Sams Teach Yourself Swift in 24 (Learning Lab)


Author: BJ Miller
Publisher: Sams Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-13-443125-3
Copyright © 2016 by Pearson Education

Contents at a Glance


HOUR 1: Introducing the Swift Development Environment

HOUR 2: Learning Swift’s Fundamental Data Types

HOUR 3: Using Operators in Swift

HOUR 4: Working with Collection Types

HOUR 5: Controlling Program Flow with Conditionals

HOUR 6: Understanding Optional Values

HOUR 7: Iterating Code with Loops

HOUR 8: Using Functions to Perform Actions

HOUR 9: Understanding Higher Order Functions and Closures

HOUR 10: Learning About Structs and Classes

HOUR 11: Implementing Class Inheritance

HOUR 12: Harnessing the Power of Enums

HOUR 13: Customizing Initializers of Classes, Structs, and Enums

HOUR 14: Digging Deeper with Properties

HOUR 15: Adding Advanced Type Functionality

HOUR 16: Understanding Memory Allocation and References

HOUR 17: Using Protocols to Define Behavior

HOUR 18: Using Extensions to Add Type Functionality

HOUR 19: Working with Optional Chaining

HOUR 20: Introducing Generics

HOUR 21: Understanding Protocol-Oriented Programming

HOUR 22: Handling Errors

HOUR 23: Adding Interoperability with Objective-C

HOUR 24: Functional Thinking in Swift


At Apple’s yearly World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June 2014, Apple announced a new programming language called Swift that the company had been developing since 2010. This was a huge announcement; Objective-C had been the primary language of choice for developing most Mac and iOS apps for many years. The excitement surrounding this language was palpable. Twitter lit up with tweets about Swift, domain names with Swift in the title were being purchased left and right, and within 24 hours of the announcement, more than 300,000 copies of Apple’s Swift iBook had been downloaded. People were ready for change.

But a new language brings not only syntactic differences but also idiomatic differences and new conventions. Swift is not just an object-oriented language, but it introduces features gleaned from other languages, such as C#, Haskell, Ruby, and more. Touted to be “Objective-C without the C,” Swift has evolved so much over the past year that it is difficult sometimes to see any similarities. Swift builds upon familiar concepts from Objective-C but includes a more modern, safer syntax and multiple paradigms such as object-oriented, functional, imperative, and block structured, as well as reintroducing itself at WWDC 2015 as a protocol-oriented programming language.

Swift is officially at version 2.0 but is still evolving, and even as this book is being written, more changes are entering beta. With that said, this book is current as of Swift 2.0 and Xcode 7. If there are changes that you find in these examples that do not work as described or with screenshots, please check Apple’s release documentation and electronic versions of this book as they can get updated a lot faster than the printed book you may have in your hands. Also, all the code examples from this book are available and will be kept up-to-date in the GitHub repository:

Swift is already proving to be a great language and as of its release is compatible with iOS 7 and up. Swift can also be written for apps running on OS X Yosemite and later. Updates are coming from Apple rather quickly, so if something is not available that you need or if something is not working as expected, consider filing a bug or feature request at

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is designed for a beginner-intermediate level programmer. Even advanced programmers who are not yet familiar with Swift can benefit from this book. You do not have to have a background in software development to make your way through this book, although it may help. If you are not familiar with software development whatsoever, you may benefit from more fundamental books first, although with the examples inside this book, you may be able to follow along just fine.

In this book, I assume you have a passion to learn about Swift and to develop apps for the Mac and/or iOS platforms. I also assume that you are willing to carve out time in your schedule to take this book seriously and learn the concepts herein.

What Should You Expect from This Book?

This book is a guided tour of the Swift programming language, discussing some of the ins-and-outs of Swift, best practices, do’s-and-don’ts, and more. It is not just a language reference. By the time you complete this book, you should have a firm grasp on many of the concepts in Swift including the syntax to make them come to fruition.

Note: Code-Continuation Arrows and Listing Line Numbers

You’ll see code-continuation arrows Image occasionally in this book to indicate when a line of code is too long to fit on the printed page.

Also, many listings have line numbers and some do not. The listings that have line numbers have them so that I can reference code by line; the listings that do not have line numbers are not called out by line.

You should not expect to be able to write award-winning iOS or Mac apps right out of the gate by just reading this book alone, as this book is not meant to be a one-stop-shop for learning everything about app creation. Such a book would be thousands of pages long. Rather, there are more components to writing apps, particularly the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, which deserve books in their own right (and many exist). You should write apps via careful planning and development, and depending on how many different technologies your app includes, you may need more resources.

You also do not need to read this book from cover to cover before attempting to write apps of your own using Swift. Feel free to experiment along the way with your own apps, or use this book for reference if you are stuck in an app of your own and need some guidance.

Also remember that this book is current as of Swift 2.0 and Xcode 7, so please understand that changes may be made after this book has gone through final edits and been printed. Code examples will be updated as progressions in the Swift language and Xcode environment change. They are available on GitHub at


This book is dedicated to my wonderful family and friends who have been
incredibly supportive throughout this entire process. Thank you all for your love and

About the Author

BJ Miller is an iOS developer for DXY Solutions, a mobile, web, and design consultancy in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. BJ earned his B.S. in Computer Science from Baldwin-Wallace College (now called Baldwin-Wallace University) in Berea, Ohio, the town where he grew up. His latest career path encompassed large-scale enterprise network administration, SQL database administration, and Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Project Server administration and integration as a contractor for the United States Department of Defense, with all the Microsoft certifications that come along with that. Before that, he spent several years in LAN engineering, designing and implementing network infrastructure, as a Cisco Certified Network Associate.

BJ began iOS development in 2009 after not having programmed for a few years, and he developed a passion for the platform and the Objective-C language. Now, his love has expanded to include Swift, and there is still yet room in his heart for more. In 2013, he released his first app into the iOS App Store, called MyPrayerMap, as a simple tool for managing prayer requests.

When he is not writing in Objective-C or Swift for either work or this book, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, reading, listening to music or podcasts, and playing The Legend of Zelda (any game on any system will do). He also co-organizes the Cleveland CocoaHeads Meetup with Daniel Steinberg,, and organizes a submeetup of that group called Paired Programming Fun, which is a casual meetup where the focus is on Test-Driven Development (TDD) in Swift in paired-programming style. BJ often presents iOS-related topics at CocoaHeads and also speaks at other conferences such as MacTech, CocoaConf (Columbus, Ohio), and CodeMash v2.0.1.5. He also blogs from time to time at and is on Twitter as @bjmillerltd.


I would like to thank my wife and two boys for putting up with me while I wrote this book...again. While this book was largely an update versus brand-new content, it was still an exhausting process. I am excited to spend more time with you. I would also like to thank whoever invented coffee; may the Lord bless your soul and keep you. Speaking of the Lord, it is pretty close to not humanly possible that this book would have been completed in time, with all the other obstacles going on in my life, without his loving arms around me and my family; thank you, Jesus.

I would also like to thank my friends, coworkers, and the rest of the Mac/iOS community for all their love and encouragement. If I had not been introduced to someone, who introduced me to someone, who introduced me to Daniel Steinberg, I might not have pursued iOS development further and I might not have written this book. If you ever get the chance to meet that man, your life will be enriched.

Also, I cannot go without thanking the fine people who helped this book come to be: Trina MacDonald (Acquisitions Editor), Chris Zahn (Senior Development Editor), Olivia Basegio (Editorial Assistant), Valerie Shipbaugh (Technical Editor), Paula Lowell (Copy Editor), and Betsy Gratner (Project Editor).

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