New in February 2017: Learn to make iOS apps with Swift 3

iOS programming is one of the hottest subjects on OpenCourser. We recently added several more courses to our index that cover Swift 3. Budding programmers take note. Especially if you're into building apps for iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watch.

As always, you can find recommended courses discussed in this post by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

What's Swift?

Swift is a programming language designed by Apple. You could use it as a general purpose language to make anything, but it's mainly used now to create apps for Apple products like iPhone, iPad, Macs, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

Swift is a relatively new development in the history of programming languages. Prior to it, developers used Objective-C to create iOS and Mac apps.

So why are people learning Swift? For beginners, two big reasons. First, Swift has simpler, "cleaner," syntax compared to Objective-C. That means it's easier for humans like you and me to read and write Swift code. The second is that Apple's put a lot of their attention towards Swift. They've even open sourced the language. That's meant improvements in performance and security for apps written in Swift--improvements that come out quicker and more frequently than they would with Objective-C.

Swift 3 vs. Swift 2

Both are arguably better for new developers than Objective-C. But are there differences between the older Swift and the shiny new Swift they call Swift 3?

In short, yes.

There are too many changes to list here between the two, but if there's one thing you should take away, it's that Swift 3 is NOT backwards compatible. That is, your code written in Swift 2 will not build and run in Swift 3 until you re-write parts of your code. And that means learning about the changes between Swift 2 and Swift 3 before you can go about making those re-writes.

Bottom line: If you're new to iOS development, it's best to learn Swift 3 than an older version.

Alright, now that we've covered the basics... let's dive into those courses!

New Courses in Record Time

iOS development courses are among some of the most popular in the computer science and programming categories. That's probably why we're seeing full courses focused on Swift 3 already emerging. Swift's been around for years now, but Swift 3, the latest milestone release for Swift, released just a few months ago in September 2016.

The timeline is important because it shows us two things:
1. iOS development is still a highly in-demand skill
2. Platforms are rolling out online courses quickly to meet that demand

It also hints at how large of an update Swift 3 is.

Udacity is the fastest to update their entire iOS course offerings. You could read about their Swift 2 to Swift 3 migration plan in their blog post here, but in short, they've been tracking Apple's announcements about Swift 3 since the beginning and have been making changes to their material since July 2016. The Udacity iOS courses are now entirely based on Swift 3, including their free Basics course and their more comprehensive Nanodegree series of courses.

The team at Treehouse has also been hard at work cranking out new courses on Swift 3. Unlike Udacity, they've kept their Swift 2.0 content libary and are creating new courses from scratch, releasing them as they're available. That means the Swift 3 track is still a work in progress (not all courses have been released ).

As of this writing, Treehouse just released a 3-hour module on Intermediate Swift topics, (although as with any skill, you should start with the Basics). More is coming though.

Lynda, like Treehouse, still has their iOS 9 developer courses available, but they've just launched their iOS 10 / Swift 3 learning path, a series of courses designed to get you from 0 to 60 (i.e. distributing your app) through 16-hours worth of course material.

All offerings are designed for individuals with no prior experience in programming, but you'll want to review the details for each offering. Most coding courses are different in nuanced ways and you'll want to find one that suits your schedule and needs before you commit to a 15+ hour program.

You can enroll in the courses discussed in this post here:


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