VIP Architecture

One of the architects at work has started exploring using an architecture he is calling VIP (View-Interactor-Presenter?). He started thinking about this idea from reading an Uncle Bob blog entry on Yesterday he presented his ideas to the group during a brown bag session, and it got me thinking about the implications of such an architecture to unit testing.

The main idea is to abstract and extract use cases up out of the other components, primarily the view-controller, into a separate, simple NSObject called the Interactor. This object then deals with implementing use cases (aka business logic).

In a sense, the traditional MVC model becomes the Presenter component, used similarly as in an MVP architecture.

What about the Model? This is still a bit fuzzy in my thinking, but there can actually be two different types of model, and places where they exist. The Interactor interfaces with the traditional model, which could be CoreData, a RESTful API extraction layer, local persistence, etc. A key concept though, is that this Model uses fully abstracted, reusable objects, not customized for a particular presentation method or style.

Within the Presenter component, there may exist another presentation-specific model object that converts the reusable Model object into a form needed for presentation. Like I said, still too fuzzy of a definition, but it feels like a good starting point.

What does this mean, really? I think it means that business logic gets put into a single place, instead of being scattered around in various other places. The really big implication here is that the high level behavior of the system is defined in abstract terms in the Interactor! I think this makes it possible to do TDD starting with tests built from Use Cases, which I believe is the definition of Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD).

I’m going to start redoing my What’s My Speed sample app this weekend to see how well this concept works, hopefully firming up some of the fuzzy areas. In order to really test the ATDD aspects, I’ll need to start from scratch, creating and working from User Stories. I’ll be posting my progress as I go.

Update: I’m renaming the new code HowsMyFuel to avoid confusion with the older code. HowsMyFuel will use OCUnit, OCHamcreset, and OCMockito for unit testing. The code is posted publicly on Github.

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