Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds
App Store icon for Swift Playgrounds.png
Developer(s)Developer Tools Department
Apple Inc
Initial releasemacOS
June 2, 2014
September 13, 2016
PlatformmacOS, iOS (iPad only)
Available inDutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish
TypeEducation App

Swift Playgrounds (also referred as Playgrounds) is a development environment for Swift created by Apple Inc.

The macOS version of Playgrounds, integrated in Xcode, was announced and released by Apple Inc. in June 2, 2014 during WWDC 2014.[1][2]


Playgrounds provides a testing ground that renders developer code in real time. It has the capability of evaluating and displaying the results of single expressions as they are coded (in line or on a side bar), providing rapid feedback to the programmer. This type of development environment is often referred as REPL (Read–Eval–Print–Loop) and it is useful for learning, experimenting and fast prototyping.[3][4][5] Playgrounds was used by Apple to publish Swift tutorials and guided tours where the REPL advantages are noticeable.[6][7]

Swift Playgrounds for iPad was announced in June 13, 2016 during the WWDC 2016 as an iPad exclusive app to help people learning to code with Swift.[8][9] A version for Apple developers was released on the same date, followed by a public beta version in the following month. The app was presented as a teaching tool for students, introducing the core concepts of coding using an interactive environment designed for touch.[10] The app was released in September 2016.[11] Apple published a Swift Playgrounds curriculum recommending the iPad app for middle school students and up.[12]


Screenshot of Swift Playgrounds. The goal of this exercise is to help Byte collect a gem using a combination of simple commands.

Swift Playgrounds for iPad was designed to be a development environment and an education tool simultaneously.[13] The app allows users to download lessons and challenges. Once stored in the iPad, these can be copied and modified without the need of an active internet connection.

The initial lessons of Swift Playgrounds for iPad introduce three characters: Byte, Blu, Hopper. In each challenge, young coders are asked to assist these characters achieving simple goals by coding simple instructions. As challenges become more difficult, more complex algorithms are required to solve them and new concepts are introduced.[14] Advanced lessons in Playgrounds introduce users to more complex features such as Apple Bluetooth API and Apple Augmented Reality development platform (ARKit).[15]

In January 2018, Apple introduced subscriptions, allowing users to subscribe to third party playgrounds, and content providers to sell them.[16]

Development and release

Playgrounds was developed by the Developer Tools Department at Apple. According to Chris Lattner, the inventor of Swift Programming Language and Senior Director and Architect at the Developer Tools Department, Playgrounds was "heavily influenced by Bret Victor's ideas, by Light Table and by many other interactive systems".[17] Playgrounds was announced by Apple Inc. in June 2, 2014 during WWDC 2014 as part of Xcode 6 and released in September.

The iPad version of the Swift Playgrounds (1.0) was released in September 13, 2016. Chris Lattner was also one of the few core people who drove Swift Playgrounds for iPad, including conception, design, implementation, and iteration.[18] Simultaneously with its release, Apple published guides on the iBookStore to teach users how to navigate and use the application.[9] The launch coincided with a large Silicon Valley campaign to press public schools to teach coding and was followed by Apple's announcement of the "Everyone Can Code" initiative, a program that provides computer science curriculum to help kids learn how to code.[19][20] Swift Playgrounds is included in this program as free coding curriculum and Apple provides detailed guides to walk teachers through teaching Swift.[21] Apple also released "App Development with Swift", a year-long curriculum for teaching Swift software development and later introduced a Swift certification program to validate coding skills for students.[22][23]

In May 2018, Apple announced the extension of "Everyone Can Code" initiative to US schools serving blind and deaf students. In January 2017, Apple partnered with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to provide braille versions of the Swift Playgrounds graphics used in its coding course.[24][25]

Version History

Date Version Description
June 2016 Apple announces Swift Playgrounds for iPad - version for Apple Developers is released
July 2016 Public beta version released
September 2016 1.0 First version is released
March 2017 1.2 Language support for Simplified Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Latin American Spanish;

Support for MapKit framework

June 2017 1.5 Possibility to write code to control robots and drones (Lego Mindstorms EV3, Parrot, Sphero...)[26][27]
September 2017 1.6 Support for ARKit (Augmented Reality)

Support for Swift 4

Access to camera

January 2018 2.0 Subscriptions for third-party playgrounds made available.[16]
May 2019 3.0 Support for Swift 5

