GHC14 Best of Programming Languages: Introducing Swift Playgrounds

We have to be their role models..

— Michelle Six

I relatively new to Apple products. I’ve had my Air for nearly 2 years and my iPhone 5 for a little over a year. I’ve adjusted well and actually have a preference for their operating systems. I was so intrigued by ibeacon technology when it was announced that I ordered a set of Estimote beacons, learned Objective-C and built an iOS application. Naturally when Swift was announced at WWDC, I was interested. 


Michelle Six (Apple) began by mentioning Xcode (free on the app store) and gave 6 facts about herself. They included things like she enjoys word games and math puzzles, she was 9 when she built her first computer and she is a daughter of a mad scientist and lived in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The moment she said Los Alamos, the X Files jumped in my head. seriously. 

Six also brought along a nanosecond (30 cm) and spoke a bit about Grace Hopper. I was happy she did this, as it is so important to know and recognize women who have paved the way. Back to Swift- Six walked us through some basic arithmetic, showing us how playgrounds update continuously. We also learned about key fundamentals  (like int, variables, functions, imports) and built a simple Guess the number game. Six took it up a notch and gave examples of more advanced arithmetic, walking us through and explaining each step of the way.  

I was immediately inspired and wrote down four different mini projects I wanted to try. I really enjoyed the idea of having a console that would continuously update and recognized how I could use playgrounds to teach my niece how to program. 

Six talked about Swift Guided Tour and showed us how easy it was to use and briefly mentioned the Swift Programming Language (book). She proposed that we find someone who has never programmed a day in their life and introduce them to Swift. I’m totally taking that challenge. 

Six seems really down to earth, funny and gave an amazing talk. I’m hoping she not only returns for future talks but also returns to give talks on more advanced levels. I adored her Keynote presentation (I should mention I have a sweet spot for Keynote) and can easily put her on the list of must meet people at Grace Hopper.

Learn all about Swift here

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