Apple brings coding to the iPad with Swift Playground

Posted:
in iPad edited June 2016
Introduced as a new way for children to learn how to code, Apple will bring its Swift programming language to iPad with Swift Playground, a touch-friendly way for beginners to grasp the basics.




In an onstage demonstration, Apple showed how it plans to "engage and motivate learners" with a series of lessons on how to write for Swift. Users learn the basics of programming by moving an onscreen character with code, solving puzzles and accomplishing goals in a game-like scenario.

When using Swift Playground, commands appear at the bottom like QuickType suggestions intended for code. In an onstage demonstration, Apple showed how users could move a character and pick up gems in a simplified way to teach the basics of code.




Advanced coding is also available in Swift Playground, with one demo called "Physics Emoji" showing a creation where emojis move on the screen based on code that modifies virtual gravity on the screen.

Apple also created an all-new coding keyboard for Swift Playground, offering easy access to the letters and symbols coders are most likely to use.

Swift Playground will ship this fall with iOS 10, available in the iOS App Store. The free app will be available to test in the developer beta, starting today, and the public beta set to launch in July.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    This looks really neat! I'm going to learn some coding :)
    mike1iqatedoSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 74
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 916member
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    mdriftmeyer
  • Reply 3 of 74
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 332administrator
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    That's exactly the whole point of it, it's not meant as a replacement for your standard development environment. It's a learning tool for people who don't know anything about coding with a bend towards K12 and below.
    tmaypatchythepiratestevehdocno42bancho
  • Reply 4 of 74
    larryalarrya Posts: 552member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    I think of this as a huge leap forward from Logo (are they still using that?), not a replacement for professional tools. 
    mike1tmaydocno42
  • Reply 5 of 74
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    yep, youre old and jaded. as an enterprise dev myself it was obvious and apparent that Swift Playground is a teaching tool. you know, because they call it a playground, and because they said it's a teaching tool for children & beginners.

    how and why on earth you would be comparing it to Xcode is a mystery.
    ericthehalfbeechiajbishop1039mike1Butidonttweettmaymacky the mackystevehdocno42bancho
  • Reply 6 of 74
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,788member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    Did you watch the keynote?
  • Reply 7 of 74
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 916member
    how and why on earth you would be comparing it to Xcode is a mystery.
    Because the touchy-feely video had people gushing about how they're going to change the world now that they know how to code. Umm... Swift Playground is not "really" coding. It's tiny sketches in a tightly controlled environment. Doodles vs blueprints. Yes, it may help people learn some very simple basics and see if they grok coding. But they'll have a long way to go before being a software developer.
  • Reply 8 of 74
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,289member
    Nice. I actually exclaimed "yes!" Out loud to myself.. Ha ha.
    On a side note... is she possibly the coolest official apple employee to date?

    And by by the way, that was absolutely no pun intended. "To date" as in, "so far". I thought she was really cool. But someone obviously disagrees with me strongly, it seems.
    edited June 2016 Michael Karesdocno42bancho
  • Reply 8 of 74
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,322member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    You're not old and jaded. The examples she showed hid all the programming complexity that will be required for that stupid little buddy to stepForward [determine obstructions, raise up and down., etc] that would be necessary when coding your game. It gives kids a false sense of understanding something that has never been solved: removing the complexity of programming to do the simplest of crap your brain and body do subconsciously.
  • Reply 10 of 74
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,322member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    yep, youre old and jaded. as an enterprise dev myself it was obvious and apparent that Swift Playground is a teaching tool. you know, because they call it a playground, and because they said it's a teaching tool for children & beginners.

    how and why on earth you would be comparing it to Xcode is a mystery.

    Wow! It's a teaching tool! It teaches you that these built-in functions do as they were designed to do. Perhaps she should have shown the code complexity behind the methods? Yes, she should have done so.

    Tim proclaiming it to be free was sad and something Steve never would have noted. He would have just said, ``All these examples are included in your developer kit.''
  • Reply 11 of 74
    Huzzah! I can finally learn some coding without, like, having to work very hard!

