Apple unveiled Swift, a new programming language developed by the company’s developer tools team during the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.
The Swift programming will be an addition to Apple’s Objective-C platform which is used in the iOS tool kit. Developers using iOS and Mac tools will need to learn syntax to start working on Swift with their existing coding. The Swift programming language was in development from July 2010 and had “only a few people knowing of its existence,” according to Chris Latner, Director of Apple’s Developer Tools department. The project became a major focus for the Developer Tools team in July 2013.
“I hope that by making programming more approachable and fun, we’ll appeal to the next generation of programmers and to help redefine how computer science is taught,” said Latner
According to Latner, the developers of Swift drew inspiration from Objective-C, Rust, Haskell, Ruby, Python, C#, CLU and other languages during the design of the syntax and structure. Bret Victor’s theories gave the developers the ideas to add an interactive “Playgrounds” feature for Swift in XCode for making the coding more learnable. Lightable, an interactive programming environment received $300,000 funds on Kickstarter in 2012.
Developers will see a significant increase in performance and will be 3.9x faster than the algorithm in Python and Objective-C. Swift will be seen as a platform for developing web apps which is dominated by Mozilla and Microsoft and can run on several platforms. Apple’s first iPhone had only web based apps and native apps were introduced in iOS 2.0. A programmer has already built a clone of Flappy Bird in less than nine hours using Swift which highlights the simplicity of the new programming app.
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