The downside is that this app only focuses on Swift, not any other programming languages or coding topics. Udacity Prepares You for the Jobs of Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond. As mentioned above, Apple’s Xcode is a free, full featured IDE for native apps. However, it’s not very hard to press it into service for beginning C code on a Mac, and it includes a GUI.

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Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary app for iPad and Mac that helps you learn and explore coding in Swift, the same powerful language used to create world-class apps for the App Store. Engaging lessons and challenges help students learn the core concepts of coding by writing real Swift code in an interactive environment.

Learn and Explore

In Swift Playgrounds, a single line of code can make amazing things happen. You’ll create small programs called “playgrounds” that instantly show the results of the code that you write. Interactive lessons teach key coding concepts, and additional challenges and starting points encourage you to explore code in exciting new ways to build unique creations. And third parties publish playgrounds you can use to control robots, drones, and other hardware accessories with Bluetooth. It’s easy to share your creations with friends, or record and post videos of your playgrounds in action.

Coding Concepts

Swift Playgrounds includes interactive lessons that use puzzles and experimentation to teach the following core coding concepts, and more:

  • Commands
  • Functions
  • Parameters
  • Loops
  • Conditional statements
  • Variables
  • Operators
  • Types
  • Initialization

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Real Swift. Real Frameworks.

The Swift programming language was designed to be approachable enough to be your very first programming language. Swift is also incredibly powerful, used by professional developers to create over half a million apps on the App Store. Using Swift Playgrounds, you’ll be coding within minutes. Even as you become more proficient, you’ll never outgrow Swift.

Swift Playgrounds gives you access to key frameworks, such as UIKit, SpriteKit, Bluetooth, and Metal. Your code can directly interact with the iPad or Mac on which it runs. For instance, on iPad your playgrounds respond to touch gestures and interact with hardware, such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, and camera.

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Experiment with Code

Sometimes the best way to learn is to explore on your own, and Swift Playgrounds is a great place to let your imagination run wild. In addition to the guided Learn to Code lessons, Swift Playgrounds includes many challenges, with new ones on the horizon, so you can keep coming back to try something new. Some challenges encourage you to play with code to create interesting effects, while others include engrossing puzzles that require all of your coding skills to solve.

Additional starting points included in Swift Playgrounds help you create playgrounds from scratch. With access to thousands of APIs in the iOS and macOS SDKs, you can create amazing playgrounds that explore the web, generate 3D worlds, experiment with physics, and much more.

Many playgrounds let you edit multiple Swift source files and add your own to the included modules to create infinitely powerful programs. Most playground files can be edited, extended, remixed, or completely reinvented. Collaborate with friends or reimagine them on your own.

Built for Touch

Swift Playgrounds for iPad was designed from the ground up for touch, so you can create entire programs with only a few taps on the screen. Unique coding features include:

  • QuickType for code. The Shortcut Bar intelligently presents the most likely next commands or values based on context. It’s easy to write entire lines of code without touching a keyboard.
  • Coding keyboard. When the time comes for typing, enter numbers and symbols commonly used in Swift coding by dragging your finger across a key to select one of the alternate symbols.
  • Touch to edit. Tap a color value to display a color picker or tap an image value to choose a photo from your library. You can even restructure your code by simply dragging a brace to wrap around the surrounding code.

Swift Playgrounds helps you write correct code by identifying mistakes as you type and offering suggestions to help correct the errors.

Powerful on Mac

Swift Playgrounds for Mac adds features that take advantage of the wide screen on Mac, and includes an always-available keyboard. Unique coding features for Mac include:

  • Code suggestions with help. Code suggestions appear with brief help so you can pick exactly the correct code.
  • Keyboard navigation. Press the Esc key to toggle between the editing area and the code suggestion list, so you never have take your fingers off the keyboard.
  • Sidebar. Expand the sidebar to reveal the complete list of pages, and jump anywhere within the playground. In more advanced content, quickly open supporting Swift files in additional editor tabs with a click.

Code editing on Swift Playgrounds for Mac closely matches Xcode, the professional developer tool used to create apps for the App Store. And because both apps are on Mac, you can experiment with ideas in Swift Playgrounds and easily copy that code into Xcode.

Command Robots, Pilot Drones, and More

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Swift Playgrounds includes accessories playgrounds that teach you how to use Swift code to command LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robots that you build, use iPad to guide a Sphero SPRK+ robot around the room, pilot a drone from Parrot or Tello, or even teach a MeeBot to dance. Swift Playgrounds includes guided lessons for each accessory, as well as template starting points you can use to write your own programs that control the following devices:

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  • Sphero SPRK+
  • Drones by Parrot and Tello by Ryze
  • MeeBot by Jimu Robots
  • Dash by Wonder Workshop
  • Skoog musical instrument

Because Swift Playgrounds uses real Swift code with access to the Bluetooth radio on iPad and Mac, any developer can create a playground to connect to additional robots and and devices, then share them with the world.

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Author Your Own Content with Xcode

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If you’re an experienced developer, you can create incredible playgrounds to share with the next generation.

Swift Playgrounds authoring templates for Xcode can help you create powerful playground book files to publish as a subscription. The interactivity of playgrounds combined with the power of the iOS SDK and Mac Catalyst lets you express your creativity and skills in an entirely new way, create lessons that teach coding concepts, and employ fun, new approaches to content.

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