The Swift programming language has evolved rapidly since its debut in 2014. When version 3.0 rolls out this fall, it will include some nifty new features for advanced iOS and macOS developers, including a stabilized ABI, API design guidelines, and portability to other platforms.
But what if you’re completely new to coding in Swift? What resources can you use?
Apple’s solution to that particular conundrum is Swift Playgrounds, an iOS app it debuted at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. When it hits the App Store this fall, the app will offer lessons in coding. Covered topics include commands, functions, loops, parameters, and conditional code.
In order to make the coding “fun,” typing code into Swift Playgrounds’ interface will compel a little cartoon character to move through an environment. Design-wise, this gaming element is heavily reminiscent of the award-winning “Monument Valley.”
For those who feel they’ve learned the basics and want to tackle more advanced projects, Swift Playgrounds will also offer code that integrates functionality from the iPad’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and multi-touch screen into the user’s program. Developers can also port code to Xcode, the IDE for building Apple software.
For those who don’t want to wait for this app to make its debut, Apple offers documentation for Swift beginners on its developer Website, although those materials ask the reader to have some familiarity with coding. (There are also lessons available on GitHub.)
Outside of the Apple and GitHub ecosystems, Treehouse offers a concise walkthrough that explores the programming fundamentals. And now that the language has gone open-source, forums such as Reddit’s Swift subreddit are likewise a potential source of wisdom from more experienced developers.
The TIOBE Index and other rankings suggest that Apple’s new programming language has nowhere to go but up (especially as it cannibalizes the market-share of its predecessor, Objective-C), so if you’re interested in developing for iOS, you’ll almost certainly have to master it at some point. Swift Playgrounds may prove a good introduction to the language.