iOS Simulator Screen shot 2 Jun 2014 19.46.26

Apple has introduced a brand new programming language alongside a brand new version of Xcode.

Swift is a big deal for developers. The language includes loads of features third-party developers have been asking for. It sits alongside Objective-C and C, meaning developers can interchange between languages in the same project.

Swift includes type inference, generics and multiple return types and much much more. Swift will enable Apple developers to create new games without worrying about Objective-C cruft that has built up over the last decade.

The new language integrates with a new development feature of Xcode, called ‘Playgrounds’. Playgrounds is a testing ground that renders developer code in realtime. Developers can jump in and out of game time, for example, whilst typing.

Apple claims Swift brings all of these new realtime development features without bearing any additional cost. In many ways, Swift acts like a modern JavaScript language but runs natively on the device. Developers can start submitting apps written in Swift from day 1 of iOS 8’s and Yosemite’s public release.

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40 Responses to “Apple announces new Xcode, ‘Swift’ programming language”

  1. Sven Lücke says:

    I wonder what the parrallels to are. Even the logo looks quite alike


  2. I don’t know if I should be thrilled or pissed. I am a teenage developer who has been learning objective-C for a month (well I tried a few month before and gave up and picked it up after the last exam). And I borrowed a few books to learn about it and paid a online course to learn Objective-C. Now apple is releasing a new language. I was like ..seriously..? I just learnt a part of it and there is a new one???????????


  3. I’m so happy to see this. Could never get into Objective-C. This Bracket in Bracket in Bracket thing drove me crazy. But i will give Swift a chance :)


    • bojennett says:

      I know other people who felt this way, but frankly, I don’t understand why this was so hard for people to grasp, compared to thing arrow thing arrow thing arrow thing. I mean, it’s the same problem just different syntax. I could see it as being a problem if you decided to do development without using the XCode IDE, for example, but seriously that’s the only real problem with it.

      Once I figured it out, I have no problem going between this mechanism for object element finding and C++/PHP/Perl/etc. It’s just a different way of saying the same thing.

      But, hey, the only constant is change. Perhaps it was time.


  4. I’m excited, it looks way easier than Objective C and Cocoa.


  5. lhwagner says:

    Looks like this Forth development system, first released in 1997 (and trademarked):


  6. Neal Dreher says:

    Yea where is it in iBooks? Maybe I’m not searching for the right keywords???


  7. can’t find the book in iStore…anyone know the link?


  8. bojennett says:

    I personally don’t get it. The thing i *liked* about Objective-C was that it was “C”. I have written apps that use SQLite, and I could just link right into it. No need for learning some new framework that was SQLite for some new language. C#, for example, requires you use a C# inspired SQlite. Documentation was not as easily available for the C# version as it is for the ubiquitous C version.

    In the grand scheme of things, I don’t really use older, native C libraries, but the idea that I could just plop in C-code whenever I wanted and C libraries whenever i wanted was great to me.

    I simply have no idea why this would be “better”.

    But, I guess if you are a 20 year old now who started programming 5 years ago using some of the new scripting languages, this makes sense. As much as I would like to think that “real programmers should learn C”, I dont’ want to sound like the luddites who still are mad at compilers because everybody should be coding in assembly language.

    “The only constant is change”, right?


    • Marcel Brown says:

      It sounds like you’ll be able to continue using Obj-C and C alongside Swift. So best of both worlds, it sounds like.


      • bojennett says:

        Yeah, that’s what I need to figure out. I don’t quite see how I can mix and match C-code in the same source code file as swift as they are so different. It “looks” like the C-code would have to be isolated into its own “.h/.cpp”.

        If i can mix and match the way I could mix and match Objective-C 1.0 and 2.0, great – I can still do things the way I used to, but now slowly start taking advantage of “@syntheize” for example.

        Time will tell.


  9. drtyrell969 says:

    God let’s hope the debacle that is Objective-C has numbered days.


    • bojennett says:

      That’s a religious statement. The facts say otherwise. Lots of incredible apps have been written using Objective-C. I mean, if it was all about the languages, shouldn’t everybody have moved to Android apps by now? I mean, Java is “so much better” of a way of doing things over that idiotic “C” and its derivatives, right?


      The language was fine. It took some initial getting used to, but once you figure it out, it is actually quite clean and nice. Especially if you compare it to some of the monstrosities added to C++, like templates.

      The language syntax is but one of many issues with doing development. And I dont’ think it’s been some boat anchor keeping people from writing apps… it isn’t like people were “I just want to write a cool app, but Objective-C is so hard and unwieldly”.


  10. thejonty says:

    What’s the best way to learn a new language like Swift? I only currently do web programming (in my spare time) – HTML/CSS and a bit of javascript, but I want to venture into app development for iPhone/iPad and so learning Swift would seem like a good way to go.


  11. Im not a developer so pardon my ignorance, but will swift do anything for people that write apps for iOS and android. As far as can people use swift to write android apps? if not will this be a game changer as far as less people writing android apps?