Apple is capitalizing on the popularity of the Swift programming language, which is being used by over 100,000 apps and is the most popular language project on GitHub, by making it easier for younger users to pick up. Swift Playgrounds
is an app for iPad that aims to teach younger users and those new to programming the fundamentals of creating Swift code, with the possibility of learning to produce their own apps.
The app is split into two sections covering the basics and more advanced topics. Demonstrated on stage, the initial lessons teach core coding concepts, such as loops and other structures, to complete certain game-like challenges. Rather than typing in the commands, users can select code segments from a menu, and then drag and drop parts of code around before running it, to try and finish the task.
Later lessons will give users more freedom in what they can do, with the use of an on-screen coding keyboard made for the iPad. The demonstration also showed users of the app will be able to take advantage of the iPad hardware, such as the gyroscope, using the sensors as part of an app's control scheme. While the app does teach how to code in Swift, it won't be usable to create full iOS and macOS apps itself, but apps can be exported into Xcode to further develop them.
The Swift Playgrounds app is being introduced in a developer preview today, with a public beta starting next month, and it will ship alongside iOS 10 this fall for free.