Earlier today Apple made good on its promise and released source code for its Swift programming language to the public. To go along with making Swift open source, Apple’s senior vice president of software Craig Federighi has sat down for a pair of interviews to discuss the benefits of open souring Swift and what’s in store for the future…
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In an interview with The Next Web, Federighi touted that Apple believes Swift is the next major programming language and the one developers will program in for the “coming several decades.” That’s a bold statement on the Apple executive’s part, but he believes that the combination of the langauge’s ease of use and versatility will lend itself nicely to developers.
We think Swift is the next major programming language; the one people are going to be programming in for the coming several decades. We think it’s a combination of it being a great systems and apps programming language that’s fast and safe, but also being really expressive and easy to learn.
Regarding the future of Objective C, Federighi said that Apple will continue to support the language for both itself and the developer community. “I don’t think anyone should have to fear for the future of Objective C,” Federighi said. For new developers, however, he encourages everyone to start with Swift.
Federighi went on to note that the main goal of an open source Swift is letting everyone adopt it and know everything about it. If a university wants to revise their core curriculum and start teaching programming in Swift, it being open source really makes that an easy decision for them to make,” he explained. Federighi says that Apple has no concerns about where it doesn’t want developers to adopt Swift. “The more Swift the merrier,” Federighi said.
In an interview with Ars Technica, Federighi elaborated more on the idea of Swift being taught to up and coming developers, both those learning in a university and own their own.
“We’re working with educators, and many professors are very interested in teaching Swift because it’s such an expressive language that’s such a great way to introduce all sorts of programming concepts. And enabling it as open source makes it possible for them to incorporate Swift really as part of the core curriculum.”
Federighi also elaborated that another reason Apple open sourced Swift is to increase interaction with developers. The Apple executive noted that many of the changes made in Swift 2.0 were things that the company learned in interacting with early adopters of the platform. Now that Swift is completely open source, Apple hopes that interaction will deepen.
“When you look at many of the language features that we announced in Swift 2.0 that are now out in terms of error handling and the guard statements, availability, controls, and so forth, these were all based on that dialogue that’s been ongoing with developers who’ve been adopting Swift in their real applications. With Swift being developed out in the open in open source, we think it’s going to deepen that interaction considerably.”