Swift is undeniably one of the most intuitive and robust programming language coming from Apple’s innovation lab. Although it presumably will replace Objective-C as the default language for iOS and OS X programming, it would be wise to not consider it as a simpler or ‘lite’ version of Objective C, but rather as a plug-in replacement for it.
Moreover, created for building applications for iOS and Mac, Swift opens up a whole new world of possibilities for developers. As demonstrated at WWDC, Swift has been able to showcase exceptional performance in comparison to its contemporary Objective-C (sometimes even outperforming it). Swift is up to 2.6 times faster than Objective-C.
Another notable point is Swift being compiled to native ARM or Intel code, just like Objective-C; besides it uses equivalent ARC (automatic reference counting) as used by Objective-C (instead of a garbage collector). Not only does it contribute in enhancing its performance, it allows Apple to ship iOS devices with half the RAM of equivalent Android and Windows Phone devices.
Swift was introduced with much fanfare at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Developed in association with the tech giant IBM, Apple strategized to collaborate, so as to bring over 100 MobileFirst apps to enterprise clients using Swift, where each is targeted to address a specific industry requirement or opportunity.
One of the key inspiration behind the creation of this intuitive programming language was to accelerate app creation (making app writing faster and easier) – making perfect sense for an entity whose platforms are largely powered by apps. Here are some of the better-known brands who are relying on Swift for their apps:
Apple since its launch has been very optimistic about the prospect of Swift in facilitating a huge leap forward for the Apple ecosystem, offering developers more opportunities to build secure apps using the latest technology.
One of the key features of Swift programming language is its support for Type Interface. With Swift, even though not intensely typed, it is considered type safe. That means even on failing to declare a variable type, but set it to be one that’s already been declared; then Swift concludes that it is the declared type) – thereby ensuring your codes are safer, while diminishing the risk of crashes.
Most important innovation…..
Swift’s most significant innovation can be attributed to the addition of Playgrounds to Xcode. This allows Apple (using Xcode 6 and Swift) to expose more of the LVVM compiler to its developers. Not only does Xcode 6′s Playgrounds allow developers to see what the code does, it in fact allows them to swiftly try out sections of code to understand the need of the requirement – without leaving the IDE. What makes Swift all the more fun is that there is no need to compile code, run builds or debuggers; for you’ll find it all there next to the code you’ve just written.
The way forward with Swift 2.0
The WWDX 2015 brings in Swift 2 that generates faster code across builds. It’s interesting to note a slight shift in Apple’s tradition of being known for its closed attitude and restrictions, as Apple Senior Vice President Craig Federighi quoted Swift to be the next big programming language that “we will all do application and systems programming on for 20 years to come”. Apple aims to enhance the app-making process with new Swift 2 features:
- Swift to be open source
- Error handling model for providing clear, expressive syntax for catching and throwing errors.
- Built-in availability checking to make it easy to build the best possible app for each target OS version.
- Improved syntax features for writing more expressive code while improving consistency across the language.
- APIs in Swift even easier to read and maintain.
- Inferred types make code cleaner and less prone to mistakes
- Memory is managed automatically, and you don’t even need to type semi-colons.
Future of Swift
With most enterprises integrating mobility into their business model, and considering the incredible pace at which the apps are downloaded (@850 downloads a second via the app store) resulting in more than 1 billion apps downloads annually; Swift is a huge leap forward for the iOS ecosystem, which experts believe can redefine enterprise app development.
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Swift is going to have a huge impact on the client-side development in the IT industry, considering the prevalence of Macs in educational institutions, wide use of MacBooks at most developer conferences, coupled with more than 800 million iOS devices sold till date. And with Swift eventually replacing Objective-C, it could be your default language for programming, possibly to the extent of even displacing Java as a powerful enterprise coding requirement.
Why Shift to SWIFT for iPhone Apps Development