Earlier this month, Apple made good on its promise and made its Swift programming language open source. Following the announcement, Apple’s senior vice president of software Craig Federighi did a pair of interviews to discuss the motivation behind open sourcing the platform and what the future holds. Now, Federighi has joined John Gruber on his podcast The Talk Show to further discuss Swift
Federighi opened the interview by discussing what kind of things Apple has noticed during the first week of Swift being open source. The Apple exec noted that Swift is more active than any other language on Github and that because of this, the Swift team within Apple is more engaged with developers than any other team in the company.
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
Federighi also explained that many teams within Apple are incredibly excited about using Swift. For instance, the iCloud team has started applying Swift to variety of their projects, while the OS X team is also working on converting aspects of the platform to Swift. Specifically, Federighi mentioned the dock and window management tools in OS X converting to Swift. “Teams recognize what’s practical and what’s not practical and find ways to use Swift where they can,” he said.
Much like he did last week, Federighi explained that one of the biggest benefits of Swift going public is that it can now be easily taught in schools everywhere. CEO Tim Cook expressed last week that he believes coding should be taught in every public school in America, and Swift being open source enables that to be a possibility. Federighi also again mentioned that Swift will be the major language for the next 20 years.
When asked about the downsides of making Swift open source, Federighi said that there weren’t many. He explained that Apple has accepted the fact that Swift can and will now be used in all kinds of contexts outside of Apple and that developers are going to do things that aren’t related to Apple’s businesses.
In terms of timing, Federighi explained that Apple knew it wanted to open source Swift, but it wasn’t sure if it would happen this year or next year. Leading up to WWDC 2015, however, Federighi said that the “hunger was great to do it this year.”
At WWDC this year, Federighi made the comment that Swift is Objective C without the baggage, which led to some criticism from developers and fans of Objective C. On The Talk Show, however, Federighi clarified and elaborated on that comment. “What we were able to retain is the literate nature of APIS that Objective C enabled, plus a syntax that is much more concise,” he stated.
The full interview can be listened to on Gruber’s website.