In 2014, Apple introduced Swift, a complete new programming language for OS X and iOS. It was promoted as a safe and fast language, and the promotions have paid off. Swift has grown rapidly just as it becomes two years old, and has turned out to be one of the most popular modern programming languages today.
At WWDC 2015, the next iteration of the language was launched: Swift 2. The launch coincided with the introduction of Apple’s latest-generation iOS, the iOS 9, and for good reason. Swift 2 and iOS 9 are very closely linked, and mastery in these two are among the most sought-after skillsets in the developer world.
This course offers the perfect stepping stone to those looking to learn Swift enhancement in iOS 9. It introduces you to the changes in Swift 2, and there are many. Once you complete this course, you will be able to better understand and appreciate the strengths and challenges of this language, and work on your skills with the language over time.
But why learn Swift 2 in the first place? Apart from the fact that Swift developers are in huge demand with big pay packages on offer, there is also the fact that Swift 2 has become open source as of December 2015.
Open source generally means that the source code of a programming language or program itself is available for the general public to modify, view, learn, inspect or use, as and when they want. In practice, it allows developers to utilize Swift to build applications to deploy on operating systems beyond just Apple, making full use of the incredible language.
With Swift 2 being open source, the language is now open to be used on other systems, particularly Linux systems since both Linux and Apple’s OS X share a similar Unix-like structure at their base. In theory, you may even see Swift used on Windows systems over time. Developers also believe that the language could run on smaller test computers like the Raspberry Pi.
Does that mean that you would be able to apply your Swift 2 skills from this course to create Android apps? Well, not really. Although you will be able to use the language on other devices, you will likely not be able to see or create iOS or OS X software running on Android or Windows systems. The open source nature of Swift 2 does make it easier now to port software between devices, but developers fully and rightfully expect Apple to continue retaining control of its Software Development Kit (SDK). It’s also not entirely clear how much and what parts of Swift are truly made open source by Apple, since it is very likely that Apple will continue to hold onto some of the key source code for Xcode. Because of this, your focus will still be on developing iOS and OS X software on a Mac, although that does not make this language or the course any less lucrative.
Despite Apple’s famous, and sometimes infamous, privacy and protectiveness of its creations, it is no stranger to the benefits and merits of the open source. Its OS X is built on the open-source UNIX platform, and many of its software components are open source. According to Apple itself, the open source nature of its Mac OS X makes it all more secure and robust as an operating system.
New features in Swift 2
With the major change out of the way, let’s swiftly look at the other new additions made to Swift 2:
- A better error-handling model: The first versions of Swift severely lacked a good error handling model. Now, Swift 2 comes with new routines to manage, catch and throw errors. With this model, you can find, isolate and deal with errors like network timeouts or missing files more quickly and effectively.
- Improvements in Syntax: Swift 2 has some changes and features in its syntax that allows you to be more expressive with your code. According to Apple, these changes will improve language consistency.
- Greater availability: With the new SDKs, you can get access to news about platform changes and to new features. You can also compile from older operating systems, and the compiler triggers an error if you use an API too new. You could also use #available blocks to wrap code for it to run only on the appropriate OS.
- Extensions to protocol: The new Swift 2 comes with protocol extensions to help you reuse more code. You can add properties and methods to any class conforming to a certain protocol.
- Updated Objective-C: Apple has updated this language, which predates Swift, and added new features so that it works better together with Swift. The new features in Objective-C include nullability annotation, generics and the ‘kind-of’ object.
What is Swift 2 like to use?
Swift is essentially designed to ease the development process for iOS and Mac OS X devices. It augments and, in many ways, replaces Apple’s current programming language, Objective-C. it is a programming language for the programming frameworks of iOS and Mac OS X: Cocoa Touch and Cocoa. Programs are made using the latest version of the integrated development environment (IDE) from Apple: Xcode 6.
Despite its relativeness newness to Objective-C, which was developed way back in the 1980s, it is designed to work and operate alongside Objective-C programs. As such, developers can use Swift to augment existing apps without the need to replace the older code entirely.
Swift over Objective-C
Apple has already highlighted several reasons why Swift has benefits over its predecessor, Objective-C. Here are some of the key advantages:
- Swift has a cleaner syntax
Swift is designed to be easier to code and read as a programming language. It does not require semicolons to end each line, and its functions are easier to grasp. For instance, if you are familiar with Objective-C or Basic, you may be aware that the Print command is NSLOG in the language. Swift, however, has a more intuitive command ‘printIn’. You need fewer symbols too.
