Teaching App Development with Swift

Leave a comment

Source: https://swifteducation.github.io/teaching_app_development_with_swift/

Teaching App Development with Swift

Teach Students How to Create iOS Apps

Engage students with a project-based curriculum, and guide students in creating iOS apps. Adopt projects and lesson plans to fit your course and different learning styles. Create real apps that teach students Swift, the iOS SDK, and the Apple developer toolset.

Download Download the Course Materials (~90MB)

GitHub Octocat Report Issues and Contribute on GitHub

Speech Bubble Ask Questions and Share Techniques in the Education Forum

General Materials

Creative students love hands-on learning. Projects lead the lessons, so you can guide and facilitate learning, supporting student work with technical understanding.

Projects and Lesson Plans

Guide students through each level of projects, which provide a progressive framework for learning. Let the app features lead to technical discovery and stimulate student creativity. Select projects and lessons to fit your course requirements and student experience.

Level 1: Xcode Fundamentals and Swift

Level 2: Single View Applications and MVC

Level 3: Frameworks and APIs

Level 4: Navigation, Tab Bar and Table View Controllers

The course materials only, and not any other content of this web page, are to be used pursuant to a Creative Commons license, as specified in the license information within the course materials.

Trademark Information

The Swift logo, Apple, the Apple logo and other Apple trademarks, service marks, graphics, and logos used in connection with the Swift Education project are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Other trademarks, service marks, graphics, and logos used in connection with the Swift Education project may be the trademarks of their respective owners. You are granted no right or license in any of the aforesaid trademarks, and further agree that you shall not remove, obscure, or alter any proprietary notices (including trademark and copyright notices) that may be affixed to or contained within the Service.

For further information about proper referential uses of the Swift logo, please review the “Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights”.

Advertisements

Why I want Swift to be your first language

Leave a comment

Source: http://www.aaronblock.com/thoughts/2015/8/21/why-i-want-swift-to-be-your-first-language

In preparation for an upper level class that I’m teaching this semester, I spent the summer writing my first app entirely in Swift. (It’s 7 Second Diet, a meal-tracking app that’s not a pain in the tuchus to use.) After spending some quality time with Swift, I realized how much I want to use Swift to teach introduction to computer science.

Choosing a language

Introduction to computer science is a unique class because most students that enroll in it don’t know if they like computer science or not. As a result, a good intro class does two things: it teaches students the fundamentals of computer science and helps students learn to love computer science. Many of our department’s best majors originally took intro to get their quantitate credit and never left because it was their favorite class. So, when choosing a language for intro, it’s important to pick a one that will:

  • Be intricate enough to cover the core computer science concepts
  • Be robust enough that students can use it for years worth of assignments
  • Be easy enough that students can start programming within one week
  • Be powerful enough that students can make real applications by the end of the first semester

Why Swift

Currently, most departments teach intro in C, C++, Python, or Java. Java is probably the most popular and Python is probably the second most popular. (Our primary language is Java, but we teach some intro classes in Python.) A few other schools will use languages like JavaScript, C#, Smalltalk, Haskell, or Lisp. Every language has its pros can cons and rather than giving you a giant spreadsheet of how each language stacks against Swift, I want to give you a few examples of where Swift really shines in an intro class.

FIRST DAY, REAL CODE.

One trait that Python and Swift both share is that on the first day of class I can type:

print("Hello World")

and everyone in the class immediately understands this code. In Java, when I type:

package playground;
public class Starter {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello World");
    }
}

everyone’s eyes glaze over and they think to themselves “what in the hell is going on here?” With Java, C, and C++, you have to spend the first month of class telling students “ignore this” because even simple programs have a lot of syntax overhead. This wastes time and causes some students to discount computer science because “it makes no sense.”

BEGON USELESS SYNTAX.

This is a moment that will happen sometime in the next two weeks. A student will wave me over to her computer with a question about how to fix her broken Java code. When I get to her computer, I’ll immediately point to a line of code and state “You are missing a semicolon here.” The student then swears, “I worked on this for a F!CKING HOUR.” I commiserate and then turn to her neighbor who has exactly the same issue (but he’s been working on it for TWO hours). It’s fun to look like a technopath, but both students wasted their time on silly mistakes. For experts, missing a semicolon is annoying. For intro students, that’s their Japanesse assignment. Swift still has syntax the students will need to know, but they’ve dramatically reduced the amount of “useless” syntax that can trip up students.

