WWDC 2016 Wishlist #1: Swift Playgrounds on iPad
With Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference just around the corner, now is feeling a little bit like Christmas Eve for iOS / OSX developers and even the more hardcore non-developer users. I posted a wishlist before WWDC last year and was really happy to have 5 out of my 13 wishes come true (although a couple of them were announced and released months after the conference). I'm compiling a mostly-new wishlist for this year, and I'm hoping for a good number of these to be announced as well.
That said, I'll kick things off with my top, most wished for announcement: Swift Playgrounds on the iPad / iPad Pro. While I love my iPad Pro and use it for all kinds of notes, sketches, idea brainstorming, etc., I still can't stub out or test actual code on the device. This is probably my biggest frustration as an iOS developer with an iPad: this powerful tablet is completely useless as a tool for writing code that runs on its own OS!
While I strongly believe that Xcode for iPad will eventually be released down the road, it feels like too much work to be ready any time soon. Playgrounds on the other hand have very little UI and relatively simple project hierarchies and dependencies. Plus, since the Swift REPL and compiler are written in C++ anyway, it shouldn't take much to get them running on iOS.
Finally, in addition to being a great tool for writing code, Swift Playgrounds are becoming a fantastic way to create interactive books, articles and documentation. Consuming and manipulating these types of playgrounds on an iPad would probably be the best possible version of that experience. So, it seems that for relatively little effort, Apple could open up a fantastic new type of productivity on the iPad. Let's hope they do!
Posted in: playgroundsswiftwwdcxcode