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InfoQ Homepage News Swift Playgrounds 4.0 Enables Creating iOS Apps Using an iPad

Swift Playgrounds 4.0 Enables Creating iOS Apps Using an iPad

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With its latest update to Swift Playground, Apple has made it possible for the first time to create iPhone and iPad apps using an iPad. Developers can build and submit Swift 5.5 apps using SwiftUI and the Swift Package Manager, as well as additional features.

Announced at the latest WWDC 21, along with Xcode Cloud and Swift 5.5, Swift Playgrounds 4.0 provides a streamlined developer experience that includes support for code completion and instant SwiftUI previews, which Xcode developers are already familiar with. Along with SwiftUI, Swift Playgrounds 4 supports UIKit and includes a new Snippets Library providing access to hundreds of controls, symbols, and colors.

Additionally, Swift Playgrounds 4 corrects a number of shortcomings in Xcode UX, like the necessity of dealing with Info.plist files to specify many project settings and capabilities. Developers will also welcome the fact that projects created using Swift Playgrounds 4 can be opened and edited using Xcode 13.2. Besides supporting SwiftUI previews, Swift Playgrounds 4 is of course able to launch an app fullscreen on your iPad.

Undoubtedly the most intriguing feature in Swift Playgrounds 4 is its ability to build and submit apps to the App Store. This will be a welcome feature for any developers who would prefer not to own a Mac as well as for developers who may prefer to take only an iPad along and have some work done on the go.

On the other hand, Swift Playground does not include any support for Objective-C code, which would seem to rule out a lot of possibilities, such as building apps based on React Native. Furthermore, it does not support creating apps for macOS, watchOS, or tvOS.

Swift Playgrounds was launched at the WWDC 2016 conference as an educational tool and interactive development environment for Swift enabling an experience similar to Jupyter Notebooks, Clojure REPL, and so on. Apple also provides a series of educational lessons teaching programming and debugging skills. With the latest announcement, Apple has taken a move in the direction of converting it into a full-fledged development environment for the iPad.

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