What is Swift?
After four years of work, Apple has recently introduced Swift, its new programming language for developers to create applications for Apple computers running OS X and devices running iOS (the iPhone, iPad, or iPad Touch). Apple has designed Swift as a substitute language for Objective-C.
Swift represents a turnaround from Objective-C’s syntax. It uses ideas from programming languages such as C#, Haskel, Python, and Ruby, which are popular among young programmers who like working in modern languages.
Apple has made an effort to ease the transition from Objective-C to Swift, keeping it connected with current Cocoa frameworks and making it completely binary compatible with Objective-C libraries now in use.
The result is that app developers can begin working with Swift according to their own timetable, enabling them to write modules that should integrate properly with any Objective-C code currently being used in a project.
Apple says, “Swift is an innovative new programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. Writing code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and apps run lightning-fast.”
Why Was Swift Required?
With Swift poised to enable developers to work more quickly on their apps, Apple can expect to see more developers writing code for its platform.
The more new developers who come on board thanks to Swift’s ease of use, the more interesting and innovative apps will be available to Apple users.
Not only that, the user should anticipate that apps will run better on their devices. Any kind of computationally intensive task such as animated videos and games will run better.
What is Good About Swift?
Swift will streamline application development, saving developers time, effort, and resources, which should translate into better apps being created for less money. Programmers can get more work done in fewer lines of code because the language is more concise.
The new “Playgrounds” feature in Swift lets developers type in some code and then immediately see the results. This kind of interactivity lets a programmer watch code running and see its progress before bringing it into the main project. It will be great for writing algorithms and testing them through various iterations.
For Apple, releasing Swift looks like a clever move to boost the primacy of its iOS and OS X operating systems while helping hold back Android apps.
Apple will maintain the upper hand over other mobile device platforms like Android because it can more easily link hardware and operating system efficiency for optimized performance.
Benefits of Swift
There are a number of benefits for developers using Swift:
– Developers no longer need to annotate their variables with type information
– Swift’s compiler is more adept at finding bugs related to type when optimizing code
– Control flow matches against Boolean expression, element lists, and ranges
– Improved syntax is cleaner, making it easier for developers to handle strings
Will Objective-C Die?
It’s not likely that Objective-C will die anytime soon. After all, every application that’s currently available in Apple’s App store was developed with Objective-C, where there are about 1.2 million apps made by about 9 million developers around the world.
We shouldn’t expect that all those developers will immediately make the transition to Swift, especially since many organizations have devoted significant resources toward updating and maintaining apps built with Objective-C. It’s also worth keeping in mind that there are many learning resources available for Objective-C, which is always a boon to developers.
Practically all software written for Apple devices is developed using Objective-C, which programmers designed in the 1980s. Shortly after its development, Steve Jobs began using Objective-C at his NeXT computer company, whose products later turned into the current iterations of Mac computers and iOS devices.
Objective-C is based on the renowned C language and is popular amongst developers because you can build fast-running code with it and there is a large user base. However, developers find that Objective-C is more difficult to use than more modern programming languages like Python or Ruby.
These interpreted languages help programmers develop apps more efficiently, taking care of many tasks automatically in the background instead of making you do them yourself. Now, Apple’s new Swift language will give developers automated garbage collection. This process keeps track of which data stored in memory is no longer needed and gets rid of it automatically. So, thanks to Swift, developers won’t have to devote so many resources to managing memory in their apps anymore.
What’s more, developers won’t need to put in so much effort defining the variables they use in their code, thanks to Swift’s “inferred typing” feature. The programming language will also enable the use of more precise “closures” to write short segments of code that will gather data for the application on an ongoing basis. This gives Apple software developers a more modern approach to building apps more efficiently and with less effort.
How can OpenXcell help?
If your organization is interested in developing a new app for use on Apple’s OS X computers and iOS devices and would like to take advantage of the company’s new Swift programming language, the experts at OpenXcell are standing by to help you with all your app development needs. Get in touch.
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