Apple unveil its own programming language

June 2, 2014

Apple has this evening launched a new software development language called ‘Swift’. Objective-C is used to write many Apple apps today, but its history dates back to 1983 and many in the industry believes its beginning to show its age. Apple wants iOS and Mac OS app developers to consider it a tomorrow’s successor to C and Objective-C and its today’s companion. According to Apple’s vice-president of software engineering, Craig Federighi who showed off some of the new features in Swift at today’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, it is safe, easier to work with and most of all, modern. Federighi also promised that Swift will beat Objective-C hands down when it comes to performance, and showed off some benchmark figures to prove it. According to Federighi, Swift contains several safeguards against programming errors, and it is also able to automatically optimise code as well as simplify complex constructs common in Objective-C, making development faster and easier.I will be seeking opinion of some fellow programmers on Objective-C whom I bet are likely to dislike “Swift” because the language appears to enforce proper software engineering principles in a different way in my opinion.

From the look of things, Swift, like Java or C++, is an object-orientated coding language designed for the re-use of common features for faster development at the expense of flexibility. Swift supports some programming possibilities Java and C++ developers might be familiar with like Generics, but more importantly, Apple claims that it feels “more natural to read and write” in the new language. Swift is completely native with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch interfaces and it is built with LLVM compiler according to Apple. Apple has released documentation for developers to begin learning about the new language, but new apps aren’t likely to be written in Swift until the next release of Apple’s Xcode integrated development environment, which is currently in beta form.The company promises that the code can run alongside Objective-C code to smooth the transition for existing apps, as Swift shares the same run-time as apps built with the older language.Apple also demonstrated a ‘Playground’ feature for Swift programming in Xcode – essentially a sandbox – that allows developers to view changes to an app as they edit code in real-time.

Contador Harrison