Coding in Swift Playgrounds

Whether you are using a MacOS or iOS device this is great!

Playgrounds are great! You can use them on a Mac to quickly run code, and even on the iPhone or iPad! Fantatastic.

You’ll find Playgrounds in Interactive courses, and even downloads from GitHub (here is a guide if you are uncomfortable with this), and indeed there is even a link at the bottom of this post go the Playground created during this tutorial.

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Photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash

Difficulty: Beginner | Easy | Normal | Challenging


Recommended: Be able to produce a “Hello, World!” Swift application (guide HERE)


Playgrounds: A development environment that can be used to create Swift code

Swift: An open source programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS

Playground basics

You can download Playgrounds from HERE which installs the App onto your device.

We can then writelet str = "Hello, playground")

followed by

print("Hello, playground")

and then press the Run My Code button.

In order to get the output to display I clicked the “abc” at the right-hand side of the screen. This then gives the option of Adding a view — and this displays the result of the command.

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You do need to have downloaded and installed Xcode on your machine.

You can then go through the menu File > New Playground

I then choose iOS > New Playground in the following screen. By choosing iOS we get UIKit imported for us (which is great, as we need that).

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You’ll need to choose a destination for your Playground as you go. Here is a visual guide:

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You’ll have seen from that video, when I run var str = "Hello, playground") print("Hello, playground") console/debug panel appears at the bottom of the screen. Which brings us to a good opportunity to highlight the main areas of the screen:

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The console / debug panel allows us access to the debugger, which is something that is extremely useful.

Inspecting Runtime values

As shown above, you can click on “abc” on the right-hand side of the screen.

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This can allow you to Add a view that can display the runtime value.

On the right hand side of the screen we can see the runtime value of the Strings — note that the final one shows the next line character \n

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Even better — run your mouse over the “Hello, Playground” and a small eye icon pops up. This allows you to view all the elements in an array, or similar. In this case, it displays the String in a new window:

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Accessing files from GitHub in Playgrounds

Simply download the file from GitHub, and double-click on the Playgrounds file. Not too tricky!

  1. if the file is just text copy and paste the code into Swift playgrounds — it is that easy!
  2. If available, click on the download link for the Playground and click copy to Playgrounds

Not too tough!


Playgrounds are a great way of experimenting with code. If you only have an iOS device while you’re out and about don’t let it stop you from trying to solve a current coding problem — just get out your device and code!

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