What's so swift about Apple's Swift? Better developer access, for one


The launching of Apple's Swift, a new programming language, has led to some contentious debate over its usefulness to the application development world.

On one side, in support of Apple's efforts, there are those who believe Swift will give programmers the ability to develop new apps in an easier environment, but on the other hand, some say it could ignite an influx into the market of poorly designed apps.

Apple launched the beta version of Swift at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. The full ready-to-use version is to be released this fall. Apple believes the move will give more access for programmers and developers to get their app onto the iOS platform.

Swift is "like Objective-C without the bulk of C," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, at the conference.

It should make it easier for young programmers to learn the development process and run iOS apps. According to Frank Bentley, a research associate at Yahoo Labs at MIT, the move will give more students access to the means needed to get apps created and published.

He said, in the past, that iOS "tends to trip up some students" and he believes with Swift, a number of those barriers have been eliminated.

But there are those who believe Swift could be a detriment to the overall development of apps, since anyone can get access to the necessary tools to develop an app and then roll it out without the proper testing.

One of those people is Appster Chief Technical Officer Martin Halfor, who believes it will be the "second coming" of Microsoft's Visual Basic, which launched in 1994 and ushered in a flood of new programs and apps that he says had little value to the market.

"My prediction is that we'll have a similar deluge of poor quality apps developed by teenage boys in their bedrooms for a few bucks an hour," he says in an interview with Smart Company. "While Apple will vet out most of these from getting onto the App Store, it means that the ability to create cheap and cheerful iOS apps has now arrived."

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