It was a developers conference, after all, so during Monday’s WWDC 2016 keynote, Apple CEO called special attention to Swift Playgrounds, a free new app for beginners who want to create iOS apps using Swift, Apple’s programming language.
Swift Playgrounds features lessons to help beginners learn coding concepts such as creating functions, issuing commands, loops, and more. Apple will release new challenges, so coders can continue to learn new skills as they progress. Apple says that teachers can use Xcode to create their own content for Swift Playgrounds.
The interactive, intuitive interface has support for Apple’s Multi-Touch iPad interface. It has a coding keyboard with a shortcuts bar, and you can swipe across a key to type Swift-specific characters. There’s also a pop-over keypad for numbers, a color picker, and more. To implement code from the library, you can drag and drop.
Swift Playgrounds is an environment for coders to learn how to make iOS apps. However, you don’t actually build apps within Swift Playgrounds. Any code created in Swift Playground can be exported and then brought into Xcode, where the code can be used to make an actual iOS app.
Developers can get Swift Playgrounds as part of the iOS 10 developer preview. Apple will release a public beta in July, and a final version will ship in the fall.