It’s been roughly a months since Apple released Swift. I’ve made some headway in learning the language but I still feel that I have not made as much progress as I like. So far, reading documentation is not much help. What I’ve got from the reading is a concept here and an idea there but nothing ties together completely.

The experience has got me thinking.

As far as I can remember, I’ve always learned by example. I’ve never been able to learn well by academic style learning. What I mean is that I don’t learn well reading books, manuals, reference materials, and etc. It is also not that I don’t read those materials but I cannot just read them and absorb enough information to be useful. To me learning a programming language by reading a book about the language is as useful as learning a foreign language by reading a phrase book. It may help you order a mean and maybe find a toilet but you won’t be able to convey complex idea. Most definitely, you won’t be able to write a poem (or the equivalent idea of a poem) in a language you’ve learned from a phrase book. Although programming language books are more akin to grammar books but in terms of me actually learning the language, it feels more like a phrase book.

In my experience, the most effective way to learn a new programming language is to start a project. Have in mind what app you want to build and start by learning how to build it every step of the way. I find that if I have a clear start and finish and an objective to go with it, I am better motivated and retention is many times better. Objective is also a good mechanism to help focus the attention. It may take you down the path of random jumping from topic to topic but I can see a clear path to the end. Of course, it is not always permissible to learn in this manner. It may be due to work environment, or schedule, or many other reasons. Regardless, learning by building a project is still the best option to take if that is an option open to you.

Now, I just need to come up with an idea for an app…

If there is an app you want to see written in Swift? Head on below to tap on the contact link to get me to write it in Swift.

—Swiftloc signing off.