At its WWDC developer conference in San Francisco today, Apple chief executive Tim Cook announced the launch of Swift Playgrounds, an iPad app that’s designed to teach people how to code — specifically with Apple’s open-source Swift programming language.
“There’s never been anything like this,” Cook said. It’s absolutely “the best way to teach everyone to code,” he said.
The app is all about tapping on the iPad’s display and seeing the results of the action in a video on the right side of the display. There are clear step-by-step instructions.
There’s an enhanced “coding keyboard” for more advanced use, with numbers and symbols overlaid on top of letter keys on the iPad’s virtual keyboard.
It was a major step toward openness on the part of Apple, but the move brought the company more in line with other companies that put core development tools out in the open, right up there with Google (Go), Mozilla (Rust), Facebook (React/React Native), and even Microsoft (.NET). Swift was first announced at the 2014 WWDC as the successor to Objective-C, which dates back to the early 1980s.
Now Apple is making Swift more accessible, and more fun. It’s also setting the bar higher for learn-to-code apps.
The app is becoming available in a developer preview today. The public beta will come out next next month, and it will be available in the fall. And the app will be free, Cook said.