TYPES, OPTIONAL BUT NOT FORGOTTEN.

Possibly my favorite thing in Swift is “optional types.” For those who haven’t worked with Swift, an optional type is exactly the same as a normal type, except it can have the additional value of nil, which represents “no value.” I love optional types because they allow me to write algorithms that behave correctly but occasionally don’t return a value. For example, suppose you wanted to find the smallest number in a list of integers. If the list is empty, what value should you return? Should you return 0? Should you throw an exception? Should you return MAX_INT? None of those are correct. Optionals let the students write the algorithm as intended: if the list is empty, return nil.

ALGORITHMS FIRST, OBJECTS SECOND.

Many professors who teach Java like teaching “objects first.” The idea behind “objects first” is that students should learn object-oriented programming first and learn algorithmic reasoning second. I do not like “objects first.” Explaining why I don’t like “objects first” is a post unto itself. So, I’m going to brief here: object-oriented programming is a tool in algorithmic reasoning. It’s better to learn algorithmic reasons first so you can understand why object-oriented programming is necessary.

“Objects first” is a popular technique for teaching Java because (almost) everything in Java is an object. So, to do anything interesting in Java either you have to teach “objects first” or you have to give students a library to hide the object-oriented programming until later in the semester. Either way is messy.

On the other hand, object-oriented programming is a core concept in computer science and needs to be taught to students in their first semester. So any language that doesn’t use object-oriented programming (e.g., C) is a bad choice for an intro language.

Because code can live inside or outside of classes in Python, Swift, and C++, these languages making teaching introduction to computer science a lot less messy.

NAMED PARAMETERS, A LIFE SENTENCE.

Most intro students understand the basics of algorithmic reasoning before they enroll. Where they have difficulty is formalizing an algorithm so that it can run on a computer. The technique I teach them is to write an English description of what you want to happen and then transform it into code where your nouns are represented by variables and verbs are represented by functions. Named parameters make this tranformation cleaner because they allow functions to be more verbose. If you haven’t used named parameters before, the easiest way to explain them is to see an example.

Suppose that you wrote a function that took two lists of integers as parameters and returned the smallest element in the first list of integers that wasn’t included in the second list. Without named parameters, you would call the method like so:

x = findSmallestElementNotIn([20,30,55,22,11,34], [100,23,45,11,20,-4])

With named parameters you would write:

x = findSmallestElement(in: [20,30,55,22,11,34], notIn: [100,23,45,11,20,-4])

The named parameters are the “in:” and “notIn:” included with the parameters. If you had more parameters, then each would have a name as well. By including names with each parameter, the code clearly reads like a sentence:

“Set x to be the smallest element in the list [20,30,55,22,11,34] that is not in [100,23,45,11,20,-4]

Named parameters make the transformation from English to code much easier. Also, when combined with an IDE that has good autocomplete functionality, students can write better code faster.

YOUR REFERENCES MUST BE STRONG TO SURVIVE.

If you know a C programmer and you ask her about Java programmers fresh out of college, then you will hear the following sentence:

“Ugh, kids today just don’t understand how memory is managed. I asked him to write malloc and he looked at me like I was speaking Greek.”

Possibly the biggest problem with Java and Python as first languages is that they obscure memory management. For the types of programs you write in intro, this isn’t bad. However, once you start writing larger programs that need good memory performance it becomes important.

For those who haven’t used Java or Python before, those two languages are at one end of the “memory management continuum.” In these languages, you never explicitly delete a memory reference. Java and Python run “garbage collection” routines that remove memory when they are no longer necessary. On the other end, C and C++ require developers to explicitly destroy memory allocations. Swift uses a technique calledAutomatic Reference Counting (ARC) that lives in the middle. Under ARC, developers do not explicitly destroy objects but instead must correctly organize their memory references and classify them as “strong,” “weak,” or “unowned” so that they can be automatically destroyed without needing to run an additional memory management process. While ARC doesn’t require developers to directly manage memory, it helps students learn how to organize memory and think about how objects are stored in memory without harassing them about the details. (Students should still learn explicit memory management, just not in their first year.)

Where Swift could improve.

