Swift: What You Need to Know
If you present an experienced carpenter with a project, he can quickly tell you which instruments and materials he will need to complete the job. The same is true for programmers. Present a programmer with a specific project – i.e. build a mobile app, create a software, fix a website, etc. – and the programmer will tell you what he needs.
“A programming language is a tool to solve a problem,” says CBT Nuggets, a leader in online education for programmers and IT professionals. The more tools you have on your workbench, the more problems you can solve. And despite being relatively new, Apple’s Swift language is quickly becoming a highly sought after tool.
Here are some things you need to know:
The Origins of Swift
In 2010, Apple began its development of Swift, a new programming language that rivals (and will eventually replace) Objective C. It was officially introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2014. Then, just last year, Swift 2.0 was announced at WWDC. The biggest change to Swift was the announcement that Apple is committed to making it an open source language.
You May Have a Head Start
When app developers learned that Swift would replace Objective C, many programmers immediately began stressing out. But there’s really no reason to worry. If you know Objective C, you already have a head start. Swift is built on the foundation of its predecessor and the learning curve won’t be as steep as you think.
“The best news stemming from this is that you don’t have to ‘unlearn’ anything in order to start making sense of Swift,” says Curtis Franklin, tech writer for InformationWeek. “With new Apple hardware around the corner, that’s great news for developers who need to have apps up and running ASAP.”
Experimenting Happens on the Playground
One of the neatest features of Swift is that it has an interactive environment called a “Playground.” With this tool, you can see the different effects of specific changes as you input the code. This prevents the need for jumping through a bunch of hoops just to test out small variances. It’s little features like these that show Swift has major potential.
Swift is Going Open Source
As mentioned, Swift is now open source. This is fantastic news for the programming community as it signals a balance of power and priorities.
“This means that Swift will no longer only be about what makes the most sense for Apple,” Franklin points out. “It will be about what makes the most sense for the Swift community. And that is, almost certainly, a very good thing.”
Now is the Time to Learn
While Objective C hasn’t been done away with quite yet, it eventually will be fully replaced by Swift. With this being said, now is the time to start learning this modern programming language. Don’t wait until you’re forced to learn, or it may be too late.
Is Swift in Your Future?
Swift may not be the most versatile language, but it sure can add some value to your career as a programmer. Learn more about it today!