Economic review

Apple's Swift Playgrounds inspires Chinese programmers

2016-6-14 11:30:00 (Beijing Time)         chinadaily.com.cn

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With posters and invitations written in Apple's Swift code typography unveiled ahead the annual developers' extravaganza, the Cupertino company has already hinted that teaching coding to younger generation will dominate this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Apple Inc introduced a new app on Monday named Swift Playgrounds, an app for iPad that helps users learn and explore coding in Swift, the same language used to create applications for the App Store.

According to the company, Swift Playgrounds includes Apple developed programming lessons where students write code to guide onscreen characters through an immersive graphical world, solving puzzles and mastering challenges as they learn core coding concepts.

"I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice-president of software engineering.

"Although the performance of cording on iPad through Swift Playgrounds will not be as smooth as on laptop or even PC, the interactive features will inspire children who enjoy coding and are interested in computers," said An Zhehong, a software engineering major at Shanghai-based Tongji University.

Tong began learning coding when he went to university and he said that by helping young generation approach coding in an early age will stimulate kids and generate new ideas.

Tong and eight other Chinese students, along with other 342 students and STEM organization members listed by the Cupertino company as the award-winner of "WWDC Scholarships", are attending this year's WWDC event.

According to Tong, the applicants of the award had to submit an application that demonstrated the usage of "Apple technologies", such as a school project, or a software available on the App Store.

Zhou Rui, a Chinese scholarship winner studying in Grade 10 in a high school in New York State, said that Swift Playgrounds will enable the new generation to learn programming through the interactive way and it would be much easier than the previous coding languages used in the community.

Zhou also said that he has seen some computer programs clubs in Chinese high schools and is looking forward to see more activities undertaken by them.

Another attendee, Yan Li, senior iOS software engineer of EF Learning Labs, told China Daily that China has been recognized as one of the most important markets for Apple Inc, and the company is keen on investing more energy to provide localized services.

Li also expressed his optimistic about the future development of China market, as more integration that focuses on third-party apps on the entire Apple's software ecosystem are being announced, which will bring more opportunities for local iOS developers.

"Chinese developers are more project-driven and the competition in the recruitment area will become hot as more innovative technology-driven products and developers are sought in the sector," Li added.

According to Apple statistics, as of October 2015, there were more than a million Chinese developers working on Apple's software platforms and the figure jumped 50 percent compared with 2014.

The profit share of Chinese developers on Apple Store reached $5 billion by the early 2016. Chinese developers have created 270,000 apps on Apple Store and the Greater China region ranks number one in the world in the number of apps downloaded.

All the software platforms of the company, including iOS, tvOS, watchOS and the macOS (formerly named OS X) will be updated during the WWDC and will be available for public to freely download this fall.