- Memory managed
Another major advantage for developers when they use Swift is that they do not need to manage the memory allocation. In Swift, the variables are initialized even before use, memory is managed automatically and integers checked if they overflow. Because of this, Swift is a much friendlier programing language for those who are not very experienced. The automatic memory management makes apps more reliable, benefiting non-developers too.
With an introduction to Swift 2 and iOS 9 development complete, let’s look at the contents of this course:
Section 1: Basics of Swift 2 in Playground
We jump right into the meat of things by covering the basics of the programing language you will use the most from now: Swift 2. We explore the basics and perform some simple activities with the knowledge gained over the section.
Section 2: Simple program in Playground, Command Line tool and Swift 2
With the basics complete, we now move onto the core of your Swift 2 training: Playground and the Command Line tool. The Playground is an interactive environment where you will get to write code and simultaneously evaluate it. We also learn how to code with Swift from the Command Line.
Section 3: Arrays, Objects and Classes in Swift 2
Now, we move to the building blocks of Swift programs: arrays, objects and classes. Mastery over these elements will help you make the most out of the language.
Section 4: Simple app in Swift 2
Now that you know the basics, tools, and building blocks for programing with Swift 2, it’s time to put that knowledge to the test. This section is all about designing, developing and troubleshooting the app. Follow along and test your skills!
Section 5: WatchOS 2 in iOS 9
Here, we get introduced to WatchOS 2, launched along with Swift 2 and the latest version of software running on the Apple Watch. If you want to be part of the smartwatch evolution, this is definitely a section you want to pay attention to!
Are you piqued enough to join this course for Swift enhancement in iOS 9 training? Before you join the course, here are some of the prerequisites that would help you make the most of the course:
- You should be well-versed with Apple’s older and still-relevant Objective-C language, since it ties things together in Swift
- You should be well-versed in Xcode, Apple’s IDE that offers everything needed to develop applications for Mac OS X and iOS platforms
- You must know some of the basics of Swift, though not necessary Swift 2
- You should have an computer with internet connectivity and the required power and space to run the programming tools
TARGET AUDIENCE FOR THIS TRAINING
Given the specialized nature of this course it is focused on a target audience that includes:
- Students who want to learn how to code and learn about Swift enhancement in iOS 9
- Professionals who want to learn to code using Swift 2 and learn about Swift enhancement in iOS 9
- Anyone looking to introduce themselves to the new features of iOS 9, from a developer’s point of view
FAQs – GENERAL QUESTIONS
- Is this course for me?
To put simply, this course is not for anyone. You need to have a certain skillset to be able to follow what is going on in each section, since it does not go right into the basics of programming in general. In particular, you need to have some knowledge about Swift, Objective-C and Xcode to follow the course. If you have these skills already, you will find the course much easier to understand and full realize its potential. If you are new to programming entirely, we recommend that you start off with something simpler, and we have such courses available too!
- Is there a particular order to follow?
Given the specialized nature of the course, it is recommended that you go through the entire course from the first to fifth section. The sections are somewhat self-contained, but watching only certain sections or following them out of order are only beneficial if you are already familiar with Swift 2 and the Swift enhancements in iOS 9, or if you are simply looking to gain some theoretical knowledge about the enhancements to strengthen your existing skills. For everyone else, follow the order of the course and you will be able to gain a lot more.
- Where would I apply this?
This course opens you up to the new world of Apple iOS and Mac OS X development, and Apple Watch application development. All of these are, of course, highly in demand in the current market. With the knowledge from this course, you can build your skills and sharpen them, and those skills can take you to higher places, given the demand for developers. This is very lucrative sector to work in, especially with the rapid growth of smartwatches.
I have been a developer for around two years now, and only recently began exploring iOS developing using Objective-C and Swift. Before I knew it, Apple had launched a bunch of new things in 2015 and I was completely out of the loop. Some enquiries made me realize that those launches were a big deal in the developer world. I took this course to educate myself, and not only did I do that, but I also pulled off creating my own app with Swift 2!
With over 15 years of experience in the programming industry, I have pretty much seen it all. I was also aware that I need to keep up with the fast-changing developer world, which is why I went for this course. It seemed simple and no-fuss, to me. Although I skipped and didn’t bother about the practical bits since I’m not an active programmer, the course did give me insight into the improvements that Apple has made. It’s helped me manage my team a lot better, and opened up new avenues to improve myself and my firm.
I am what you would call a self-trained programmer. I do it for fun, really. I got my first iPhone a few years ago and ever since then I’ve also been interested in developing iOS apps. It is much harder than I thought, especially with the older language. Going through this course helped sharpen my skills and also made me utilize the much easier and more accessible Swift 2! Looks like I’ll be really busy working on some new apps!
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