With Swift 2.0 coming out soon, most of my complaints about Swift are going away. That being said my biggest complaint about Swift is that it lacks Python’s simple input() and read() commands. (If you haven’t use Python before: input() prompts the user for an input and returns a string, and read() will take the contents from a file and return it as a string.) Having access to simple user/file input dramatically expands the set of examples and assignments I can present in the first month of intro. I can work around this by providing students with a library that would include my implementation of these two methods. The downside is that now I’m teaching the students my code and not a technique they can apply outside of the classroom. While this would work, it isn’t ideal.

Why don’t I use Swift this year?

Even though I think Swift is ideally suited for intro, for the next year at least, I’ll be using Java in my classes. Why?

  1. The AP test is in Java. This is the biggest reason. Each year we have several students who took high school computer science, got a 4 or 5 on the AP, and want to skip the first semester. We want to make sure they can do that without taking summer school. Because we want students to have the same language for their entire first year, if we use Swift, then those students can’t skip the first semester.
  2. Language in flux. Given how much change has happened in Swift during the past year, I’m hesitant to teach intro students how to program in a language that could have changing syntax.
  3. No Windows IDE, yet. The fact that Swift is now open source is wonderful. I look forward to the day when we have great a IDE on Windows. That isn’t the case right now. While we have Macs in our labs, students like working at home and they don’t all have Apple laptops. Even if some projects have to be built on lab computers, we’d like to be as flexible as possible.
  4. This isn’t a a decision I can make by myself. Every class in computer science builds off of the last class. So, if we change our introlanguage, then nearly every other class in our department will need to change as well. Just because I’m excited about Swift for intro doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for our department. Every year we revaluate how we teach and how we can better serve our students. I expect that this year we’ll have a lot of great discussions about the pros and cons of Swift, Java, and Python.

Conclusion

I could go on describing the advantages of Swift and Xcode in an intro class for a long time (the ease of use Interface Builder, the use of let make constants a first class principal…) but this has gone on long enough. Ultimately, I want to use Swift as the language in introduction to computer science because it allows me to teach all the key concept I want to teach; it is easy enough that students can start using it on day one; it’s sufficiently strict that it keeps students in line so they won’t make (as many) stupid mistakes; and it’s powerful enough that students can use it for the next decade without a problem. While I’m not going to teach introduction to computer science with Swift right now, I am ecstatic about the future of Swift and the impact it will have on future computer scientists.

Share
Aaron Block is an assistant professor of computer science at Austin College. In another lifetime, he was a program manager at Microsoft.

Introduction to Swift Programming and Computer Science – This app works on Windows 8 and Windows 10

Leave a comment

Source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/introduction-to-swift-programming-and-computer-science/9wzdncrdhq4t

Teaching App Development with Swift – Free course by Apple Education

Leave a comment

Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/app-development-teaching-swift/id1003406963

Course Description

Bring Swift into the classroom with this collection of lesson plans, presentations, and Xcode projects to lead students through experiential learning.
Join the Swift Education community to access all materials, including Xcode projects, lesson plans and presentations: http://swifteducation.github.io/
We have designed the projects and lessons in this course to meet specific, clear learning outcomes, which are included in each lesson plan. Each lesson employs the need for recall and convergent, divergent, and evaluative thinking to accommodate different types of learners. These materials accommodate a wide variety of teaching styles and pedagogical approaches, including “active” learning techniques, constructionist methodology, Bloom and Blosser learning taxonomies, “Demonstrate, Collaborate, Facilitate” approaches, peer-supported learning, and your own effective methods. Lessons are flexible, and provide opportunities to answer the “what, how, what if, and why?” to engage student learning and cognition. Lastly, lessons and exercises recognize gender, ethnic and cultural bias, and we have designed these materials to be open to a diverse classroom.
With this collection of lesson plans, instructors can engage students with a project-based curriculum, and guide students in learning programming with Swift.

