Ray Wenderleich (@rwenderlich) is a superstar in the iOS world, with his tutorial blog certainly being one of the most trusted and reliable sources out there for developers. With his iOS 7 books released last year, he consolidated a lot of the various blog posts and more into a centralised book. With Apple annuoncing Swift, it’s new language and releasing it into the wild, developers once again began to feel exposed, looking at how to tackle the transition from Objective-C to Swift. Here and behold, Ray has come out with a new series of books to cover Swift. I will cover the first book, Swift by Tutorials: A Hands-On Approach .
Ray’s first two chapters, introduce the aspiring Swift-er to Playground, Apple’s sandbox for playing around with swift code, and you straight away get started with the rudimentary variables, constants and strings, booleans and tuples.
Trying out some of the simple code snippets, you also get to learn some of the important Swift rules early on, such as type-casting between Int and Double, for instance. The author also covers basic while and for loops, and switch statements.
Whilst you work through the chapters, you get provided with a before-and-after source code for each chapter’s project, allowing you to follow along, or just skip to the end (although that is cheating…).
The second chapter, whilst still focusing on the language basics, dives into more of the unique language features, such as working with optionals, and dealing with wrapping and un-wrapping of variables, both implicit and explicit, and finally getting the reader accustomed to how Swift works with collections (Arrays, Dictionaries).
The subsequent chapters start to get to the meat of OOP development, working with classes and structs, and so forth. But touching on interesting topics, the book affords you the ability to work through the problems, spend some time wondering why something isn’t working, and then peek at the finalalised solution of the chapter. For me, learning a language should always involve exercises and tutorials.
Ray touches with his tutorials on other important aspects of the language, such as Generics, Functional Programming, before touching on how to work with Cocoa. Of course, the next book in his series which I will review shortly, will deal more into iOS 8 and Cocoa, and marry the concepts and lessons learned in this book quite valuably.
One minor wish I had, was that the book was provided in either epub or mobi, making it easier for me to read and highlight and annotate, but content-wise, I felt the book offered just a-rich-a-learning-experience as the blogs that I have been accustomed to. I’m looking forward to reviewing the remaining books in the series. This book is the quintessential guide to learning Swift, and your first step towards upgrading your iOS skills. Of course, you need to have an iOS background, as this book isn’t aimed at the mobile programming newbies.
Prior Knowledge: Designed for medium-to-seasoned iOS developers, looking to upgrade their skills from Objective-C to Swift.
My rating: 4.7