How Significant Is Apple’s Swift Language for Programming?


At its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced the introduction of a new programming language that has big implications for the way developers create apps for iOS and OS X devices. Swift, created by Apple’s Chris Lattner, is intended as a faster, more effective way for developers to build apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Apple’s Swift website describes writing code in Swift as “interactive and fun.” The company says that the language’s “syntax is concise yet expressive, and apps run lightning-fast.”

Wired’s Cade Metz (rather enthusiastically) reports that Swift will “instantly remake computer programming,” because it’s built for the average programmer. Swift offers a tool called Playgrounds, which will effectively enable people to teach themselves to code. But even better, Swift is fundamentally simpler and easier to use than Objective-C, the language that developers currently have to use to build iOS and OS X apps.

Metz writes that that’s what gives developers an incentive to use Swift immediately: “The larger point here is that such an enormous number of programmers have an immediate reason to use Swift. Today, hundreds of thousands of developers build apps for iPhones and iPads using a language called Objective-C, and due to the immense popularity of Apple’s consumer gadgets, these coders will keep building such apps. But Swift is a significant improvement over Objective-C — in many respects — and this means the already enormous community of iPhone and iPad developers are sure to embrace the new language in the months to come.”