Constructing a Textual content-to-speech App on iPad

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In WWDC 21, one of many bulletins that caught my consideration was the large adjustments of Swift Playgrounds. Not solely are you able to study Swift utilizing Playgrounds, the brand new replace permits builders to create apps solely on iPad and submit them to App Retailer straight.

Swift Playgrounds is a good way to study to code proper on a Mac or iPad. With Swift Playgrounds 4, coming later this yr, customers will be capable of create the visible design of an app with SwiftUI. App tasks will be opened and edited in Swift Playgrounds or in Xcode, and once they’re prepared, customers can construct an actual app and submit it on to the App Retailer proper from their iPad.

I’ve been ready for its launch for a number of months. A pair weeks in the past, Apple lastly launched Swift Playgrounds 4 permitting us to construct each iPhone and iPad apps proper on iPad.

In the event you already personal a Mac, you might marvel why it’s an enormous step for Apple to carry iOS app improvement to iPad. Aside from publishing on-line programs and ebooks, I additionally arrange numerous in-person workshops for absolute newcomers to expertise iOS app improvement. One of the frequent questions is: Can I write code and develop apps on iPad as a result of I don’t have a Mac? Previously, the reply is clearly no. Now, with the model 4 launch of Swift Playgrounds, newcomers can begin studying Swift & SwiftUI with no Mac.

Let’s check out Swift Playgrounds 4 and see how we will develop a easy text-to-speech app on iPad.

Making a New Challenge Utilizing Swift Playgrounds

Assuming you’ve downloaded and put in Swift Playgrounds 4 in your iPad, it is best to see the next display whenever you first launch the app.

swift-playgrounds-4

It now comes with a brand new challenge template known as App. To develop an app on iPad, select the App template on the decrease left nook. Swift Playgrounds then create a brand new challenge for you. You may faucet and maintain the challenge icon to rename the challenge. For me, I rename it to HelloWorld.

Tapping the challenge icon will carry you to code editor. Proper subsequent to the code editor, it’s the preview pane, which renders an instantaneous preview in your code. By default, it already generates a code snippet that shows an icon and a Hiya, world message.

swift-playgrounds-swiftui

Let’s Write Some Code

Chances are you’ll be skeptical about learn how to sort code utilizing the software program keyboard of iPad. The truth is, the highly effective Xcode-like code completion makes the entire coding expertise so satisfying, even should you use the software program keyboard.

Let’s attempt to write some code and you’ll perceive what I imply. We’ll modify the code of ContentView to create a button. First, we have to take away the generated code in physique. To take away the VStack and its embedded views. You may merely faucet the opening curly bracket and Playgrounds robotically selects the block of code. Select Delete or hit the delete button to take away the code block.

swift-playgrounds-select-vstack

Subsequent, attempt to add a button to the app UI. Once you begin typing Button(ac, Playgrounds instantly reveals you some code strategies. You may hit return to decide on the default choice.

swift-playgrounds-auto-completion

After that, you possibly can hit the return key once more. Playgrounds will generate the code skeleton of the Button view for you. It’s precisely the identical because the auto completion characteristic of Xcode.

swift-playgrounds-swiftui-button

You may proceed to jot down the code like this:

The auto completion characteristic may be very responsive. When you sort the dot (.) key, the app immediately shows all of the obtainable modifiers of the view for you. Simply faucet the one you want. This could prevent fairly quite a few key strokes.

swift-playgrounds-add-fonts

After the change, Playgrounds ought to render a purple button within the preview pane.

swift-playgrounds-purple-button

Including a Stack View and Textual content Discipline

Subsequent, we’ll add a textual content area proper above the Communicate button. Earlier than including the textual content area, we’ll first embed the button in a VStack view. In contrast to Xcode, it doesn’t include a context menu for embedding a view in a stack view.

swift-playgrounds-stack-view

On iPad’s Playgrounds, you possibly can sort VStack to create a vertical stack view. To wrap the Button view within the VStack, you faucet and maintain the shut curly bracket (}) of the stack view. Then drag it till the VStack view embeds the entire Button view.

swift-playgrounds-vstack

So as to add the textual content area, declare a state variable for holding the consumer enter in ContentView like this:

Then insert the next code earlier than the Button view:

When you made the adjustments, it is best to see the textual content area with a placeholder.

swift-playgrounds-create-apps

Implementing the Textual content to Speech Function

The iOS SDK has built-in APIs for builders to include the text-to-speech options in iOS apps. All you want is to import the AVFoundation framework:

Within the closure of Button, insert the next code:

To synthesize speech, we create an AVSpeechUtterance occasion with the textual content enter. We then specify the voice sort and create an AVSpeechSynthesizer occasion to talk the textual content.

swift-playgrounds-text-to-speech

Now it’s prepared to check the app. Within the preview pane, sort some textual content within the textual content area and faucet Communicate. The app ought to rework the textual content into speech. Please be sure to disable the silent mode throughout your testing.

Including Photographs

The app already works completely. Nevertheless, to make the app look higher, let’s add a picture above the textual content area. On the highest left nook, faucet the navigator icon to open the challenge navigator. Then faucet the Add new file icon to carry up the choice menu.

swift-playgrounds-adding-images

If you wish to add pictures from Picture library, select Picture. Alternatively, you possibly can select Insert from… to pick a picture from iCloud drive. When you added the picture, you will notice the Property part within the challenge navigator.

swift-playgrounds-image-asset

In the event you’re including the picture from Picture library, the default picture identify is ready to Picture Asset. You may faucet and maintain the file to carry up the Rename possibility. Rename the file to hellocat.

Now change over to ContentView. Insert the next code earlier than TextField:

Optionally, you possibly can add a heading earlier than the Picture view like this:

Your ultimate deliverable ought to appear like this:

swift-playgrounds-image-view

Working Your App Challenge

In contrast to Xcode, the app preview on Swift Playgrounds is all the time interactive. You may already take a look at the app within the preview pane. That stated, if you wish to run the app and see the way it seems on iPad, you possibly can faucet the Play button.

Swift Playgrounds will launch the app and run it in full display mode. To cease the app and change it again to the code editor, you possibly can faucet the Swift icon within the standing bar. Then you possibly can faucet the Cease button to terminate the app.

swift-playgrounds-run-app-project

Abstract

Swift Playgrounds 4 delivers an enormous enchancment for aspiring builders who’re excited by studying iOS improvement however with no Mac. As you possibly can see on this tutorial, we will construct an iOS app solely utilizing an iPad. The built-in code editor and the auto full characteristic present a pleasant coding expertise.

For many who personal a Mac, there may be most likely no motive why you’ll develop apps utilizing Swift Playgrounds. Nevertheless, for newcomers who solely acquired an iPad and never able to put money into a brand new Mac, this new replace of Swift Playgrounds opens up lots of alternatives for them.

If you already know any iPad customers who need to study to code, be at liberty to share this tutorial to them. I’m excited to jot down extra tutorials and present them learn how to construct apps solely on iPad.

To study extra about SwiftUI, you possibly can additional take a look at our Mastering SwiftUI e book.



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