Apple's new Swift programming language is an interesting language to study and learn, plus an opportunity to watch a new language evolve.
It’s rare to be able to learn and use a new software programming language with an instant audience of tens of thousands of developers creating apps used by millions of people. Google did create and launch the Go language in 2009 which has increasing adoption rates. However, Apple’s recent launch of Swift has a built in audience of app developers interested in a simpler more powerful language than what they currently use, Objective-C, Cocoa, and Cocoa Touch.
Swift is the perfect language to investigate today then watch as it evolves. Chances are very good Swift will influence other languages and be influenced by changes in other languages. In that sense, Swift is an opportunity to experience a programming language as a living entity.
What Makes Swift Special?
Apple’s new language, announced in June 2014, does what you would expect: it improves on the current software tools developers use to build applications for phones, tablets, and computers that run iOS, Apple’s operating system.
However, the Swift programming language is far more ambitious than a simple replacement tool. Swift uses technology called LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) to run Swift programs on almost any computer and operating system. Like the Java language, Swift aims to be “write once, use anywhere.” Unlike Java, Swift benefits from the latest thinking about how to make this happen at the lowest levels of any computer, as close as possible to where the software instructions of a programming language are converted to ones and zeros.
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