WWDC 2016: Apple’s Swift 3.0, star of the show

Developers, developers, developers? Apple's got 'em...

Apple, iOS, OS X, Mac, Swift, open source
Credit: Apple Holic

The number of jobs requesting Swift in the last full year versus the previous full year climbed by 600 percent, says tech recruitment firm, Toptal. Interest is likely to increase all over again following WWDC 2016.


Apple is expected to introduce Swift 3.0 at WWDC 2016 and to release it in Fall. One of the more dramatic goals in this iteration is portability, to “make Swift available on other platforms and ensure that one can write portable Swift code that works properly on all of those platforms,” the Swift Programming Language Evolution pages reveal.

Also read: Apple’s open source Swift will open the HomeKit door

Apple created Swift as a language to build apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch. Developers liked it, so Apple introduced it as open source at the end of 2015, and continues to empower the open source community with the code, even down to offering commit access.

Rapid proliferation

Interest among developers and people wanting code is climbing fast, and while Toptal’s 600 percent figure is an anomaly as it only reflects how rapidly the language has spread from nowhere to somewhere in a relatively short time, the figures do suggest that if you build apps for iOS or OS X, you need to use Swift. It's no great hardship -- Swift was the most-loved programming language of 2015, says StackOverflow.

Breanden Beneschott, Toptal co-founder and COO said: "Swift is very quickly gaining ground as the language of choice to develop for iOS, given the push from Apple and how a modern language was quickly well-received by the ever- growing ecosystem of new developers that will be doing their first apps on iOS.”

Despite Swift, JavaScript is becoming ubiquitous with “more requests overall from companies for JavaScript, compared to any other language,” he added.

Developers who have worked with Swift seem pleased with it. The engineers behind the Trulia mortgage tool built their app in “just a few months using Swift and traditional Web principles,” they said.

Macs for business

Swift is (I think) part of Apple's attempt to exploit iOS marketshare by providing an environment developers can use to build apps for use everywhere.

That’s a smart move as it means developers in the iOS-led enterprise space will be more likely to use Swift, enhancing the status of the Mac in enterprise IT when they do, as Swift is already designed to build code for all Apple’s key platforms. This will mean the notion that Macs are not fit for enterprise use will be exposed as a fantasy fit only for platform evangelists.

Apple’s moves to make the language open source and the huge support it has attracted from IBM attracting enterprise users and others. For example, PerfectlySoft, Inc., has offered server-side support for Swift since the language became open source.

Digital transformation of enterprise IT

The massive growth in mobile is a key advantage for Apple.

The size of the developer community has increased to match the proliferation of platforms, creating opportunities for developers across the planet.

These incredibly motivated developers, coming out of the tech hubs in places like Brazil, India, Pakistan, Russia and beyond, are far more open to learn a new developer language. (Toptal points out there are now more developers requesting work from India than the US).

As we inch toward WWDC 2016, Apple appears to hold an ace in its hand, one which makes it even more likely developers across the planet will tune into the event, if only to learn about Swift 3.0.

These developers will include many who have not worked with Apple’s platforms, who may in future choose to do so using Swift. Or perhaps will use Swift for other platforms.

When they do, this should translate into exciting new solutions for every Apple user and hitherto unseen levels of parity across desktop, notebook and mobile devices across multiple platforms, given that Swift code on any platform should be relatively more easy to bring to iOS or the Mac.

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This story, "WWDC 2016: Apple’s Swift 3.0, star of the show" was originally published by Computerworld.

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