Taking a step ahead of its competitors, Apple has fulfilled the promise made earlier in this year to the developers of releasing Swift programming language under the license of open source Apache 2.0.
The Swift team of Apple has posted source code and standard library objects and functions. This is a great news for developer fraternity as now Swift can run on servers and many other use cases, opening new horizons of innovation for Apple developers and expertise beyond ‘simply’ developing apps for iOS devices.
Swift is actually a modern programming language useful and much user-friendly to inexperienced programmers compared to Objective C and Apple’s earlier programming languages. It supports a range of features resulting in improved quality code, including safe memory, consolidated typing and apparent namespaces to prevent name conflicts. It has been indicated by Apple that the programming language for Apple software is evolving. It has now turned out to be the promising language for developing apps that run on Android, Windows, Linux, and other operating systems.
The Swift experts of Apple has released versions of Swift that can run on OS X and Linux systems. Anyone with appropriate technical skills are free to develop versions that run on other platforms too.
By making it open source, Apple; in a way; is also inviting developers to improve the Swift language by contributing to the language. How the community is going to respond to Apple’s this move is yet to be seen.
For those who are interested to understand more about Swift can check out the documentation and other details on the Swift.org site. The code is hosted on a GitHub repository.
Swift Contains UIKit and AppKit Components
Apple is making the code public for the language compiler along with the Swift standard library. UIKit and AppKit frameworks will continue to be exclusive to iOS and Mac app development. Although the ‘core libraries’ published by Apple for Swift also contain a few of the necessary elements from UIKit and AppKit, for instance a networking stack, common date types, threading etc. As per Apple these features are in fact planned for official release in the unannounced Swift 3, and this has been included now for feedback in the early development stages.
Win-Win for Developers
This switch of Swift to open-source has given developer community as a whole more confidence in the language. Even if, Apple in future move away from Swift, it would continue to be developed by others and existing codebases would be supported with enhancements.
Way to Brighter Future
Swift language has already been accepted by Microsoft, which in February solicited RemObjects Software’s Silver, a compiler that allows Swift code to run against .NET, Android, Java and Cocoa APIs. Google may not be that much eager to support Swift as it may adversely impact adoption of its Go Programming language, although both of them has their own strengths. It’s time to expect new evolving Swift in future as now it belongs to everyone, its future is of course going to be bright.