Apple’s Swift Playgrounds 4 lets programmers submit apps to the app store

Screenshot of Swift Playgrounds 4

Swift Playgrounds 4 teaches programming by having coders command a character called Byte to do things like move and collect gems.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland / CNET

Apple on Wednesday released a major new version of Swift Playgrounds, their iPad and Mac app designed to teach kids their Swift programming language, which now lets budding coders submit their projects to Apple’s app store.

Swift Playgrounds introduces programming by having coders control a character named Byte. Programmers learn basics like commands, variables, loops, and if-so-so operations. The code they enter is instantly reflected on a panel on the screen so they can instantly see what their changes are accomplishing.

Swift Playgrounds introductory lesson – updated to Swift Playgrounds 4 – expands to more challenging, elaborate tutorials. The new version also offers a wider set of detailed “review” demo apps that students can review and copy to see how everything works.

You may not think that programming is a necessary ability – yes, one point in Apple products is actually to make digital technology useful, even if you do not have a degree in computer science. But the creativity and logical thinking it promotes are certainly useful in schools and work, and programming is an important career opportunity.

Apple first released Swift Playgrounds five years ago as an iPad app and added a Mac incarnation with the latest version 3. Version 4 modernizes the tool significantly, starting with the iPad version. In addition to being able to submit apps to the app store, Swift Playgrounds also supports Apple’s SwiftUI technology, a framework of user interface elements introduced in 2019 that helps bridge the gap between iPad, iPhone and Mac.

Being able to submit apps to Apple’s app store does not guarantee that the world will be able to try them. This is because Apple’s usual app store review process applies. So do not expect your “hello world” experimental app to show up.

And to submit apps, programmers must have an Apple Developer Account, which costs $ 99 a year. However, Apple does offer free accounts for schools.

Apple’s programming language Swift is one of a new generation of languages ​​such as Rust from Firefox maker Mozilla (now run by the Independent Rust Fund) and Go from Google designed to make programmers more productive. These new languages ​​are designed to do things like increase performance, avoid security issues, and take more advantage of hardware features like multicore processors that were not common decades ago.

Swift Playgrounds also serve Apple’s business interests, training people to become tomorrow’s software developers and teaching them to use Apple’s tools. Swift Playgrounds apps can be sent to Xcode, Apple’s professional software development tool.

Although Swift quickly caught on, its predecessor, Objective-C, remains widespread, according to the periodically updated chart of programming language popularity from analyst firm RedMonk.

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