These course materials do not dictate a step-by-step script for your course. Rather, we provide you with a menu of projects and accompanying lessons to incorporate into your own iOS course. The primary learning outcome for this course is that students will be able to design and create iOS apps. Students will leverage Swift, the iOS SDK, and Apple developer tools. With iOS as the platform, students will learn object-oriented programming, design patterns, type systems, functional language features, user interface design, best practices in programming, and problem analysis.
The primary learning outcome for this course is that students will be able to design and create iOS apps. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
  • Define key programming terms relevant to Swift and iOS programming.
  • Describe the process of creating iOS apps.
  • State the purpose of the Apple developer tools, such as Xcode, Instruments, debugger, analyzer, and iOS Simulator.
  • Distinguish well-written code from poorly-written code.
  • Recognize patterns and idioms present in the Cocoa Touch API and other Apple frameworks.
  • Employ the Apple developer tools to create an iOS app.
  • Demonstrate programming best practices in Swift.
  • Examine and subdivide app functionality into properly designed components.
  • Explain and summarize iOS API features including location, mapping, sensors, gestures, multimedia and user interface components.
  • Plan, prepare and build an original iOS app, from concept to working program.
In addition, the lessons and exercises acknowledge and support the standards of the ACM Computer Science Teachers Association and the College Board AP Computer Science standards.
CSTA Project Based, Level 3 Course
  • Computational thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Computing Practice & Programming
  • Computer & Communications Devices
  • Community, Global and Ethical Impacts
AP Computer Science Criteria
  • Object-Oriented Program Design
  • Program Implementation
  • Program Analysis
  • Standard Data Structures
  • Computing in Context
These course materials assume that the instructor has read a book on iOS programming, has experience creating basic iOS apps and that the instructor is comfortable with Swift. Students are expected to have prior programming experience, such as programming with Java, C++, Objective-C, Python or Ruby, in an introductory programming course. Students are not required to have prior experience with Swift.
These course materials are designed to teach iOS programming through the creation of multiple apps using Swift, the iOS SDK, and Apple developer tools. Projects are divided into lessons, each of which includes an instructor lesson plan and accompanying Xcode project. All projects are grouped into levels, according to complexity. While levels are meant to be followed in sequence, we encourage you to pick and choose projects within each level according to time, student interest, course structure, and your requirements.

10 Excellent Platforms for Building Mobile Apps

2 Comments

Source: http://mashable.com/2013/12/03/build-mobile-apps/

If you’ve ever wanted to build an app for your business, blog, product or service, but the heavy investment of both time and money put you off, you’re not alone.

The good news is that entering the mobile market no longer necessarily requires thousands of dollars and months of work. There are many mobile platforms available to help you build an app on a budget — quickly, and with no coding knowledge required.

With a small investment, you can create and manage your mobile site or application using one of the platforms listed below, and start reaping the advantages of offering your customers a dedicated mobile experience, including increased awareness, engagement and revenue.

The Companion app – Lets users friends ‘virtually walk them home at night’ is exploding in popularity

Leave a comment

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/campanion-app-surging-in-popularity-2015-9

The Companion app, created by five students from the University of Michigan, enables users to request a friend or family member to keep them company virtually and track their journey home via GPS on an online map.

Although they can do so, the friend or family member does not need to have installed the Companion app, which is available for both Android and iOS.

The user can send out several requests to different phone contacts in case people are not available to be a companion or not with their phones at the time.

Those contacted then receive an SMS text message with a hyperlink in it that sends them to a web page with an interactive map showing the user walking to their destination. If the user strays off their path, falls, is pushed, starts running, or has their headphones yanked out of their phone, the app detects these changes in movement and asks the user if they’re OK.

If the user is fine, they press a button on the app to confirm within 15 seconds. If they do not press the button, or a real emergency is occurring, the Companion app transforms the user’s phone into a personal alarm system that projects loud noises to scare criminals from the scene, and gives you the option to instantly call the police.

FluidUI – Get a prototype running on your mobile in under 15 minutes. Create incredible screenflows with our unique visual linking system. Work in high or low fidelity. Add gestures and transitions between screens to create an authentic mobile experience. Collaborate to get to the best solution.

Leave a comment

Source: https://www.fluidui.com/features

Get a prototype running on your mobile in under 15 minutes

Simply build the prototype on your desktop and scan the preview using the custom player apps for Android and iPhone/iPad. Save time and money by getting the UI right before you start coding.

Create incredible screenflows with our unique visual linking system

Building connected multi-screen prototypes is like connecting the dots. Export the screenflows to communicate with your team.

Work in high or low fidelity

Fluid UI comes with over 2000 ready-made iOS, Android, Windows 8 and wireframe UI widgets for phone & tablet prototyping – all regularly updated with the latest advances in mobile OS.

Or you can upload images and use and invisible “hotspots” to make pixel perfect mockups with ease.

Add gestures and transitions between screens to create an authentic mobile experience

Swipe, tap or double tap. Slide, fade or flip. Get the feeling right for your app.

Collaborate to get to the best solution

Share mockups easily with your team and clients for instant feedback. Print full size screens and screenflows for your team to follow.

Older Entries