Date: Thursday, June 5th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Announcement, Apple, conference, Developer, Software, WWDC
One of the more unexpected announcements at WWDC, given the audiences reaction, was that Apple would be introducing a new programming language called Swift. Craig Federighi commented on how Objective-C had been the backbone of Mac and iOS development for 20 years, and with the phrase, “What it would be like if we had Objective-C without the baggage of C…?”, the developer crowd seemed to express its stunned approval in ooooooo’s and ahhhh’s until finally erupting in applause. According to Federighi, “It totally rules!”.
Continue if you are nerdy and excited by this sort of thing.
If you aren’t a programmer, you may not understand what this is such a big deal, but Apple promises that it will make developers’ lives easier. Apple claims that Swift is faster, safer, and more modern by simplifying code and adding new features. The demo for Swift highlighted a new feature called “Playgrounds” which allows developers to see their program actually running within a programming window and implementing changes immediately updates the behavior of the program. There will be a lot of talk about it in the coming months. Apple made a number of resources available immediately so developers could get their hands dirty. A beta of Xcode 6 is downloadable if you have a Developer account with Apple, however it must be the full paid version. I have a basic account and it only allowed access to the current version. Beyond that, Apple offers a free iBook covering the Swift Programming Language and additional documentation here if you’re interested.
If you’d like read an analysis by someone who knows a thing or two about programming, check out Matt Baxter-Reynolds‘s article over at ZDNet, where he expresses some doubt that Swift may not be all it’s cracked up to be. However, it appears one developer managed to soak up Swift and create a clone of Flappy Bird with it in 4 hours. Could this mean it could become easier to learn to program for the Mac and iThings? Do features like Playground hint that software updates to fix bugs and add features will have quicker turn-around times? We’ll have to wait and see how quickly the new language is adopted. The official release of Swift is expected to come out at the same time as OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.