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By Scott Fegette | Friday, June 13, 2014

Swift: A New Programming Language

Apple's Swift: A New Programming Language

Swift is a new programming language developed by Apple for iOS and OS X app development, which builds on the best parts of many popular languages like Objective-C, Ruby, Python, C# and more. Announced at Apple’s annual WWDC developer conference this year, Swift is the culmination of years of “skunkworks” development alongside optimizations made to Apple’s SDKs and developer tools.

Swift is a forward-looking take on programming languages that doesn’t attempt to be backwards-compatible with older languages like C and Objective-C, although it will look familiar to veteran coders. In Apple’s words, Swift “is the first industrial-quality systems programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language.” And Swift truly does take a fun approach to modern coding in many ways, simplifying code syntax, memory management, rapid development, and much more. It even adds advanced data types that don’t exist in Objective-C, like Tuples (a grouping of multiple values into a single, compound value without the overhead of a full-blown object). For new programmers, Swift’s friendly environment also makes learning code fun: The new Xcode Playgrounds is a real-time, hands-on environment that lets you see the final results of your code as you type.

For more seasoned Apple developers, hearing Swift positioned as the replacement for Objective-C may seem concerning, but don’t fret—the two languages should co-exist for quite some time to come. Many enterprises, software developers, and projects of all kinds rely on Objective-C codebases today, so you don’t need to rush to convert all your projects. Take your time migrating to Swift, and prepare for fresh lynda.com courses covering Swift development later this summer.

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