Weekly Swift 1, warming-up

Published on: January 30, 2015

It's been my goal to learn how to build apps for a bunch of years now. I’ve picked up some books on Objective-C, tried building some things but lost interest really quick every time. The first time I actually went through with building something was when I was graduating from college. Shortly after that Swift came out and I wanted to learn it. But, once again, with no real goal except just learning Swift I quickly lost motivation to actually do something with it.

But then something happened, I realized that motivation is fleeting. It’s not reliable, one day I could be super motivated and the next day I was too tired to care. So I set out to become more disciplined. And part of this would be learning Swift. I decided to start something called Daily Swift. The idea is to build a (sometimes very) small and simple project in Swift. I have decided to not use Storyboards / Interface Builder because I feel like most pros out there prefer not using it. The projects I build should usually be very bare bones and exactly what I’m missing in Swift resources.

A lot of resources on Swift that I have found are either too complex, or they rely on Interface Builder to work. I feel like the things I’m going to push out are a lot more simple and don’t rely on Interface Builder. If you're like me, a developer who is struggling with these storyboards and overly complicated examples you might want to follow along. And, more importantly you might have some feedback for me or have a subject you'd like me to look into. Please let me know on Twitter.

In my first week I’ve noticed that there’s really tons of magic in Apple’s UIKit framework. They have pretty good documentation for it but sometimes I did have to really force myself to read it all. When you just glance over everything you will surely miss a very important detail and nothing will work and there will be errors all over the place. Also, the use of ? and ! is just confusing in Swift. The ? tells the compiler that something is either an instance of a class or nil. And the ! seems to promise the compiler that you know what you’re doing and the variable (or constant) you’re using is not nil. When I have a better mental model of this I will write about it.

Also, I’m amazed with how much you can learn about Swift in just a single week. I’ve learned how to use Alerts and Actionsheets. I learned about TableViews, TabBars and NavigationControllers. And more interesting, I learned how to add images from an online resource to a TableView without blocking the main thread. (Blocking the main thread by just grabbing the images would make for very choppy scrolling.) And even more interestingly I learned how to load images with HanekeSwift thanks to a tip from @mwildeboer.

My goal for now is to be able to build a Swift version of Arto App. I built this app as an assignment during my minor and I've always imagined it as an iOS app. All the JSON APIs are there already so I’ll be using them as input for some examples and eventually I will bundle them together into a project that would be the iOS version for Arto.

Thanks for reading and if you want to follow my journey you can do so on Twitter and Github.



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