On Open Source Swift

Apple is open sourcing Swift in late 2015 and is going to provide a compiler + libraries for iOS/OSX and Linux!!!

This brings some interesting implications, given that Swift is:

  1. safe via static type inference and use of optionals
  2. fast and is compiled to LLVM bytecode for deployment
  3. scriptable b/c it can also run in an interpreted mode for development
  4. multi-paradigm and borrows heavily from modern developments in Object Oriented Programming, Functional Programming, and Generic Programming
  5. interactive and fun using Playgrounds
  6. concise via a modern, expressive syntax

This means in the very near future using Swift one could:

  1. Develop a native iOS app
  2. Develop a backend on Linux (though unclear concurrency paradigm)
  3. Develop for Android which runs Linux underneath (though Android APIs would have to be bridged)
  4. Develop a web front-end (once somebody inevitably creates a Swift to JavaScript transpiler)

Thus Swift could run everywhere and benefit from a large ecosystem of shared libraries. Having said that, Swift everywhere is probably not a great idea for most companies, but would be a huge plus for tiny teams looking to move fast and build durable things.


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