Shared Swift files

October 2019 3.1 Support for Swift 5.1

SwiftUI framework included


Upon release, Swift Playgrounds reached the first place in the top free iPad education apps in nearly 100 countries. The app received generally positive reviews from users (4/5 rating score on the App Store) and from the press.[28][19][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][21] The app's ability to make serious coding accessible to young students was praised, as well as the fact that it was not excessively focused on Swift but rather in teaching good coding practices.[36][37] Common Sense Media rates Swift Playgrounds with a 5/5 ranking score.[38]


  1. ^ "Keynote - WWDC 2014 - Videos". Apple Developer. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Apple's new Swift language explained: A clever move to boost iOS, while holding Android apps back - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Swift: Apple's next-generation programming language 4 years in the making". iMore. June 4, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Mayo, Benjamin (June 2, 2014). "Apple announces new Xcode, 'Swift' programming language". 9to5Mac. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "Swift Resources - Apple Developer". developer.apple.com. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "A Swift Tour — The Swift Programming Language (Swift 5)". docs.swift.org. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  7. ^ Swif.org. "A Swift Tour".
  8. ^ "Getting Started with Swift - WWDC 2016 - Videos". Apple Developer. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Mayo, Benjamin (June 13, 2016). "Apple announces Swift Playgrounds for iPad at WWDC, public release in fall". 9to5Mac. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  10. ^ "Swift Playgrounds". App Store. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  11. ^ Mayo, Benjamin (June 13, 2016). "Apple announces Swift Playgrounds for iPad at WWDC, public release in fall". 9to5Mac. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Apple Inc. (September 2017). "Swift Playgrounds Curriculum Guide" (PDF). Apple - Everyone can code.
  13. ^ "Swift Playgrounds: Previewing Apple's remarkable new portal to code". iMore. March 27, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "Learning to code with Swift Playgrounds as an adult". Macworld. April 6, 2018. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  15. ^ "What's New in Swift Playgrounds - WWDC 2017 - Videos". Apple Developer. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Apple releases Swift Playgrounds 2.0 with playground subscription options, more". AppleInsider. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  17. ^ Victor, Bret (September 2012). "Learnable Programming". worrydream.com.
  18. ^ "Chris Lattner's Homepage". nondot.org. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Singer, Natasha (September 12, 2016). "Apple Offers Free App to Teach Children Coding (iPads Sold Separately)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  20. ^ Ravipati, Sri. "Apple Launches Everyone Can Code Initiative and Apple Teacher Program -". THE Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  21. ^ a b Chambers, Bradley (May 19, 2018). "Making The Grade: Is Swift Playgrounds a useful tool in K-12?". 9to5Mac. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  22. ^ "Apple launches app development curriculum for high school and community college students". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  23. ^ Hall, Zac (July 30, 2018). "New Swift certification program validates coding skills for students". 9to5Mac. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  24. ^ Evans, Jonny (January 24, 2019). "Apple's 'Everyone Can Code' courses are now available in braille". Computerworld. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "Apple brings Everyone Can Code to schools serving blind and deaf students". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Apple's new Swift Playgrounds 1.5 includes controls for robots and drones". Macworld. June 1, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  27. ^ Owen, Malcolm. "Swift Playgrounds could help users build controllable robots in coding lessons". AppleInsider. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  28. ^ "Swift Playgrounds - AppAnnie report". www.appannie.com. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  29. ^ Biersdorfer, J. D. (October 21, 2016). "Want to make your own app? There are free classes for that". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  30. ^ "Learning to code with Swift Playgrounds as an adult". Macworld. April 6, 2018. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  31. ^ "Apple launches Swift Playgrounds for iPad to teach kids to code". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  32. ^ "Swift Playgrounds brings iOS app development to the masses". Macworld. June 13, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  33. ^ Dilger, Daniel Eran. "Apple's new Swift Playgrounds for iPad is a killer app for teaching code". AppleInsider. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  34. ^ Carman, Ashley (June 14, 2016). "Swift Playgrounds sells coding as simple and fun — just like rest of Apple's products". The Verge. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  35. ^ Higgins, Michelle (March 20, 2017). "Travel Apps and Games for Children on the Go". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  36. ^ Swanner, Nate (July 14, 2016). "Here's why Apple really created Swift Playgrounds". The Next Web. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  37. ^ Miller, Paul (March 29, 2018). "The Xcode cliff: is Apple teaching kids to code, or just about code?". The Verge. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  38. ^ "Swift Playgrounds Review for Teachers". Common Sense Education. September 27, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2019.

External links

Official website

This page was last updated at 2019-11-11 18:59 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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