Traditionally, programming for the iOS has been difficult, to say the least. One of the chief hurdles for new programmers was trying to break into the complex coding languages Apple supported. On top of this, running code and seeing if your labor bore fruit was time consuming and required a strong knowledge of what you were doing. This is where Swift comes in. Swift is the first simplistic coding language for the iOS, designed for beginning coders and for those familiar with Objective-C, which you may notice a lot of similarities.
Coding is involved, but it shouldn’t be hard. Swift makes it easy for anyone to break into the fun and incredible world of app programming, and makes development for an iOS platform a reality for anyone with an interest in coding.
Swift is very similar to Objective-C’s structure and flow. It’s an industrial level programming language that allows for sandbox play, which means you don’t have to have a built app environment to test out your code. The variables are easy to work with, and the shortcuts make sense and are familiar for those that have a coding background. Imagine a simplified version of the best parts of Objective-C, and you’ll have a rough idea of what Swift can do.
Let’s take a look at some of the programming basics of Swift to see why developers are raving about this simple and effective language.
Variables and constants are easy to declare in Swift. All variables are defined by the var command, while constants are defined by the let command. For example:
Let maxnumberofusers = 5
Var users = 1
In this example, the maxnumofusers will be set at 5, while the current value of users will be placed at 1. This seems straight forward enough, but here’s the thing; did you notice that there were no semi colons at the end of those lines? In Swift, you don’t have to establish line breaks. The language assumes each line is its own piece of code and acts accordingly. This means that moving sections of code around and using cheat sheets for standard commands is extremely easy to do in Swift.
String variables are also easy to do, and only require one line of code. Strings are universal in coding languages, as they can hold virtually anything you want them to.
Var students: string
In this example, we are establishing that the variable students is a string variable, and can hold numbers, letters, or anything else we can think of.
Comments should feel familiar if you have a coding background. Comments are lines of code that allow programmers to talk to anyone reading through the available code, and like in many languages, in Swift, they are defined by two forward slashes. For example:
//this is a line of comment code
This line would not run as actual code. Instead, it would appear as a note, or comment for the reader of the code lines.
An integer is a whole number, and they are recognized as a type of variable in Swift. You can have signed integers (positive, zero, and negative) as well as unsigned (positive and zero). They can also be stored in 8, 16,32, and 64 bit formats. This can be important, depending on your needs. The fact that you can do this easily in Swift is another simplistic short cut that makes programming easy and fun.
In the following example:
Let numofusers = uint8
Numofusers is a variable, and uint8 means it’s an unsigned integer that has the value 8. If you wanted a signed integer, you would write it as int8.
You can also use simplistic commands such as min and max in conjunction with integers. This makes simple math, as well as working with ranges, easy to do.
Collections are a grouping feature in Swift that allow you to lump similar types of things together, such as strings or integers. They also help you to weed out or block the insertion of anything that does not fit into the Collection type. In Swift, Collections can be handy if you’re trying to keep different variable groups segregated.
You can also do Arrays, which like collections, work with a set group of variables. Arrays let you automatically group variables of a like type in lists.
Loops in Swift are easy to accomplish. A loop is a way to take one line or set command, and make it occur a given number of times. The number might be preset, or it might depend on a value held by a variable. For instance, you might enter the number 8 into a command line. As a result, the command might only run 8 times. Loops are great if you need a repetitive task done, but aren’t sure what all you will need to do to see it through.
Like all programming languages, Swift allows for conditional, or IF statements. Conditional statements are essential to coding languages, and in Swift, you can accomplish a conditional as quickly as typing one line of code. This not only cuts down on programming time, but it also makes your IF statements easy to find and troubleshoot.
There is so much to learn about Swift, but the nice thing is, you always have free resources available to you. Apple has put out lots of free guides you can download online to help you get started. Not only that, but they provide you with numerous examples of good code to use, as well as explanations as to why things wouldn’t work in certain situations. You also have some great YouTube tutorials like found here, which available to help you get started in your coding.
Swift has done what coding languages have promised for years; it has made it so that anyone can code. If you’ve always wanted to get into app programming but never felt like you were ready, now is the time.