At this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple blew developers out of the water with the announcement that the company would be moving away from the decades-long programming language it currently uses. With iOS 8, coders will throw Objective-C out the window in exchange for the easier-to-use Swift programming language. What does that mean for the rest of us? It means better apps with less code glitches and bugs because coders will have an easier time creating programs for us to use. Apparently, Swift has been in the pipeline for almost half a decade.
Apple’s director of Developer Tools Department Chris Lattner recently noted on his personal website that Swift has been in the making since 2010 with only a small group of engineers working alongside him.
“I started work on the Swift Programming Language in July of 2010. I implemented much of the basic language structure, with only a few people knowing of its existence. A few other (amazing) people started contributing in earnest late in 2011, and it became a major focus for the Apple Developer Tools group in July 2013.”
The team also managed to make Swift backwards compatible with the currently existing Objective-C language. So, coders don’t have to go in and rewrite everything in order to switch over to Swift. Instead, they will be able to implement the new language, replacing the old along the way as needed.
From Apple’s Developer website, “You can begin using Swift code immediately to implement new features in your app, or enhance existing ones. New Swift code co-exists along side your existing Objective-C files in the same project, making it easy to adopt.”
Lattner writes that the reason he started working on Swift in 2010 was to make programing more interactive and user-friendly. “I hope that by making programming more approachable and fun, we’ll appeal to the next generation of programmers and to help redefine how Computer Science is taught.”
Maybe Swift will ring in a new era of coding that will become the industry standard for future coders.