Learning to code as a 30-year-old kid with Apple’s Swift Playgrounds

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If you’ve installed the iOS 10 public beta since it came out last week, you’ll know that compatible iPads come loaded with the “Swift Playgrounds” app that Apple announced at WWDC.

The app is Apple’s first crack at anything that even resembles an iOS-native development environment—iPad hardware is now fast enough (and Swift is now stable and mature enough) to make such a tool palatable. But while Swift Playgrounds uses and executes actual Swift code, it’s not going to let you make actual apps. Its aim is educational, specifically for younger kids who are familiar with and comfortable around technology but who have never been exposed to coding before.

I played with the app for a few hours, working my way through the first few tutorials in the public beta—I’m a little older than the intended age group, but I still managed to learn a few things. I also spoke with the team at Apple to learn more about their goals and intentions when they designed the app and to learn how it will continue to develop throughout the public beta process up to the release of the iOS 10 Golden Master.

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