WWDCNotesWidget"

  public var body: some WidgetConfiguration {
    IntentConfiguration(kind: kind, intent: ConfigurationIntent.self, provider: Provider(), placeholder: PlaceholderView()) { entry in
      WWDCNotesWidgetEntryView(entry: entry)
    .configurationDisplayName("My Widget")
    .description("This is an example widget.")

struct WWDCNotesWidget_Previews: PreviewProvider {
  static var previews: some View {
    WWDCNotesWidgetEntryView(entry: SimpleEntry(date: Date(), configuration: ConfigurationIntent()))
      .previewContext(WidgetPreviewContext(family: .systemSmall))
  1. in the Widget declaration, update the default configuration with your widget title and description (those are two modifiers, .configurationDisplayName and .description)
  1. declare which widget family/sizes you'd like to support by adding a .supportedfamilies(_:) modifier, by default all three families are supported.
  1. the dynamic data of the widget should come from your TimelineEntry: any required data should be defined there.
  1. TimelineEntry instances come from our TimelineProvider: we will need to update our TimelineProvider definition by adding the necessary entry data in the snapshot(for:with:completion:) and timeline(for:with:completion:) functions


  • use the .isPlaceholder(true) modifier on the preview view (note: .isPlaceholder is not available as of Xcode 12b2)

Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃


Written by

Federico Zanetello

Federico Zanetello

iOS Engineer with strong passion for Swift, minimalism, and design. When he’s not busy automating things, he can be found writing at FIVE STARS and/or playing with the latest shiny toys.