Apple's Swift Playgrounds sandbox for programming education now available

Posted:
in iPad
Apple has made Swift Playgrounds available for download, and provides a way to teach beginners and children how to code on its Swift programming language on the iPad.




Swift Playgrounds includes Apple-developed programming lessons that guide students through an assortment of puzzles to guide characters through an immersive graphical world as they learn core?coding concepts. Apple is planning on periodically releasing new standalone challenges to the app so users can continue developing programming skills.

In an onstage demonstration at the 2016 WWDC, Apple showed how users could move a character and pick up gems in a simplified way to teach the basics of code.

Users start out by learning the important concepts needed to understand?code. Lessons progress over time, ultimately allowing users to import and export directly between Swift Playground on iOS to Xcode on macOS Sierra. Stand-alone apps outside the aegis of Swift Playgrounds lessons cannot be created on the iPad, and must be exported to Xcode for compilation.

"Everyone should have the opportunity to learn coding, and we are excited to bring Swift Playgrounds to the next generation of programmers looking for a fun and easy way to explore key coding concepts using real code," said?Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "More than 100 schools around the world have already committed to adding Swift Playgrounds to their fall curriculum, and we can't wait to see what students?create with it."

Apple first introduced its new Swift programing language at WWDC 2014, building upon groundwork invested in the company's development tools ranging from its LLVM compiler to its Cocoa and Foundation frameworks.

Swift Playgrounds is available today on the App Store for free. Swift Playgrounds is compatible with all iPad Air and iPad Pro models and iPad mini 2 and later running iOS 10.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7

    Mmm...

    The version of Swift Playgrounds released today is quite different than what was available in the iOS betas.  

    It includes a a battleship game and a brickout game where the user writes (enters/modifies) actual Swift 3 code -- instead of issuing commands to an animated character to waddle around and pickup gems, etc.

    Here are some of the capabilities:

    As you develop source files you can store them intor a special source folder, so that they can be shared/reused, and need to be compiled only once (not go through the interactive  REPL process).

    You can transfer Swift 3 programs between Xcode running on a Mac and Swift Playgrounds running on an iPad and vice versa.

    There is great potential, here, not just to learn coding on an iPad -- but to actually do coding on an iPad.

    You can see the possibilities:  When/who will submit the first App Store app written totally on an iPad?

    SpamSandwichkevin keejony0
  • Reply 2 of 7
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,894member
    Wow, sounds like a cool start to bringing real coding support to the iPad. A rudimentary debugging capability would be a great next step. One of my first introductions to programming was on a BASIC pocket computer so I've been waiting for a long time for built-in programming support on an iOS device (using a standard programming language like Swift of course).
  • Reply 3 of 7

    Mmm...

    The version of Swift Playgrounds released today is quite different than what was available in the iOS betas.  

    It includes a a battleship game and a brickout game where the user writes (enters/modifies) actual Swift 3 code -- instead of issuing commands to an animated character to waddle around and pickup gems, etc.

    Here are some of the capabilities:

    As you develop source files you can store them intor a special source folder, so that they can be shared/reused, and need to be compiled only once (not go through the interactive  REPL process).

    You can transfer Swift 3 programs between Xcode running on a Mac and Swift Playgrounds running on an iPad and vice versa.

    There is great potential, here, not just to learn coding on an iPad -- but to actually do coding on an iPad.

    You can see the possibilities:  When/who will submit the first App Store app written totally on an iPad?

    That day may not be far off at this rate!
  • Reply 4 of 7
    jdwjdw Posts: 675member
    "You can transfer Swift 3 programs between Xcode running on a Mac and Swift Playgrounds running on an iPad and vice versa."

    But there is no OS X (ahem, "MacOS") version of Swift Playgrounds.  Seems that it should be on both platforms if Apple is truly committed to getting kids (or anyone) to play with the app and start programming in Swift.  I can just hear my kids, "Hey, Dad, where's the iPad?" to which I reply, "Your sister is using it" to which he replies, "Can you load up the Mac version for me," to which I reply, "Well...  Apple says 'No' to that.  Sorry."
    ktappe
  • Reply 5 of 7
    I agree; it's bizarre that there's no macOS version.
    jdw
  • Reply 6 of 7

    I can see the desire for a Mac version of the Swift Playgrounds App -- but I suspect a family has more iPads than Macs...   Apple wouldd have to figure out what to do to implement the app's touch UI as a mouse/kb UI -- but still...

    All is not lost, however because macOS, nee OS X, has had a Swift Playground capability in Xcode since it was announced at WWDC 2014 -- @3:13 in:





    After the first two iPad lessons in the app, the user is writing actual Swift code, rather than issuing pseudo-code commands -- so the platform differences are minor.

    IMO, Swift was the highlight of WWDC 2014.  Then, in Dec 2015, they released the language as open-source.

    Also, IBM has provided an interactive Swift Playgrounds web site:


    https://swiftlang.ng.bluemix.net/?cm_mmc=developerWorks-_-dWdevcenter-_-swift-_-lp&cm_mc_uid=21341330571814704934663&cm_mc_sid_50200000=1473855016#/repl

    Of course, the IBM site and open-source Swift don't have access to all the Apple APIs like SpritKit, etc.

    edited September 2016
  • Reply 7 of 7
    "Everyone should have the opportunity to learn coding" is what they say.  But having successfully installed ios10 onto my iPad4 I find that Swift Playgrounds is not compatible.  So not quite "everyone" - instead just those with a device less than 3 years old.  Many schools and families will be caught out by that - so lots of kids (and grown-ups) deprived of the opportunity to learn from what looks like a great app.  A big oversight and a great shame - and for no apparent reason.
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