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Tag - Programming
Commenting to the BBC on the Hour of Code initiative that encourages young people to understand some of the basic concepts behind the creation of the games they play, the services they use, and the devices their lives revolve around, Apple SVP of Mac and iOS Software Craig Federighi says that programming -- often thought of as a lonely, isolated activity, is "an incredibly creative medium, not unlike music" and that he wants Apple to do more to "set off a spark" in young learners by using Apple Stores as classrooms more often.
Fulfilling a promise it made last spring, Apple has posted source code for the core libraries, parts of Foundation, and the raw language compiler for Swift, the company's development language -- including some features planned for the future Swift 3, but published now to gain feedback and assist in development. The move enables a number of new use cases for the language, which is deeply integrated into the company's Xcode IDE.
Again this year, Apple Stores around the US are now offering free registration for a child-oriented introductory workshop called "Hour of Code" in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week, which runs December 7–12. The workshops in the US will happen on Thursday, December 10, and the class itself is designed by Code.org, a group that uses popular characters to teach kids computer programming skills.
Cato's Hike: A Programming and Logic Odyssey by Hesham Wahba is an iOS app for helping kids, and adults if they're so inclined, to learn about programming. The app utilizes an object-oriented language of "cards" and customizable maps to demonstrate the various principles. The app is very cute, and we liked the idea of the cards format for the programs. We think Cato's Hike is a good tool for a parent or teacher to guide a would-be programmer to a better understanding of how it's done.
The BBC is continuing in its attempts to promote digital literacy in the United Kingdom, by providing approximately 1 million devices to children. The broadcaster will be providing the Micro Bit, a compact electronic board inspired by the BBC Micro from the 1980s, to students in secondary schools this fall, which it hopes will encourage a new generation of coders to create software.
Edutainment took off in the early 1990s, with games like Math Blaster and The Incredible Machine. For the most part, edutainment games have usually been math or science-centric, with enough history and reading thrown in to keep the mix interesting. However, that's beginning to change with a new dawn of kid-targeted apps. Tynker is one such app, which promises to teach elementary-age children how to code their own video games.
Apple's Swift language, introduced just last June at its Worldwide Developer's Conference, as risen from 68th place to 22nd in the last six months on a ranking of the most widely-used programming languages. Enterprise developer liason firm RedMonk said it had never seen a growth rate so "meteoric" in the history of its rankings, which first appeared in 2010. When "ties" are discounted, the streamlined language has entered the top 20 just seven months after its debut.
Continuing its effort to promote its own streamlined object-oriented programming code Swift, Apple has followed up from its Swift blog with a full-blown mini-site on Apple.com. The new site takes a similar approach to Apple's dedicated mini-sites for education and business, highlighting some of the many apps now built using swift and featuring case studies, profiles and links to tutorials and free resources. The new promotional mini-site is in addition to the regular Swift developer site.
On the same day it announced a new programming language for iOS and OS X apps called Swift -- but ahead of releasing the Xcode 6 IDE needed to actually code in it -- Apple has published a free e-book guide to Swift on the iBookstore. Similar in nature to the educationally-oriented Scala language, Swift overcomes Scala's Java-based slowness by using C, C++ and Objective-C as its base. The new language provides native speed and the support of existing frameworks, while offering a simplified approach to writing code.
The start of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15) sees both the Democrat and Republican sides of the US government, as well as a number of celebrities and tech giants, endorsing the "Hour of Code." The initiative hopes for approximately five million students in 33,000 schools in 166 countries to spend time learning how to code, as it attempts to make programming more accessible.