Learning Swift Development for Apple Watch

With the impending release of the Apple Watch in the next few months, there will be a new market for apps that use the hardware. I plan to document my learning progress in this blog post.

Swift, the new programming language for
Apple Products
Being entirely new to iOS development, I plan to start with Swift instead of Objective-C because the newer language seems smarter and easier to learn. Swift Tutorial: A Quick Start by Ray Wenderlich and continue with the subsequent tutorials which demonstrate how to make a tip calculator for iOS and so on.

Ray's blog tutorial series is wonderfully thorough; it is replete with screenshots and has great notes and comments in the code that explain how Swift functions. Although many of the notes address Objective-C developers, most of the notes are helpful even for a complete n00b like me. At several milestones, he even provides down to the project at that stage in the development process which is a great feature for anyone that wants to move quickly or can't fix a bug.

This will be my first attempt at mobile development. Primarily, I have worked with web and server frameworks like Python, HTML, JavaScript, and even a little Arduino. My hope is that Swift is easy enough to understand that a web developer like me can develop interesting apps without much pain.

I start the tutorial and I learned that Swift Playgrounds are a perfect crossover for a Python developer. I have often used IPython Notebooks to experiment with new Python code and Playgrounds similarly show results of the code to the right of each line (see below).

As I wrap up the first tutorial and jump into the second, the tip calculator for iOS,  I realize that Xcode is enormously capable; it's a 2 ton beast dressed like a savvy hipster. There are visual storyboards, drag-and-dropable objects, great code editors and much more. As excited as I am to learn more about Swift and iOS, I am equally excited to dive deeper into Xcode. Admittedly, it's overkill for many projects unrelated to iOS or Mac apps but I feel bad for ignoring it all these years.

As I finished the tip calculator and view the app in the simulator, I became fascinated with the possibilities of swift, Xcode, iOS, and, what I hopefully will write about next, Apple's WatchKit.

Comment and let me know how you feel about Swift, Ray's tutorial, or even Apple Watch. Thanks for reading.


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