(Pocket-lint) - Apple wants to get kids coding as soon as possible, so it's launching a new iPad app to do just that.
The app is called Swift Playgrounds. Swift is Apple's programming language created for iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS, and Apple's Swift Playgrounds app is basically a new environment to teach beginner programmers how to code in Swift. Here's everything you need to know about the app, including how it works and when it'll be available.
Apple Swift Playgrounds: How does it work?
Swift Playgrounds is a free app for iPad. When you first open it, you will see several basic coding lessons and challenges. It's all very reminiscent to Codecademy, but it's much more visually-friendly with loads of graphics and playful features. In fact, with this app, Apple seems to be targeting children. During a demo on stage, we saw examples of games and animations designed to keep young coders motivated.
The app features a special keyboard with specific shortcuts, with the purpose of making it easier to enter code. Swift is open-source, and Apple wants to get people comfortable with it and using it regularly. By providing an app that includes lessons and the ability to do projects, people can approach Swift at an early age and ultimately take steps toward becoming an experienced programmer.
In an on-stage demo, Apple said it wanted the new app to "engage and motivate learners". Children will learn the basics of Swift programming by moving an onscreen character with code, solving puzzles, and achieving goals via a game-like scenario. Commands appear at the bottom, code appears on the left, and a preview is on the right. It's all pretty straightforward, but that's the point - right?
Advanced coding capabilities will also be available in Swift Playgrounds.
Apple Swift Playgrounds: When will it be available?
Swift Playgrounds will ship this autumn (alongside iOS 10). It will be available in the iOS App Store. The free app is already available to test today, however, in developer beta. The public beta will launch in July.
Apple Swift Playgrounds: Want to know more?
Check out Apple's Swift Playgrounds page for more details. You can also see a trailer for the app above.