Let’s start with the basics, what exactly is Swift?
In a nutshell, Swift is a programming language or ‘code’ that Apple has created which is used by developers for building and creating apps. The code is open source which means anyone can access it and the language is concise and easy to use, allowing you to create even more powerful apps.
Why is it important to know about code?
Technology is at the epicentre of global change and everyone deserves the opportunity to make a unique contribution to that change. That’s where code comes in. Technology is essentially built on code which makes learning how to code an invaluable skill that allows you to approach and solve problems in a whole new way. By introducing these concepts to kids early on in a way that’s fun and exciting, we begin to dramatically shift the way they think and revolutionise the approach to education as a whole.
What is Swift Playgrounds?
Swift Playgrounds is a new app developed by Apple that introduces coding concepts in a game-like format. The app consists of a series of lessons that start you on the basics and move you towards more complex coding. The app requires no previous experience of coding but depending on your ability, you can start with whichever lesson you please. The lessons go through the fundamentals of coding with Swift by showing you how to guide a character (his name is Byte and he’s very cute) through a 3D world. The screen is split so that you can create the code on the left hand side and see the results on the right hand side. Once you feel like you’ve got the gist of it, you can test out your knowledge through a series of challenges available on the app. It’s all based on a game so you get to learn and play at the same time!
So I can do all of this right from my iPad?
That’s right! The great part about learning to code with Swift Playgrounds on your iPad is that the app takes full advantage of all the great features of iPad, making it a one-of-a-kind learning experience. With Multi-Touch, it’s really easy to create, edit and change code by tapping and dragging your code as you go. The coding keyboard takes advantage of QuickType by intelligently displaying codes it thinks you may want to use as you go. Cherry pick the code you want and simply tap and drag. And if you want to type it out, there’s a keyboard designed specifically for coding as well.
What are some of the great features of Swift and Swift Playgrounds?
One of the standout features of Swift is that it’s a lot simpler to use than a lot of other codes out there. The Swift Playgrounds app is designed for you to go entirely at your own pace and feel as though you’re constantly learning something new whether you are new to coding or already have a few apps under your belt. There is more than one way to do something, so as long as you reach the objective, the app will celebrate your success now matter how you get there. This allows users to creatively come up with their own solutions using the tools provided. If you get stuck, don’t worry, there are always helpful hints available for you to figure out what the next step is. Get some encouragement by sharing your progress with your friends as you go via Mail, Messages or Airdrop by taking screenshots or video broadcasting what you’re doing. Your friends can view and even build on your code and add their own elements. Developers can also use Swift Playgrounds to test out prototypes and then export this code to Xcode for more complex development.
Ok I’m sold, what next?
With iOS 10, Swift Playgrounds is available as a free download on the app store and is compatible with iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 2 or later. You can also download the Swift Programming Book for free to learn more about Swift. And that’s all you need to get coding!
iStore Tip: Don’t worry about not understanding Swift code jargon. Anything that sounds a bit complicated will be highlighted in red. All you need to do is a tap a red word for it’s definition.
There are over 100,000 apps that have incorporated Swift, the fastest growing programming language. Check out some of them here: