Want to learn Swift? Here, we bring you 10 online developer resources to help you learn Swift 3.
Apple's Swift is described as a new language that "lets everyone build amazing apps." Now, that may be true, but don't expect to dive into Swift coding today and write the next Candy Crush tomorrow. As with any language, spoken or coded, learning it takes both time and effort.
Help is at hand, though, with free and commercial resources covering the language in depth. Whatever your ability, you'll find plenty here to advance your skills.
Swift 3.0 Preview 1 is available to download now here, but it isn't source compatible with Swift 2.2 just yet due to some pretty huge changes to the programming language.
You can download Swift 3 along with the Xcode 8 beta and start learning the new language straight away. But most of the online tutorials are written using Swift 2, and Xcode 7 (available on the App Store). While Xcode 8 is in beta, courses will be being updated for Xcode 8 - so it might be best to stick wtih Xcode 7 and Swift 2 until the official release. Either way, be careful to check which version of Swift and Xcode your training materials are using.
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Getting started with Apple's Swift development language
Start at the source with Apple's dedicated Swift documentation. This has already been updated for Xcode 8 + Swift, and you should bookmark this page as a matter of course. You don't need a Developer account to access the files or to download Xcode from the Mac App Store, so you can get started right away.
The Developer documentation includes sample code, links to reference material and, most useful for anyone switching from another language, videos from the Swift 3.0 update at 2016's Worldwide Developers' Conference.
Apple’s official documentation should always be your first stop when learning anything new about the platform, its apps or the way that either operates under the hood.
Best Swift programming language books
Put your commute to good use by working your way though the Swift Programming Language book from the iBooks Store. There are two versions available, for Swift 2.2 and the Swift 3 beta.
It starts out that the most basic level, with every language course’s traditional ‘Hello, World’ jumping off point, before going on to explain the fundamentals like variables, arrays and conditions.
The opening tour will be enough for programmers with some existing experience elsewhere to familiarise themselves with the language, while the sections that follow go into more depth to give you all the mental tools you need to build your own apps. It’s packed with properly colour-hinted code, the index is comprehensive and the final third is an end to end examination of the language grammar. Combined, they make up a first class ongoing reference tool.
Put your downtime to good use by keeping a copy of the free Swift Programming Language Book on your iPad or iPhone.
Learn Swift on Udemy
Rob Percival is a Maths graduate from Cambridge University who describes himself as ‘a bit of a coding geek’ and whose webdev course was the most popular and reviewed course ever on Udemy. His Complete iOS 9 Developer Course on the same site looks like it’s heading the same way. More than 80,000 students have enrolled on it at the point of writing, and with 4,908 reviews it’s clocked up an average score of 4.7/5.
Its 210 lectures most of which are videos and a few of which are text based, teach you how to program while walking you through the process of building 18 real world apps including clones of Instagram and Snapchat. If you run at the recommended pace you’ll complete the 30 hour course in six weeks, and also benefit from a year’s web hosting, an ebook showing you how to earn while learning to code, and 1000 graphical assets to use in your applications. No prior knowledge or experience is expected or required.
Udemy courses are charged for, but we're told they're worth the money. This one costs £172 at the time of writing.
There are other courses on Udemy worth checking out too if you're looking to learn Swift:
Learn Apple's Swift programming language quickly
If you need to get started with Swift as quickly as you can, check out lynda.com’s Learn Swift 2: The Basics course.
Since being published in February, it's clocked up close to 4,500 viewers and focuses on the elements of the language that you'll use most often. That means it's concise and to the point, running to just three hours.
Lynda.com charges between £14.95 a month and £229 a year depending on the level of service you want, and once you’ve paid you can access all of its courses, whatever the subject, alongside this series of Swift lessons. If you’re not sure whether you'd suit this kind of tutoring, try out a free preview account first.
Learn Swift on a budget
If the lynda.com and Udemy courses are too expensive, check out Tutsplus where you can buy its 3.5-hour course The Swift Programming Language for just $9 (£3.12) - less than a couple of extra-large lattes.
It's broken down into 27 videos in five main areas covering an introduction, language constructs, object oriented programming, built-in types and a conclusion. The individual lessons are short enough to watch on a bus journey or between appointments, typically ranging from two to 13 minutes.
Tutsplus offers a short course in Swift programming for less than £10. If you’re not sure whether it’s the right language for you, this is a cost effective and low risk way to find out.
If all of this solo study is sending you stir crazy, sign up to a programming podcast. iDeveloper focuses entirely on iOS and OS X (now macOS) development, discussing tools and techniques, and offering tips and advice. If you're serious about making some money from your work, it also concerns itself with the business side of selling your apps.
The back catalogue runs to 144 episodes, the oldest of which appeared in October 2010, but if you're only interested in programmes broadcast since the dawn of the Swift era you'll only need to wind back to June 2014 and its discussion of Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference.
The content is chatty and engaging, but can get technical at times, so if you find it going above your head, hang in there and assimilate as much as you can - at least you'll be getting familiar with terms and phrases used within the realm of programming.
You can preview individual episodes and read a synopsis of each one at the podcast homepage.
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Learn Swift at iTunes U
Subscribe to the University of Plymouth's Swift programming course through iTunes U and Associate Professor Nick Outram will teach you how to use the language in a series of practical videos that, rather than working through each function in turn, introduce them organically as they arise in the process of building real applications.
The lessons are fairly short and they're rarely presented as formal lectures, which helps to keep them engaging. Supporting written material is provided in the form of ebooks, and you can download the code used in the course from a Github repository linked through the course description on the iTunes Store.
There are also some great online videos from universities like Stanford, MIT and Harvard. Check out Stanford's Developing iOS 9 apps with Swift course in iTunes U. Watching these is a great way to get an overview of general development
iTunes U has a range of excellent Swift programming courses, including this one from the University of Portsmouth.