Build your own QuestionBot

Happy WWDC! It’s that magical time of year when developers working on Apple platforms have all their dreams come true!

Well, okay, maybe not, but we get a very fun week of new tech and demos and excitement about the platform.

If you’re watching all of this (or watching the people watching it and wondering what the heck is all the fuss about), we’ll probably have some words about it this week. But before that all kicks off, I threw a little playground up for you to experiment with, especially if you’re new to Swift, Apple’s programming language for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and AppleTV apps.

QuestionBot

There’s a really fun exercise in Develop in Swift Explorations called QuestionBot. In it, you build the brains of an app to answer whatever question a person might type in. You can make it super complicated, or very, very simple.

We use this exercise during our Teaching Develop in Swift online class, and it’s usually impressive how different the apps can be.

Well, now, even if you don’t have a Mac, you can play around with QuestionBot. I created a REPL on replit.com with some simple instructions so that you, too, can create a functioning QuestionBot. Try it out:

http://replit.com/@mhanlon9/questionbot

There are two files, just tap on the Code tab and you’ll see main.swift and QuestionBot.swift.

Those show you the brains of our app.

The fork button

If you want to edit the code, just tap on the Fork button, which will create a copy of the code. You need to create a free replit.com account or link it to your Google, Github, or Facebook account, if you have one.

If you want to change QuestionBot’s behavior: how it asks questions and how it answers them, look in the QuestionBot.swift file.

If you want to change something else about the program, maybe limit it to only allowing you to ask three questions, or only letting people ask it questions on a Thursday, you would edit the main.swift file.

Coding for All

I really like replit.com because you can use it with any device, and it’s a great way to get an introduction to Swift before jumping in with an iPad or Mac.

I’ll be recording a short video introducing the QuestionBot on replit.com in the near future, but in the meantime, good luck coding!

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