Node Basics

ASDisplayNode is the main view abstraction over UIView and CALayer. It initializes and owns a UIView in the same way UIViews create and own their own backing CALayers.

ASDisplayNode *node = [[ASDisplayNode alloc] init];
node.backgroundColor = [UIColor orangeColor];
node.bounds = CGRectMake(0, 0, 100, 100);

NSLog(@"Underlying view: %@", node.view);

A node has all the same properties as a UIView, so using them should feel very familiar to anyone familiar with UIKit.

Properties of both views and layers are forwarded to nodes and can be easily accessed.

ASDisplayNode *node = [[ASDisplayNode alloc] init];
node.clipsToBounds = YES;				  // not .masksToBounds
node.borderColor = [UIColor blueColor];  //layer name when there is no UIView equivalent

NSLog(@"Backing layer: %@", node.layer);

As you can see, naming defaults to the UIView conventions*** unless there is no UIView equivalent. You also have access to your underlying CALayer just as you would when dealing with a plain UIView.

When used with one of the node containers, a node’s properties will be set on a background thread, and its backing view/layer will be lazily constructed with the cached properties collected by the node. You rarely need to worry about jumping to a background thread as this will be taken care of by the framework, but it’s important to know that this is happening under the hood.

View Wrapping

In some cases, it is desirable to initialize a node and provide a view to be used as the backing view. These views are provided via a block that will return a view so that the actual construction of the view can be saved until later. These nodes’ display step happens synchronously. This is because a node can only be asynchronously displayed when it wraps an _ASDisplayView (the internal view subclass), not when it wraps a plain UIView.

ASDisplayNode *node = [ASDisplayNode alloc] initWithViewBlock:^{
	SomeView *view  = [[SomeView alloc] init];
	return view;

Doing this allows you to wrap existing views if that is preferable to converting the UIView subclass to an ASDisplayNode subclass.

*** The only exception is that nodes use `position` instead of `center` for reasons beyond this intro.

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