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Swift for Programmers Book Review

This is one of the best laid out programming books I have read in a while. The way it starts out providing summaries of Swift features found in other programming languages, Swift features that eliminate common programming errors, the list of Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, new key features in Xcode 6, special characters, numeric and boolean types, operators, conditional and loop statements, compound assignment operators, Classes, access modifiers, properties, initializers, methods, value and reference types, and making use of built in frameworks is perfect for developers from any other language.

By the time you are done the first few chapters you have gained a great deal of knowledge about Swift that is familiar from your experience with other languages. Below is a list of all the chapters included in the book.

1. Introduction to Swift and Xcode 6
2. Introduction to Swift Programming
3. Introduction to Classes, Objects, Methods and Functions
4. Control Statements; Assignment, Increment and Logical Operators
5. Functions and Methods: A Deeper Look; enums and Tuples
6. Arrays and an Introduction to Closures
7. Dictionary
8. Classes: A Deeper Look and Extensions
9. Structures, Enumerations and Nested Types
10. Inheritance, Polymorphism and Protocols
11. Generics
12. Operator Overloading and Subscripts
13. iOS 8 App Development: Welcome App
14. iOS 8 App Development: Tip Calculator App
A. Keywords
B. Operator Precedence Chart
C. Labeled break and continue Statements

After the initial introductory chapters the book digs deep into different topics by giving each major language feature a chapter of its own. The chapter names are reflective of the topics covered.

Object-oriented programming topics are covered throughout the book when topics being covered create the right context to cover them. However, chapter 10 is dedicated to covering Inheritance, Polymorphism and Protocols. This chapter does a good job of explaining how Swift is different than most object-oriented languages because it does not have a common superclass from which all other classes inherit basic capabilities.

The last two chapters of the book give us a glimpse into developing iOS 8 applications. Each chapter builds a small application and covers a bunch of topics at a high level. They also introduce storyboards and the Xcode interface. These two chapters are from the book iOS 8 for Programmers: An App-Driven Approach with Swift, which gives you an idea of whether or not you would like to read a book which takes you through building a bunch of small applications to introduce you to iOS 8 development.

The book includes code samples you can download, but one of the things I liked best about the book is the amount of code found in the book and the format in which they were presented. I could carry the book around and read it without feeling like I had to run the code samples on my Mac.

The samples include the results of running the code in the book. I know a lot of books do the opposite, making you type everything in, which is effective for the beginner, but this format is much more appealing to me.

The downloadable samples are very well organized by chapter and then labeled with the same figure name used in the book, making finding the really easy. I upgraded to iOS 8.3 and Xcode 6.3 and all the samples easily upgraded. I didn't have any problems with any of the examples before or after the upgrade.

Another thing I like about the book is the sidebars throughout the book. They have 5 different types of them including Good Programming Practices, Common Programming Errors, Error-Prevention Tips, Performance Tips, and Software Engineering Observations. They are usually 1 to 4 sentences, and are related to the material being covered in the section they are placed.

I saw that there is now a Swift Fundamentals LiveLessons available by the author. I have not seen this course, but have seen other LiveLessons, and they are usually pretty good. There are a few sample videos available on the publisher's web site.

The author's writing style and the layout of the book makes this an easy cover to cover read. The way the topics are covered also makes the book a good reference. There is no fluffy filler. The authors get right to the point of a topic and stick to it until it is thoroughly covered.

All in all I think this book is the perfect place for the experienced programmer of C#, Java, Objective-C, or C++ to get started with Swift.


Swift for Programmers (Deitel Developer Series)

Swift for Programmers (Deitel Developer Series)

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.