Rocking Swift and iOS development in 3 months

Swift and iOS development was on my bucket list for quite some time. I always had some ideas on my mind and couldn’t wait to bring them to a device I use daily. But building an app with a language you don’t know, on a system you haven’t developed on before, isn’t something you can do in a few days. It requires time.

November last year I finally had the opportunity to go part time and to spend three days a week on my goal. For three months ⏱

My personal ambition was to learn Swift and iOS development in the given time and to test and approve my new knowledge by publishing an app to the App Store 📲

Prior knowledge

Swift isn’t my first language. I’m a Front-End developer specialised in JavaScript development. I’ve worked with other object-oriented languages before and I also know how to design user-interfaces.

I guess it’s important to say that ~36 days aren’t enough when you don’t have any background in programming. And it’s by far not enough time to become a Swift expert. But don’t be scared. Swift is a language that’s good to read and learn. The amount of tutorials is fantastic for such a young language.

Rocking Swift and iOS

Step 1

For the beginning I recommend to start with a tutorial series or book that takes you by hand and guides you through all the basics. Something you can follow step by step. It helps you to get familiar, without getting lost in all the topics.

Design+Code is great to get started

I’ve used Design+Code to get started. It covers everything from design and basics to advanced Swift features. And with $9 per month it’s also a very cheap way to bring yourself to the next level. Design+Code was a great help for me, but the course isn’t completely up-to-date. You might run into issues when using the latest version of Xcode and Swift.

Whatever you choose to get started, choose something you can follow and rely on. This gives you a feeling of progress as you’re doing one step at a time. Don’t pick videos or articles from different sources. They may vary in their quality and make it harder in the beginning.

Step 2

One of the best resources for Swift comes straight from the source: The official Swift Book from Apple is by far one of the best programming language books. It contains everything you need to know about Swift. And it won’t cost you anything.

The Swift Programming Language

You can start reading it from day one or you can continue with it after you’re done with the first step. This way you will get that “Ahhh” feeling as everything you’ve learned before becomes clearer 🤓

Understanding a language makes your life easier. So why don’t start with the book? Be honest: You’re learning a language because you want to do cool stuff. Not because you want to read a documentation. That’s why it’s good to start practical first.

Step 3

Design plays an imported role in iOS development. Take a look at the apps featured by Apple. They are all very well designed. To succeed on the App Store you need to keep up with them or at least try to.

Apple Design Resources

The Human Interface Guidelines provided by Apple are a must-read before you start with the design of your app.

Apple also provides a lot of helpful resources and insights on their website.

Step 4

There is no better way to learn something than to build and ship. That’s why this step was the one I was most excited about: It was time to start with my app. Two months were left ⏱

At this point you should already be familiar with the basics of Swift and iOS development, but keep in mind that this is your first app. It should be basic and possible to build in short time. Search the internet whenever you’re running into a problem or question. I’ve done this million times during this stage. The “Resources” section includes a few links to help you.

“The Last Time”, now available on the App Store

I decided to build a days tracker. An app that counts the passed days since an event occurred. How else should you know when you’ve visited the dentist the last time? Or when you’ve called you parents?

The app is called “The Last Time”. And yes, it’s available on the App Store 🎉

Resources

Here’s a list of resources I’ve used to learn Swift and iOS. My favourites are marked with a star.

Conclusion

I’m happy that I took the opportunity. I’ve learned so many things in three months that I can’t wait to build more. It’s way easier to continue once you know the basics. Give Swift a try!