Apple wants its developers to use Swift, its new programming language, to develop iOS and OS X apps, but will developers take the bait?
Apple took it as an opportunity to showcase the upcoming features of OS X and iOS at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco. The company also announced its new programming language, Swift, which is expected to become the main programming language for iOS and OS X.
The introduction of Swift means that Objective-C, which is currently the main programming language used by Apple developers, will slowly become redundant for app development. Objective-C is Apple's own version of the C programming language and some developers believe that it is quite slow and frustrating. Experts are of the opinion that developers will find Swift easy to understand and exciting to use.
"As always, when we see that developers are excited about a new language or platform, we work quickly to make sure Parse can support that momentum. We're excited about Swift because it brings a whole host of new language features to iOS and OS X development. Swift's type inference will save developers a ton of typing and generics will reduce runtime errors by giving us strongly-typed collections," says Fosco Marotto, a Parse software engineer.Parse is a cloud app platform that lets users quickly add a scalable backend to launch a mobile or web app.
Apple says that using Swift will be easy, especially for people who have already worked on Objective-C. However, using Swift may have its own drawbacks as well. With the help of Swift, developers will be able to make apps only for Apple. It's definitely good strategy for Apple as developers will focus more on the Apple ecosystem. However, Swift may make developers neglect other platforms.
The actual advantages and benefits of adopting Swift are not very clear. Swift can be used with Objective-C libraries as well as third-party libraries such as Parse. As Swift is a new programming language, community support, learning literature and tutorials will not be available very soon. Programmers who have not used Objective-C may find it difficult to understand Swift.
Swift may not seem attractive to a section of the software development community. However, with its introduction developers will have no choice but to learn how to use it as Apple may soon show the door to Objective-C.
If Swift is successful then it can revolutionize the way in which iOS and OS X performs in the near term. Swift will be in beta stage until iOS 8 is released later this year.