Inventing a new programming language is something very few companies can do. Apple made a bold move last June by unveiling their very own language. Apple’s Swift programming language has only been available for a year, but many iOS and OS X developers are reporting favorable impressions. As interest in the new language rapidly accelerates so does the demand for Swift skill. Apple came up with the Swift programming language that offers a much more modern approach for building OS X and iOS applications. The features have grabbed the attention of iOS and OS X developers worldwide. Swift is steadily climbing the charts in language popularity indexes like Redmonk and accounting for 340 repos in GitHub. Clearly, developers are supporting Swift because they like what it brings to the table.
So, what is Swift?
Swift is a programming language for iOS and OS X apps that builds on the best of C and Objective-C, without the constraints of C compatibility. Swift embraces safe programming patterns and had additional modern features that make programming easier, more flexible and much more fun. Swift is friendly to new programmers and is an industrial-quality systems programming language that is expressive and pleasurable to work with. Swift contains an innovative feature that allows programmers to experiment with Swift code and see the results immediately, without the overhead of building and running an app.
Swift will not only supersede Objective-C when it comes to developing apps, it will also replace C for embedded programming on Apple platforms.
Why Swift is more appealing to younger programmers/developers?
Apple’s swift appeals to younger programmers as it is similar to languages like Ruby, Python than Objective-C. Just like in Python, it is not necessary to end statements with a semicolon in swift. On the other hand, in Objective-C it becomes absolutely necessary to end a statement with a semicolon and forgetting this would cause errors. If you are good in Python or Ruby, then Swift should be a walk in the park for you. Apple is making it easier to learn Swift by creating an ‘Interactive playground’ for developers.
How popular is Swift?
Swift became available as part of the Xcode tools in September and within a month the tools were downloaded over 11 million times. A recent report by RedMonk indicated that Swift is growing at an unprecedented rate and is quickly climbing the list of the most popular programming languages.
A report by RedMonk in January has stated that Swift has entered the top 25 popular programming languages. It took just five months to reach the top 25 list, a feat that took Google’s Go language approximately five years to achieve. Swift’s popularity has been further boosted with its adoption by numerous international universities, schools and other educational institutions who are including Swift as a part of their courses.
Developers appreciate Swift:
We know Swift is a hit amongst iOS and OS X developers. So what exactly do they love about Swift? Let’s find out:
According to Michael Patrick Ellard, an independent iOS developer who teaches classes on Swift at the University of California, “Swift is much easier for beginners to learn than Objective-C.” He finds that in Swift, the syntax for functions, methods, and closures are similar, making it much easier for beginners to read and write code.
Wendy Wise, a developer at application development firm, Magenic, concurs by saying, “The Swift language is not only easy for the non-programmer to learn, but it’s also a fairly easy transition for Objective-C developers.” She also feels that the language itself is more ‘human-readable’ than many other development languages and at the same time provides the power required to accomplish even the most complex functions.
According to Russ Miller, a mobile solutions architect at Magenic, Swift increases the ability to write apps with immutability and find it to be very helpful when working with APIs called by unknown consumers. Miller also likes generics in Swift, which enable developers to avoid duplication by writing flexible, reusable functions and types that can work with any type of generics in Swift.
Users on Hacker news are excited, as with nln writing even a non-developer feels comfortable to learn how to build apps for iOS.
Who is using Swift?
Getty Images – Adopting Swift within Stream
Raphael Miller, Manager of Application Development at Getty Images, told during his interview with AppleInsider that he first got started with Swift at WWDC, participating in a two-day hackathon. After implementing Swift, Miller noticed that while senior developers experienced in Objective-C could quickly get started with Swift, the new language is also accessible to junior developers. He described Swift as being a great performer as a language, which is the biggest advantage when it comes to developer productivity. According to him, Swift lets you “do more with a lot less code” and complete “mundane stuff quicker.”
Swift at American Airlines
According to Phillip Easter, who manages American Airlines mobile app, Swift’s feasible benefits include higher quality code that’s easier to maintain along with related performance enhancements. Matt Klosterman, iOS developer at American Airlines, began investigating Swift immediately after WWDC, as it provided him opportunities to try out the new features in the company’s existing app. Like Getty Images, American Airlines is also following an “incremental approach” in its adoption of Swift.
Swift for SlideShare in LinkedIn
The introduction of Apple’s Swift last coincided with the conceptual prototyping of the new SlideShare app by LinkedIn. Andi Kristinsson, Product Manager at LinkedIn mentioned that the SlideShare team was very excited to work with Swift as soon as it was unveiled at WWDC.
Francisco Meza, SlideShare’s Engineering Manager, has a good impression of Swift’s performance and had commented, “I must say that I am very satisfied by runtime performance of Swift based on the comparison of performance tracking metrics for similar pages of both SlideShare’s app (Swift) and LinkedIn’s flagship app (Objective-C).”
Kristinsson also added, “the crash rate of the SlideShare app is excellent and much better than in other apps our team has developed before”, when talking about code quality and stability.
Swift has the potential to become the de-facto programming language for creating immersive, responsive, consumer-facing applications, for years to come! It’s high time to make the switch to the more approachable, full-featured Swift for iOS and OS X app development.
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