Apple Launches Swift Playgrounds
Written by Alex Denham   
Friday, 17 June 2016

Apple has introduced a new app for iPad designed to make it fun and easy for anyone to learn to code.

Swift Playgrounds has an interactive interface that can be used to code in Swift, Apple's language for developing apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS and Linux. 

The new app comes with programming lessons developed by Apple. As users follow the lessons, they have fun onscreen characters that they can guide through challenges and use to solve puzzles. The more the user codes, the more challenges and games become available.




There are also built-in templates that users can use to create their own programs that can then be shared. The templates let the user add graphics and touch interactions.


As users become more experienced, they can make use of Swift with the iOS frameworks. Apps can be created from scratch using empty playground documents, or by using  one of the built-in templates with scaffolding for graphics and user interface to build apps that respond to touch and accelerometer or that control Bluetooth devices. Because Swift Playgrounds apps are based on Swift code, projects can be exported directly to Xcode to create programs for iOS and macOS.

According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering:

"Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It’s an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity.”

The lessons in the app cover coding concepts including creating functions, performing loops and using conditional code and variables. Apple will also release new standalone challenges on a regular basis to keep users interested. Developers can add their own challenges for the app using Xcode.

The programming interface of Swift Playgrounds makes use of the Multi-Touch iPad interface, and there's a coding keyboard that lets you type additional characters common to Swift programming by swiping across the key. A shortcut bar presents the most likely next commands or values based on context. You can also drag from a library of common coding snippets to create new code with little or no typing.

A preview release of Swift Playgrounds is now available to Apple Developer Program members as part of the iOS 10 developer preview and will be available with the iOS 10 public beta in July. The final version of Swift Playgrounds will be free in the App Store this Fall.


More Information

Swift Playgrounds

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 June 2016 )