The Hit List Diary #15 – Modal Segues

Let’s say you want to present a modal screen in your app. It’s probably just a simple table view. And of course you need some way to get back out of this screen, so you stick the table view controller inside a navigation controller, and then present that navigation controller instead.

All very straightforward so far.

But something about all this starts to irk me:

  • It’s quite repetitive work
  • My storyboard starts to become a little littered with navigation controllers that sit that doing very little, particularly if there’s no customisation of the nav bar to be performed
  • But most of all, I don’t like writing code like this:


Something about having to fish into the navigation controller’s view controllers array feels a bit fragile to me. You lose some type-checking, and it seems to break a little of the abstraction that storyboards promise.

Instead, I’ve been toying with a setup like this:

  1. Set up your view controller in the storyboard as usual, but don’t include a navigation controller this time
  2. You probably want to change the Simulated Metrics to include a translucent nav bar, so the navigation item can be conveniently configured
  3. Hook up a “Custom” segue to this view controller, specifying the class name from the code above


When the segue is triggered at runtime, it’ll package up the destination into a navigation controller and nicely present that. Now both my storyboard, and the segue code are cleaner:

If needed, you can get hold of the raw navigation controller from the segue, and make adjustments to it. Oh, and this setup also makes a lot easier to switch between push and modal navigations while still designing your app’s flow.

Does this seem like a good idea though? Is the increased convolution worth it? Email or ping me on Twitter if you have any thoughts.

© Mike Abdullah 2007-2015