    I wrote a few text games in BASIC on my dad's NorthStar Horizon. It will be nice to tinker on my iPad Amateur and see if I'm interesting in delving deeper.
  • Reply 12 of 74
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 753member
    jasenj1 said:
    how and why on earth you would be comparing it to Xcode is a mystery.
    But they'll have a long way to go before being a software developer.
    Even Jimmy Hendrix had to start with a 3-chord rock pattern.  Hook 'em early, and then 'upsell' them to a fully fledged programming environment once they catch the fever.
    zoetmbnolamacguyration alpalomine
  • Reply 13 of 74
    jcdinkinsjcdinkins Posts: 114member
    You're not old and jaded. The examples she showed hid all the programming complexity that will be required for that stupid little buddy to stepForward [determine obstructions, raise up and down., etc] that would be necessary when coding your game. It gives kids a false sense of understanding something that has never been solved: removing the complexity of programming to do the simplest of crap your brain and body do subconsciously.
    It must be real fun to live with you.
    nolamacguytmayration aldocno42
  • Reply 14 of 74
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,065member
    It wasn't really clear how far Swift Playground extends beyond the hand-holding tutorials, or indeed how far those tutorials go beyond the fundamentals.  The emoji physics simulator seemed to be a bit more extensive and user editable, but could someone learning Swift access a blank swift editor and code from scratch?  Are any Apple frameworks available?

    Not very clear if this is just a coding 101 education app, or if it has any aspiration towards equivalence to Playgrounds on the Mac.
  • Reply 15 of 74
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,322member
    jcdinkins said:
    It must be real fun to live with you.
    It is fun. This is complex stuff that being trivialized only adds frustration to the kid [who Tim thinks every kid should become a programmer: an absolutely terrible fantasy] when they discover they cannot master it.
  • Reply 16 of 74
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,322member

    jasenj1 said:
    But they'll have a long way to go before being a software developer.
    Even Jimmy Hendrix had to start with a 3-chord rock pattern.  Hook 'em early, and then 'upsell' them to a fully fledged programming environment once they catch the fever.
    The world isn't lacking guitar enthusiasts or programmers. It's lacking visionary talent that no amount of 3 bar chord Smoke on the Water training will ever teach.
  • Reply 17 of 74
    tokoloshtokolosh Posts: 101member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    I'll be putting this one my 10yo son's iPad. He wants to learn stuff like this but I don't have the experience or know-how to even teach him the basics. This should help me foster his interests for a little while. 
    ration almnbob1kevin keedocno42
  • Reply 18 of 74
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,491member
    jcdinkins said:
    It must be real fun to live with you.
    It is fun. This is complex stuff that being trivialized only adds frustration to the kid [who Tim thinks every kid should become a programmer: an absolutely terrible fantasy] when they discover they cannot master it.
    You could say the same things about music lessons and basic programs that teach kids to play "Happy Birthday".   This is not to teach kids programming.   It's to teach kids logical skills and concepts that programming requires.   It's like pre-reading skills.  For kids to be able to learn to read, they first have to know how to put pen to paper, draw with crayons, scan from left to right, learn the alphabet, etc.   
    jasenj1jbishop1039mnbob1docno42
  • Reply 19 of 74
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member
    jasenj1 said:
    I guess I'm old and jaded. As a professional software developer I find it really hard to believe coding on the iPad will produce anything "real". Maybe it will give people a taste of breaking a problem down into steps, working with picky syntax, and introduce some other basic software production concepts. But compared to XCode, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, and other "real" development environments, Swift Playground seems almost delusional.
    Not sure if you are old and jaded but you must have tried pretty hard to miss the point. I hope that is not how you approach coding. You don't teach a kid to become a great soccer player by insisting she learns the Fifa rules off by heart and insisting she spends the next two years getting fit. You start off by making it fun to play with a ball. Its pretty basic. I just think you are an old grumbler. 
    edited June 2016 bill42drewys808nolamacguyroundaboutnowration aljbishop1039mnbob1patchythepirateericthehalfbeebrometheus
  • Reply 20 of 74
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,524member
    jasenj1 said:
    how and why on earth you would be comparing it to Xcode is a mystery.
    Because the touchy-feely video had people gushing about how they're going to change the world now that they know how to code. Umm... Swift Playground is not "really" coding. It's tiny sketches in a tightly controlled environment. Doodles vs blueprints. Yes, it may help people learn some very simple basics and see if they grok coding. But they'll have a long way to go before being a software developer.

    That's the whole point -- it will get them started.  What language did you start to learn coding with?

    BTW, I'm old too (but not jaded) -- I first learned to code before they had any language but the specific machine language for a particular computer -- octal absolute on the IBM 650, in my case.  A real breakthrough was IBM 650 SOAP (Symbolic Optimal Assembly Program).  You could use mnemonic Symbols for the Instruction (instead of the octal) and the Assembler would store the instructions and data in an Optimal memory  location to compensate for the latency of the drum memory.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_650


    ... Let''s see now, if the Indians (currently called Native Americans) were paid $24 for Manhattan island in 1626 -- how much would that be worth today at 5% interest compounded annually ...

    edited June 2016 ration almnbob1SpamSandwichthepixeldocdocno42
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