Swift – Elegance over Cs



Apple’s new industrial level programming language has received appraisals for being as easy to type as a scripting language. For some, scripting languages cause a small frown on the face and an automatic reply something along the lines of “scripting languages such as Javascript are not real languages” or “any language like Python which is not strongly typed is bounded to failure in the long run”. The good news is Apple has done what they do best, which is design an interface around tested and state-of the art IT concepts in computer programming in a marvelous way. The documentation is like a crystal – you can look clear through it and when you test it out, it’s solid! The bad news is that my C#, C++ and Java buddies are too conservative to try it.

Apple has a reputation of going out of its way to make life ‘different’ for their users and developers. While going against the current of other competitors, from the strict protocol to upload an app on the store, to holding the App market restricted for a number of years (unlike the Android App Market), and even moving the ‘close’ button to the left side of a window, it seems that global trends such as freemium and crowdsourcing are finally being considered by the Tech Giant down to its core – software loved by its users.

As hardware is getting better at passing performance testing and software is becoming more elaborate by trying to include more of the world every year than ever before, some old-school developers have sunk into a state of desolation. The dread of learning a C-based language, sometimes even to the extreme of the awfully quirky expressions of Objective-C, has made upcoming developers scratch their head in dismay.

Graphical methods for producing prototype applications such as AppInventor2 from MIT, or Code.org are great appetizers for the uninitiated…”But we are initiated, aren’t we Bruce?” Bottom line is that there will generally be a compromise between choosing a simple-syntax, slow operating programming language such as Python and a strongly-typed object oriented language such as Java, C and other.

In fog of confusions that is developing for the web, front-end or back-end, mobile or desktop, I can give a strong recommendation for Apple’s new Swift programming language. It holds the promise of cross-platform integration like never before. An IOS developer will be virtually unrecognizable from a OS X developer, while the characteristics of the language carry on ‘Swiftly’ from old-school C developers, to newly initiated or upcoming developers. Apple has breached the gap by offering free professional IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software for all Mac users.

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