iOS Swift and Swift

Best Way to Learn Swift

Posted in iOS Swift, Swift
Best Way to Learn Swift

What is Swift?

Swift is a general-purpose programming language. Apple developed it for the “i” gadgets – iPod, iOS, macOS, etc. as well as Linux. It is a compiled language, designed to work with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks. Swift uses the Objective-C runtime library that allows Swift, C, C++, and Objective C code to run within a single program. Source - Wikipedia

Is Swift Difficult to Learn?

Well, Apple does claim that Swift is easy to learn, and it is so compared to many other languages. Swift is only as difficult as any programming language if you do not have any prior programming experience. If you can pick up the basic concepts of programming language, Swift should be reasonably easy to learn – it is vast and complex, but not impossible to learn. You will need practice and experience as with any other language. You can think of learning Swift to be on par with languages like C++ or Scala.

Why Should you Learn Swift?

There are plenty of reasons for learning Swift. For one, it is easy and useful for the development of mobile apps. It is a versatile language.

Swift was developed as a part of the initiative “Everyone can code,” – which means that the language is simple enough for everyone to start coding.

As we already know, iPhones, iPad, etc. are the best selling devices across the world and what better than developing apps for iPhone. If you know Swift, you can quickly develop apps, using built-in intuitive tools.

Swift is open-source and has excellent community support. Since Swift is relatively new, there is a lot of scope for innovation and collaboration – even you can contribute!

Most importantly – there is a huge demand for Swift developers, and the average salary of a Swift developer can be as high as $85,000 per annum!

How Much Time Does it Take to Learn Swift?

Learning pace varies from person to person.

If you have absolutely no programming experience, take your own time to get familiarized with the coding jargon and essential concepts for learning any programming language. For example, OOP, build, deployment, compilation, etc. While you can speed-up your learning with some good tutorials and books, if you plan to learn on your own, that will add up to your time. As an average learner, you will be able to write simple Swift code in about 3-4 weeks, if you do have some programming experience.

If you are a fresher, I would suggest you start with some good tutorials online – both free and paid. You would need a laptop and the necessary software for practice.

Is it Possible to Learn Swift Without an Apple Computer?

Although there are workarounds to learn Swift without an Apple computer – like using a virtual machine with OSX or Hackintosh, you can get a cheap one for resale and use that to practice, because the main aim of learning Swift is to develop apps on the ‘i’ platforms! You can buy a refurbished Mac mini – that will save you loads of time, and you can focus on learning Swift rather than doing hacks fixing your computer. But if you want to take the longer route – go for the virtual box or Hackintosh.

How to Learn Swift?

There is no shortcut to learning anything. If you are a programmer with a few years of experience, you can follow basic tutorials and videos on Youtube. You can also check Swift’s official website for documentation and support. Whatever path you follow, the key is to practice along with the online and offline materials.

If you do not possess any previous programming experience, you should start with the official documentation and samples provided by them, along with basic tutorials on the web. Alongside that, try this nice and easy-to-follow basic books to start your learning.

As a beginner, be active in online communities like Stackoverflow and official Swift public forum.

If you already have programming experience with Swift, these advanced courses can surely help.

If you have an iPad or iTunes, you can check out the course about developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift.

A few more resources that will guide you in your Swift journey are :

Nice Books

Books are a great way to complement your learning along with other online resources. At this time of COVID, you can get a kindle version or physical copy, whichever is available; however, that shouldn’t stop you from learning. Some helpful books you can keep for reading are as below:

  1. Programming fundamentals with Swift
  2. Swift for beginners
  3. Mastering Swift 5

Blogs

Blogs are a great way to read necessary information and some specific topics related to the main subject. The official Swift website provides a lot of useful blogs and updates on various topics. Other than that, you should look at the blog feedspot to see the most popular blogs on Swift programming language. NSHipster is one of the most popular blog sites for Swift and has some excellent tips and bits about Swift, Objective-C, and Cocoa. It is a weekly journal, and you will benefit from it even if you are a beginner. Same way, useyourloaf is another blog site that is very rich in content and much useful for beginners.

