In so many years of incorrectly making WWDC predictions, I had to get one right eventually! Swift Playgrounds for iOS was unveiled during the keynote and for me it was the most important announcement of this week.

If you haven't had a chance to play with it yet, it's wonderful and I couldn't have hoped for more from this first version. The coding keyboard is fantastic, as are the in-place value editors and the use of gestures to manipulate things like loops. In some ways it's easier to use than playgrounds in Xcode! πŸ˜€

Education is the focus of this release and the included lessons are very well written and fun. They start right at the beginning with no assumption of any programming experience but they quickly become more challenging as you go through the core concepts. The beta doesn't have the full set of lessons, but there's a placeholder for the more advanced content which will be added before the final release.

The important point here that playgrounds on iOS are not just a toy: this is a fully featured Swift environment, which is huge for people who are using it learning to program for the first time. After finishing the lessons, everything you've learned will be directly applicable as you progress beyond the tutorials and into being a developer.

Of course, there's still going to be a gap between the end of any tutorial content that Apple provide, and sitting down with a blank playground to start to build something new. The great news here is that there's plenty of scope for all of us to create amazing playground content too with the playground books format. In a future version, it'd also be great to see some kind of "Playgrounds Store" directly inside the app to make third party content available to users.

I've already written too many words here and haven't even covered the iOS/macOS/tvOS/watchOS announcements, or the fact that Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi appeared on The Talk Show, or the fact that Apple have made significant enhancements to accessibility with the new platforms. It's been an amazing week, as always and we'll spend many more issues before September talking about all of the other changes!

Dave Verwer  





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