This June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the headline-grabbing announcements were pretty big. Previews of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite were filled with numerous new opportunities for developers, including increased extensibility and interoperability in iOS 8, new HealthKit, HomeKit, and PhotoKit APIs, and a more consistent desktop-to-mobile experience thanks to features like Handoff in OS X Yosemite.
But the biggest news – for developers at least – was Apple’s introduction of a brand-new programming language called Swift. Designed to work seamlessly with Objective-C (which has been industry-standard for years), Swift is a much more simplified and concise programming language, designed so developers can quickly and consistently develop complex and speedy apps.
And that was the news caught the attention of the faculty of Full Sail’s Mobile Development bachelor’s degree program.
“The announcement was shocking, but surprisingly well received here at Full Sail,” says Jamie Brown, Course Director, Mobile Development Frameworks II. “Our students were interested and began asking questions almost immediately. Some of our iOS classes worked in a few days of Swift basics for our students as early as the end of June. Our first class taught completely in the new language took place in August, and we plan to have the rest converted to Swift very shortly.”
While the move to teaching Swift was … swift, it also was an opportunity for faculty members to put into practice the very concepts they teach students. There are many important characteristics for a mobile developer, but being flexible and keeping up-to-date on current development technologies are two of the most essential. These traits were immediately apparent with this quick curriculum modification, and even Apple took notice, highlighting Full Sail’s early inclusion of Swift into our coursework on their website.
“The mobile industry is one of the fastest evolving industries around,” says Jamie. “Four months ago, no one outside of Apple had even heard of Swift. A few weeks ago, the very first apps ever created or recreated with Swift began trickling onto the iOS App Store, while simultaneously, we had some students finishing up their iOS capstone projects using Swift. The term ‘bleeding edge’ is overused in tech industries. But whatever it is we’re on it, and we’re proud of that.”