Swift: Who is Apple’s new programming language for?

“Of all the speculation about what Apple would announce at WWDC, no one expected a new programming language,” Michael E. Cohen writes for TidBITS.

“The developers in the keynote audience reacted to Swift’s unveiling with surprise and delight, and developer response since then has been largely, if not unreservedly, positive,” Cohen writes. “One developer has pointed out to us that the most positive responses that he’s seen tend to come from programmers who are active users of Objective-C, currently the programming language of choice for apps on Apple’s platforms; those less steeped in Objective-C development projects are somewhat more skeptical.”

“Not that Swift won’t have an impact on how you work and play with your Mac, but Swift’s impact will be… depend on how many developers adopt Swift and what they develop when they do adopt it,” Cohen writes. “On June 1st, nobody outside of Apple had heard of Swift. Twenty-four hours later, tens of thousands of developers were buzzing about what they planned to do with it. Change comes swiftly these days.”

Read more in the full article here.

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15 Comments

  1. Of course Objective-C users were happy about Swift. Objective-C is HORRIBLE.

    Users of other languages aren’t so much skeptical as they are just meh. After all, Swift brings features that have been in modern programming languages like C# for years.

    1. Objective-C is a fine language – I very much prefer it over C++, and it has capabilities that you won’t find in many other languages, including dynamic binding, delegation, protocols and categories. It’s very nice.

      Not to say that Swift isn’t also very nice, but both have a place, and I expect both to be around for years to come.

    2. Way to troll, troll. Lets just assume you are totally ignorant of this but of course Apple having features that other languages may have had in the past is not the point. The point is that Apple has included these features in awesome intuitive ways. They’ve made a simple yet very powerful language that can be used much in the same way as a scripting language. However, it still very powerful and can out perform several other languages.

  2. As long as Swift can be used to get the most out of Apple hardware, that is all the counts. Developers on other platforms will cry no matter what Apple does.

  3. I’ve been wanting to learn to code Mac and iOS applications. I’m currently a very advanced PHP developer, but I just never found the mental capacity to digest and learn Obj-C. This new Swift language lowers this barrier and I’ll finally reach this life goal. I’m certain that many people feel the same way.

    This was a brilliant move by Apple. By opening up development at a lower entry point, it makes the platforms even more attractive, essentially attacking the competition (Android, Blackberry, Windows) on yet another vector. A very smart move.

    1. I work in Objective-C and Ruby every day. When I saw the Swift demonstration that included a map construct I was pretty excited!

      The authors contention that the success of Swift depends upon developer adoption is pretty blind. Apple is going with Swift. Ergo, iOS and Mac development will move to Swift, period. Apple sees all crash reports. Apple knows what Objective-C didn’t prevent and has addressed that in Swift.

    2. Amen to that!
      All power to you
      After decades of designing in FM Pro and coding FMP apps with few difficulties, I turned my attention to Xcode and Objective C. Non comprendre!
      Once the dust has settled after the Swift announcement, at age 65, I will revisit programming. I’m not trying to become an app developer. I just relish the intellectual challenge and using my noodles until they cease to work!

  4. Can you make a window in ONE LINE of code in Swift like this:
    Screen 1, (0,0)-(1920,1080), And then
    Plot x,y
    I programmed in BASIC,C, and Ojective C, and to me, the LEAST amount of code is the way to go.
    It takes 3 TIMES as much code to to something in Objective C, as it does in C.
    Anyone know if there’s easy to use graphics, and sound commands INCLUDED in the lanuage ? Otherwise, it looks like you HAVE to program in Objective C, to work with Cocoa.

    1. Alas, the days of simple BASIC peeks and pokes are long gone. The Mac was never as easy to code as say a Commodore 64 was. On the other hand, Macs provide a richer experience than the C64 ever provided. It would be nice to have a simple mode on the Mac though. It would be beneficial for youngsters cutting their teeth coding.

    2. Having used objc since 1994, I can tell you the success of iOS and apple software in General is mainly due to it. Basic is just that basic.
      The window you are taking, is done without any code at all.
      We use xib editor and voila.
      Heck a lot is done without writing any code at all in Xcode.
      And that is because objective-c.

  5. Never got past writing a few BASIC programs for chemical analysis instruments, so I know little about C etc.. But it seems to me that having a scripting-level language that compiles to fast, safe and efficient machine language is going to be a huge bonus for the future of IOS / MacOS.

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