Apps

App: Swift Playgrounds

Since the iPad is not really a “computer replacement”, the way you get common tasks done is different from what you may be used to. Its not possible to create an iOS app from scratch on iPad – you need to have a Mac for that. And other types of coding might be difficult or hard to complete on a device without a physical keyboard.

The Swift Playgrounds app brings learning of the Swift programming language, to the iPad in a fun way. The aim of the app is to teach the new generation to code, while current coders can use it to brush up on their Swift skills. It has been developed by Apple, who have even modified the existing iOS QuickType keyboard to provide learners with shortcuts to common coding characters (such as { and }). The QuickType keyboard also gains predictions for methods that the user might want to type.

The teaching is done through a series of challenges to strengthen the users’s coding skills. You solve interactive puzzles in the guided “Learn to Code” lessons to master the basics of coding, while additional challenges let you explore code and create programs that are engaging and unique.

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As well as the teaching part, there isa screen which allows you to access a blank ‘playground’ – an IDE without any controls, and just outputs results to the console as you type the code. This is useful for experimenting with Swift and good for using the iPad alongside Xcode on a Mac.

Click here to give Swift Playgrounds a download.

Irfan

App: Run Windows 10 on your iPad

Today’s post will be about an app I found on the app store called “Microsoft Remote Desktop”. A free app that allows you to access your Windows or Mac desktop from your iPad and works in a similar way to TeamViewer or Splashtop remote desktop software.
It is very simple to set up and you’ll be able to interact with the computer through touch – the way Microsoft somewhat imagined you would do with Windows 8/8.1 and then improved it in Windows 10.

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The Microsoft Remote Desktop Assistant app for Windows lets you remote control your pc

 

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop App on your iPad.
  2. Download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop Assistant app on your computer
  3. Run both apps
  4. On the iPad app, enter the username from the assistant screen and your Windows account password to gain access to your desktop
  5. That’s all! You’ll be signed out of Windows on your desktop and a new session will be created on the iPad (picking up where you left off)
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Windows 10 running on iPad – tablet mode

You can close the lid of your laptop too. To exit, sign back in on the PC or close the connection from the iPad.

The app is very stable and you notice very little lag when you’re using it. It’s best if you have a fast internet connection though.

It’s definitely not an excuse for you to forget about your desktop or laptop completely, but its a handy way of getting to it for some light content. Its also cool to show your friends that you can run Windows on an iPad – sort of.

In 2012, I used Splashtop to control my Windows 8 PC from my iPad. Here is the actual image from that time:

Download it for free from the app store today and tell me what you think.

Irfan

How ‘Duet’ is doubling my performance

I introduced a new app in my workflow called ‘Duet’ – also recently talked about it on this blog.

I have been using it with my Macbook in the past weeks and can safely say that it has succeeded in speeding up my workflow.

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Its been very useful for the Mobile Application Development module (the irony!) where I can have Android Studio open on the Macbook, and the emulator open on the iPad. No need to switch windows anymore, or swipe desktops. Its simply a quick glance at the iPad, see the bugs, and correct the code – brilliant!

One of my friends saw this unique way of working and said “Wow” as soon as he saw it. He was quite confused as to how it was working and I explained all about the Duet app to him and he promptly downloaded it (mainly because it would become a paid app the next day!) and started using it. He has a 12″ Macbook and since his screen was smaller than mine, he noticed the biggest difference to his workflow for Android programming. I even showed him the different options you get in the menubar on the Mac.

It’s not perfect though. For example, sometimes it lags and doesn’t keep up with my cursor very well.

If you haven’t tried out Duet, I recommend that you do!

Irfan

App: Learn to code in Swift with ‘Swifty’

During the week, I came across a very interesting app on the App Store called “Swifty“. It’s a great app for computer science students wanting to making apps for iOS.

It trains you in the Swift 2 programming language, which was first released by Apple in 2014. Its a language you can use to make apps – instead of Objective C that was previously favoured.

If you are familiar with Java, C++, C# and the rest, you’ll be able to pick up Swift VERY easily. It covers everything – from basics to closures. I will able to download it and grasp it within minutes. Each section has a tutorial, that you can interact with, and then after each section there is a short quiz.

You can learn through the 3 free chapters, and then unlock the rest with a single in app purchase. It costs only £2.29 to unlock them all, and I recommend you do it because its really easy to zip through the tutorials! £2.29 is nothing compared to how much you can make when you start selling your apps! 🙂

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Search for Swifty on the App Store, give it a download, and check it out!

Irfan