A Language for App Developers: Apple Open Sources Swift

December 22, 2015 - 2 minutes read

Apple recently open-sourced Swift, the Apple-brand programming language, allowing developers to apply the language outside the context of iOS app development. Swift has seen runaway success since its debut at the WWDC 2014 developer conference, quickly becoming an essential part of the modern app development company’s toolkit; as well as a solid first language for web and app development programming students. The use of Swift as a general-purpose object-oriented language for app developers was highlighted on the Swift blog alongside the announcement:

For students, learning Swift has been a great introduction to modern programming concepts and best practices. And because it is now open, their Swift skills will be able to be applied to an even broader range of platforms, from mobile devices to the desktop to the cloud.

Swift originally ran exclusively within Apple’s Xcode IDE, as well as Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. It wasn’t until the company announced their intention to make the compiler and libraries open source that it became clear that Swift was not just an iOS app development tool, but a full-fledged heir to app development programming languages like C. In fact, Apple has described Swift as “a replacement for C-based languages.”

Apple has also launched an official Swift blog for the project, which app developers can expect to fill up quickly with useful guidelines and tutorials. Currently, their guide to Swift 3’s API design guidelines and overview of the Swift Linux port set the tone for what will hopefully grow into a supportive environment for the iPad and iPhone developers who stand to gain the most from Swift’s evolution beyond the confines of Xcode. Says the Swift blog:

Everyone is welcome to contribute to Swift. Contributing doesn’t just mean submitting pull requests—there are many different ways for you to get involved, including answering questions on the mailing lists, reporting or triaging bugs, and participating in the Swift evolution process.

For Chicago iPhone app developers and appreneurs, there has never been a better time to take Swift for a ride around the park and see what it can do — and to experience where iOS development is headed.

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