Swift Playgrounds includes Apple-Developed programmed lessons that enables students to write code in-coordination with onscreen characters, puzzles, and challenges. The app also features built-in templates that encourage users to create real programs that can be shared via Mail or Messages.
"I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code,” said 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 new Swift Playgrounds app from Apple is one of the most powerful, yet approachable, educational coding apps we’ve ever seen, and we can’t wait to incorporate it into our upcoming camp curriculum,” said Jean MacDonald, founder of App Camp for Girls. “It’s a fun and intuitive way for our students to learn the basic principles of coding using the iPad, and also become skilled in Swift, a language that can grow with them in whatever they choose to do.”
The library of Apple-developed programming lessons helps students learn core coding concepts, such as issuing commands, creating functions, performing loops and using conditional code and variables, and allows them to progressively build confidence and skill. Apple will regularly release new standalone challenges so students can continue to refine their coding abilities as their skills and interests grow. Educators and developers can also use Xcode to create their own unique challenges for the app.
In addition to the lessons, Swift Playgrounds comes with a number of built-in templates to help aspiring developers express their creativity. Students and developers can modify and build on this code to make it their own by adding graphics and touch interactions. Swift Playgrounds allows you to create a virtually unlimited variety of interactive programs using Swift and the iOS frameworks. You can create empty playground documents or start from one of the built-in templates with scaffolding for graphics and user interface to build powerful apps that respond to touch and accelerometer or that control Bluetooth devices. And since Swift Playgrounds uses real Swift code, projects can be exported directly to Xcode to create programs for iOS and macOS that can ultimately be turned into full-fledged apps.
Because Swift Playgrounds was designed from the ground up for the Multi-Touch iPad interface, you can create entire programs with only a few taps. A new coding keyboard lets you quickly type additional characters common to Swift programming by swiping across the key, while a shortcut bar presents the most likely next commands or values based on context. And, using a pop-over keypad, you can simply tap to edit a number in place, touch a color value to display a color picker, and even drag the boundaries of a loop or function definition to wrap around existing code. You can also drag from a library of common coding snippets to create new, powerful code with little or no typing. Your programs look beautiful running in full screen on the iPad Retina display and feel completely immersive, responding to touch gestures and the iPad accelerometer for interaction.
Swift Playgrounds is available today for developers as part of the iOS 10 beta. The final version will be available in the App Store for free this fall.