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Apple’s Swift Playgrounds 4 Lets Programmers Submit Apps to the App Store

Swift Playgrounds 4 teaches programming by letting coders command a character called Byte to do things like move around and collect gems.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland / CNET

Apple on Wednesday released a major new version of Swift Playgrounds, its iPad and Mac app designed for teach kids its Swift programming language, which now allows budding coders to submit their projects to the Apple App Store.

Swift Playgrounds introduces programming by letting coders control a character named Byte. Programmers learn the basics like commands, variables, loops, and if-this-then-that operations. The code they type is immediately reflected on an on-screen panel, allowing them to immediately see what their changes are accomplishing.

The introductory lesson in Swift Playgrounds – updated for Swift Playgrounds 4 – extends to more complex and elaborate tutorials. The new version also offers a wider set of detailed demo applications for students to review and copy to see how everything works.

You might not think that programming is a necessary skill – indeed, one of the points of Apple products is to make digital technology useful even if you don’t have a computer science degree. But the creativity and logical thinking skills it fosters certainly come in handy in school and work, and programming is an important career option.

Apple first launched Swift Playgrounds five years ago as an iPad app, adding a Mac incarnation with the most recent version 3. Version 4 significantly modernizes the tool, starting with the iPad version. In addition to being able to submit apps to the App Store, Swift Playgrounds also supports Apple’s SwiftUI technology, a framework of UI elements introduced in 2019 that helps bridge the gap between iPad, iPhone, and Mac. .

Being able to submit apps to the Apple App Store does not guarantee that the world will be able to try them. This is because the usual Apple App Store review process applies. So don’t expect your experimental “hello world” application to appear.

And to submit apps, programmers will need an Apple Developer Account, which costs $ 99 per year. Apple does, however, offer free accounts to schools.

Apple’s Swift programming language is part of a new generation of languages ​​like Firefox Mozilla maker rust (now managed by the independent Rust Foundation) and Go from google which are designed to make programmers more productive. These new languages ​​are designed to improve performance, avoid security concerns, and take more advantage of hardware features such as multicore processors that were not common decades ago.

Swift Playgrounds also serves Apple’s business interests, training people to be the software developers of tomorrow and teaching them how to use Apple’s tools. Swift Playgrounds apps can be submitted to Xcode, Apple’s professional software development tool.

Although Swift quickly established itself, its predecessor, Objective-C, remains widely used, according to analyst firm RedMonk’s regularly updated table of programming language popularity.