Swift, Apple’s new language for programming Mac and iOS apps, launched with a good deal of fanfare last year. Apple touted it as a new way to get more people building apps, since it’s a more streamlined language compared to its predecessor Objective-C. That has the added benefit of making it easier to learn, but even then, it can hard to know where to get started.
Swifty lets people dip their toes into Swift programming while riding a bus or killing time waiting for an appointment. The app, which is available for iPhone and iPad, offers lessons covering all the basics needed to get your feet wet with Swift. The app (and the first lesson on variables) is available for free, and users can then unlock the next 11 units for $2.99.
The lessons are straightforward, and very strictly guided. Often, users pick from a few pop-up choices, or have the choice to fill in a value or two. It’s simplified from the experience of sitting down and typing into a text editor, but that seems like a fair trade for being able to use the app one-handed while riding public transit.
It’s definitely no replacement for actually getting your hands on Apple’s Xcode development environment and trying Swift out on a computer, but Swifty is the sort of app that will help get people started.
The app covers basic topics like variables, loops, if statements, functions, structs, classes and optionals. If those concepts sounds like old hat to you, odds are you won’t get a whole lot out of Swifty. It’s really tailored for people who have very little to no programming experience. People already versed in those concepts from other languages will likely get more out of reading Apple’s free e-book introduction to Swift, or going straight to a dedicated iOS development course.
Speaking of development courses, this isn’t an app that will teach everything about building an iPhone app. For that, people will have to turn to dedicated training programs, whether online or in person. Swifty can, however, help get people coding in Swift for the first time, which they can then use as base knowledge for developing iOS apps. If that’s something that sounds interesting to you, Swifty is a good way to try out the programming aspects of iOS development without having to dive too deep or spend a ton of money.
Swifty is available for free from the iOS App Store.