August 20, 2014 How I Started Learning Swift

Since we kicked off our "Learn Swift" series yesterday I thought I would chronicle how I went about getting started with Swift. Hopefully it will benefit new members participating in our Swift challenges.

In July, we decided to launch our Swift series and I was tasked with learning Swift (hurrah!!!), putting together the Swift site and designing the Swift challenges and running them. A tall order in less than a month.

You can find the links to the sites below and more on our Swift Resource page.

The first thing I did was watch the Introduction to Swift and Intermediate Swift videos from WWDC 2014. You can find them and more on the Apple Swift Resources page. FYI, you'll need to be running Safari to watch these.

I kept hearing about this "Playground" thing all the time so I watched the Swift Playground video and everything became much clearer to me. I absolutely love Playgrounds! It's essentially the "Arnold Schwarzenegger of REPLs" and I spend most of my time experimenting with code there. I have one open on my desktop constantly and copy and paste snippet of code into it for quick execution.

At WWDC last June, Apple released the Swift Programming Language Book on iBooks so definitely download a copy of it. It's free and contains a wealth of information on the language. It's a great reference guide and I find myself opening it up multiple times a day.

After that I highly recommend going through the Swift Tour. It walks you through the language and provides you with code you can copy and paste into Playground to see how it functions. There's also an accompanying Language Guide split up by topics.

Here are some of the resources that I visited religiously:

  1. Skip Wilson's Swift Channel – There's a ton of awesome content on Skip's channel. I think I spent an entire Sunday afternoon going through all of his videos.

  2. Nick Hanan's CodingExplorer Blog – Nick has a great blog where he does deep-dives on a number of Swift topics such as Strings, Protocols, Generics (my favorite post), Optionals and much, much more. He seems to release new posts a couple of times a week. I would recommend following Nick on Google+.

  3. Jameson Quave – Jameson has some really good stuff as well (his JSON parsing post helped me out quite a bit) and is releasing a book soon. Definitely a worthwile purchase. He has a forum that I browse frequently as well.

  4. David Owens – David has some great articles, especially on JSON parsing. He seems to post a couple of times a week. Really good, indepth content.

  5. Learning Swift – Darren James Harkness just started his blog but I really like his articles so far. Definitely worth browsing.

  6. design+code – This is a beautiful site with a book and video series companion on how to build iOS apps. I bought the book and have really enjoyed it (and the videos) so far.

Since I don't have much Objective-C experience (I've mostly done Android and PhoneGap) my biggest issue was getting around and using Xcode. It's long at 3.5 hours but I watched the Swift Workshop: Build an app from scratch video which really helped a lot. There's also Introduction to Swift for Non-Programmers (free), Learn Swift Programming to Make iOS Apps ($39) and This Is How You Make iPhone Apps(free) at Udemy.

If you have an recommended resources, go ahead and send them to me or post them to our general Swift forums. Good luck and have fun learning Swift!


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