A "Swift" change - what do you need to know about Apple's new choice of language
In the tech universe, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is the highlight of this month. Of course, we predicted a lot of new features, some shiny gadgets, and amazing apps, but what happened was unexpected. Besides all the usual stuff, one of the world's largest smartphone and gadget makers decided to startle everyone by introducing Apple's new programming language - Swift. The announcement wasn't a huge deal for the consumers, but the programmer community received the news with mixed feelings.
While some of the developers have welcomed the change expecting more control and ease of coding, others are not very happy about abandoning the Objective-C baggage they have been carrying for years now. We know it may have gotten you years to reach the level of expertise you now boast, but change is an inevitable part of this fast-paced industry. As a programmer, you should be able to embrace change and utilize the benefits of newer technology. So, before you overrule Swift as an unnecessary change, let's take a look at how it is supposed to make a difference in the first place.
The "Swift" benefits
The first thing you need to know about Swift is that it is not very different from the language you are used to. As a matter of fact, Apple officials like to call it "Objective-C without the C". If you have mastered Objective-C, you most probably won't find it hard to master Swift. In fact, the ease of coding will help you attain a higher level of expertise in a shorter period of time.
Since Swift is a language dedicated to app development, the officials also claim that apps built on Swift will run much smoothly than those built on Objective-C. However, those who don't want to completely abandon the C-ship can actually make the Swift code run along Objective-C in the same app.
While you can pretend to overlook all the benefits Swift is designed to offer, one development feature that no real programmer can dislike is the innovative "Playgrounds". Playgrounds are designed to offer a real-time testing ground to the developers. Using this feature, you can render the code in real time and get a preview of what is being programmed. As a result, app developers can jump in and out of the app while writing the code. You can actually write and test fragments of code, and avoid the time and trouble involved in recompiling the whole code.
Living up to its name, Swift definitely influences the speed as well. While we haven't gotten the chance to go hands-on with the new language yet, the officials claim that Swift is 3.9 times faster than Python and nearly 1.3 times faster than Objective-C.
The final words
Swift seems like a solution of a multitude of issues iOS programmers have been facing so far. It is a change that must be embraced rather than avoided. With this new language, Apple also introduced a new Xcode 6. Apps based on the new language and Xcode won't be on stores until this fall. However, you can download the Xcode 6 Beta to get started with Swift.