Get started with Swift 4

Want to learn Ap­ple’s Swift de­vel­op­ment lan­guage? Help is at hand with these handy on­line re­sources. Nik Rawl­in­son re­ports

Macworld - - FEATURE -

Ap­ple’s Swift is billed by the tech gi­ant as a pro­gram­ming lan­guage that “lets every­one build amaz­ing apps”. Now, that may be true, but don’t ex­pect to dive into Swift cod­ing to­day and write the next Candy Crush to­mor­row. As with any lan­guage, spo­ken or coded, learn­ing it takes both time and ef­fort.

Help is at hand, though, with both free and com­mer­cial re­sources avail­able on­line cov­er­ing the

lan­guage in depth. What­ever your abil­ity, you’ll find plenty here to ad­vance your skills.

Be­fore you get started, Swift 4.0.3 is avail­able to down­load at fave.co/2tkLOto, and you can get it along with Xcode 9.2 and start learn­ing the new lan­guage straight away.

You should be care­ful to check which ver­sion of Swift and Xcode your train­ing ma­te­ri­als are us­ing, be­cause there may be some vari­a­tions.

Get­ting started

Then you’ll want to start at the source with Ap­ple’s ded­i­cated Swift doc­u­men­ta­tion (fave.co/2oHZlpY). You don’t need a De­vel­oper ac­count to ac­cess the files or to down­load Xcode from the Mac App Store (fave.co/1OW6T1K), so you can get started.

The De­vel­oper doc­u­men­ta­tion in­cludes sam­ple code, links to the ref­er­ence ma­te­rial and, most use­ful for any­one switch­ing from another lan­guage, videos from the Swift 4.0 up­date at 2017’s World­wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence.

Ap­ple’s iBooks

Put your com­mute to good use by work­ing your way through Ap­ple’s free Swift pro­gram­ming ma­te­ri­als avail­able from the iBooks Store. There you will find books in­clud­ing The Swift Pro­gram­ming Lan­guage, which of­fers a tour of the lan­guage, a de­tails guide to each fea­ture and a for­mal ref­er­ence for the lan­guage.

The Every­one Can Code is avail­able for free there too. Ap­ple has said that the cur­ricu­lum, which is pri­mar­ily de­signed for high school and col­lege stu­dents but is ac­ces­si­ble to all, will teach stu­dents to “code and de­sign fully func­tional apps, gain­ing crit­i­cal job skills in soft­ware de­vel­op­ment and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.”

Try an on­line course Lynda

If you need to get started with Swift as quickly as pos­si­ble, check out Lynda.com’s Swift 4 Es­sen­tial Train­ing at fave.co/2oIoFwg.

There are plenty of other Swift courses avail­able at Lynda.com too, and the dif­fer­ence be­tween this site and Udemy is that, with Udemy you pay to down­load in­di­vid­ual courses, whereas Lynda.com

of­fers a monthly sub­scrip­tion that gives you ac­cess to un­lim­ited courses, so you can try lots of them.

Lynda.com charges be­tween £12.95 a month and £18.95 per month de­pend­ing on the level of ser­vice you want, and once you’ve paid you can ac­cess all of its courses, what­ever the sub­ject, along­side this se­ries of Swift lessons. If you’re not sure whether you’d suit this kind of tu­tor­ing, try out a free pre­view ac­count first.

Tut­splus

If the Lynda courses are too ex­pen­sive, check out Tut­splus (fave.co/2H7E0NL), where you can buy courses for $9 (around £6.50).

Pod­casts

If all of this solo study is send­ing you stir crazy, sign up to a pro­gram­ming pod­cast. iDevel­oper focuses en­tirely on iOS and macOS de­vel­op­ment, dis­cussing tools and tech­niques, and of­fer­ing tips and ad­vice. If you’re se­ri­ous about mak­ing some money from your work, it also con­cerns it­self with the busi­ness side of sell­ing your apps.

The con­tent is chatty and en­gag­ing, but can get tech­ni­cal at times, so if you find it go­ing above your head, hang in there and as­sim­i­late as much as you can – at least you’ll be get­ting fa­mil­iar with terms and phrases used within the realm of pro­gram­ming.

You can pre­view in­di­vid­ual episodes and read a syn­op­sis of each one at the pod­cast home page.

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