Courses

When it comes to courses and tutorials, you need not worry at all. There are plenty of them!

Wait! What?

So, how can you choose the one suitable for you?

Well, we at hackr have sorted the best courses from various resources in one place along with details and ranking of each course. For example, you will know which is a paid course, which course is for beginners and so on. Check out some of the best iOS Swift courses from our website page.

Video tutorials

Okay, this is a long video, but worth it. If you are a total beginner, you should watch this video as a starting point:

Basics of Swift

So, enough of talking and references now. Why not start learning Swift right now?

To practice Swift, you need to have a local setup. You need the Xcode software to run on the Playground platform. Download Swift from the Apple website. You must have a valid account and only after you log in; you can download the dmg file. After downloading, just do the installations as per instructions.

Now that you have your Xcode, you can just choose the playground, mention the iOS version and name of the playground – you should be good to go!

Let us first understand the basic syntax. You should import Cocoa if you are running the program on OS X playground; however, for iOS playground, you should use import UIKit.

If you are familiar with languages like Java or JavaScript, you should be able to get the hang of Swift through this simple code:

/* This program will print your name */
var myName = “TypeYourName”
print(myName)

A few things about this simple snippet:

  • There is no need for a semicolon after each line; however, if you do put it, the compiler won’t get angry at you.
  • Swift supports multi-line comments through /**/ and single-line comments through //
  • Note the naming convention; the word starts with a small letter; however, a second word in the same variable name begins with a capital letter - myName
  • You don’t have to declare the type of variable – just var is fine!

Great! See how much you could learn from just two lines of code! Let us learn a little more about variables and syntax:

We learned above that just giving ‘var’ is fine; however, the compiler is very accommodating even if you do give the type:

var a: Int = 10

Constants are declared using let

let cons = 3.14

It is easy to perform typecasting:

var a: Int = 20
var b: Float = 10.33
print(“Float to Int: Int(b)”)
print(“Int to Float: Float(a)”)

Just like any other programming language, Swift supports operators like arithmetic, logical, assignment, bitwise, and others. For example,

print(“(10+10)”) 

will give the output as 20.

Conditional statements are used in Swift to make a decision if a condition is satisfied.

if varx < 5{
print(“varx is less than five”)
} else if varx > 20 && varx < 45 {
print(“varx is between 21 and 44”)
}else {
print(“varx is greater than 44”)
}

A simple for loop looks like:

for j in 1…5{
print(“the value of j is (j)”)
}

While and do-while are also present in Swift and have a syntax similar to Java.

Other than this, Swift also supports Arrays and Tuples, Sets, dictionaries, structures, enumerations, closures, and functions. Swift also supports OOP, and you can add classes and methods of your own. You can define a class as :

class Student{
var marks: Int
var name: String
}

You should access the class objects as :

let studdetails = Student()

You can define class constructors using the init() method, for example,

Init(marks: Float){
varMarks = marks
}

With this basic knowledge, try to replicate our basic Swift sample project to get started!

Conclusion

In this article, we have given you ample resources to get started with Swift and a few resources to go to advanced learning as well. To be frank, Swift is a smart move from Apple to motivate iOS developers to develop more apps trying to leave Android behind. Objective-C wasn’t such a great language after all, and Swift is a significant improvement over it. Swift is relatively new and has many useful functions and a lot of scope for innovation and new additions. It is one of the top languages to be learned in the market and can fetch you a job with a fat pay!

Which is your best way to learn any new programming language? Share with us.

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Ramya Shankar

Ramya Shankar

A cheerful, full of life and vibrant person, I hold a lot of dreams that I want to fulfill on my own. My passion for writing started with small diary entries and travel blogs, after which I have moved on to writing well-researched technical content. I find it fascinating to blend thoughts and research and shape them into something beautiful through my writing. View all posts by the Author

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