Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language built on the best of C and Objective-C for iOS, OS X, tvOS, and watchOS. It proves to be effective as it is able to eliminate the constraints of C compatibility. Writing Swift code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and apps run lightning-fast. Swift possesses safer patterns for programming and it adds modern features to make programming easier, more flexible, and more fun.
Swift has the potential to become the de-facto programming language for creating immersive, responsive, consumer-facing applications for years to come. With optimized compiler for performance and the language for development, it generates faster code across the board, both for release and debug builds. The Swift compiler is also faster, even while adding new Fix-it suggestions such as where you can use let instead of var. Comments can include Markdown syntax to add rich text and embedded images that display in Xcode’s Quick Help. A new assistant shows your Swift API in a “header-like” view. And new syntax features combined with improvements to the Cocoa frameworks and Objective-C will make your code more expressive, and even safer.
Swift programming language has not only received widespread acceptance but has also become one of software developers’ favorite tools. Here are 10 reasons to get started to work with Swift now:
- Easier To Read:
- Easier To Maintain:
Swift drops the two-file requirement. Xcode and the LLVM compiler can figure out dependencies and perform incremental builds automatically in Swift 1.2. As a result, the repetitive task of separating the table of contents (header file) from the body (implementation file) is a thing of the past. Swift combines the Objective-C header (.h) and implementation files (.m) into a single code file (.swift).Xcode and the LLVM compiler can do work behind the scenes to reduce the workload on the programmer. With Swift, programmers do less bookkeeping and can spend more time creating app logic. Swift cuts out boilerplate work and improves the quality of code, comments, and features that are supported.
- Swift is Safer:
Optional types make the possibility of a nil optional value very clear in Swift code, which means it can generate a compiler error as you write bad code. This creates a short feedback loop and allows programmers to code with intention. Problems can be fixed as code is written, which greatly reduces the amount of time and money that you will spend on fixing bugs related to pointer logic from Objective-C.Unlike in Objective-C, in Swift, the optional types and value types make it explicitly clear in the method definition if the value exists or if it has the potential to be optional (that is, the value may exist or it may be nil).To provide predictable behavior Swift triggers a run-time crash if a nil optional variable is used. This crash provides consistent behavior, which eases the bug-fixing process because it forces the programmer to fix the issue right away. The Swift run-time crash will stop on the line of code where a nil optional variable has been used. This means the bug will be fixed sooner or avoided entirely in Swift code.
- Swift Is Unified With Memory Management:
Swift unifies the language in a way that Objective-C never has. The support for Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) is complete across the procedural and object-oriented code paths. The huge memory leaks that a programmer can have in Objective-C are impossible in Swift. A programmer should not have to think about memory for every digital object he or she creates. Because ARC handles all memory management at compile time, the brainpower that would have gone towards memory management can instead be focused on core app logic and new features. Because ARC in Swift works across both procedural and object-oriented code, it requires no more mental context switches for programmers, even as they write code that touches lower-level APIs — a problem with the current version of Objective-C.Automatic and high-performance memory management is a problem that has been solved by Swift and it has proven it can increase productivity. The other side effect is that both Objective-C and Swift do not suffer from a Garbage Collector running cleaning up for unused memory, like Java, Go, or C#. This is an important factor for any programming language that will be used for responsive graphics and user input, especially on a tactile device like the iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad (where lag is frustrating and makes users perceive an app is broken).
- Swift Requires Less Codes:
Swift reduces the amount of code that is required for repetitive statements and string manipulation. Swift adopts modern programming language features like adding two strings together with a “+” operator, which is missing in Objective-C. Support for combining characters and strings like this is fundamental for any programming language that displays text to a user on a screen. The type system in Swift reduces the complexity of code statements — as the compiler can figure out types. Swift supports string interpolation, which eliminates the need to memorize tokens and allows programmers to insert variables directly inline to a user-facing string, such as a label or button title. The type inferencing system and string interpolation mitigate a common source of crashes that are common in Objective-C. Swift relieves you from bookkeeping work, translating into less code to write (code that is now less error prone) because of its inline support for manipulating text strings and data.
- Swift is Faster:
Swift code performance continue to point to Apple’s dedication to improving the speed at which Swift can run app logic. The enhancements also enabled Swift to outperform C++ for the Mandelbrot algorithm by a factor of a mere 1.03.
- Fewer Name Collision With Open Source Projects:
One issue that has plagued Objective-C code is its lack of formal support for namespaces, which was C++’s solution to code file-name collisions. While as, Swift provides implicit namespaces that allow the same code file to exist across multiple projects without causing a build failure and requiring names like NSString (Next Step — Steve Jobs’ company after being fired from Apple) or CGPoint (Core Graphics). Ultimately, this feature in Swift keeps programmers more productive and means they don’t have to do the bookkeeping that exists in Objective-C. You can see Swift’s influence with simple names like Array, Dictionary, and String instead of NSArray, NSDictionary, and NSString, which were born out of the lack of namespaces in Objective-C.With Swift, namespaces are based on the target that a code file belongs to. This means programmers can differentiate classes or values using the namespace identifier. This change in Swift is huge. It greatly facilitates incorporating open source projects, frameworks, and libraries into your code. The namespaces enable different software companies to create the same code filenames without worrying about collisions when integrating open source projects. Now both Facebook and Apple can use an object code file called FlyingCar.swift without any errors or build failures.
- Swift Supports Dynamic Library:
The biggest change in Swift that hasn’t received enough attention is the switch from static libraries, which are updated at major point releases (iOS 8, iOS 7, and so on), to dynamic libraries. Dynamic libraries are executable chunks of code that can be linked to an app. This feature allows current Swift apps to link against newer versions of the Swift language as it evolves over time. The developer submits the app along with the libraries, both of which are digitally signed with the development certificate to ensure integrity (hello, NSA). This means Swift can evolve faster than iOS, which is a requirement for a modern programming language. Changes to the libraries can all be included with the latest update of an app on the App Store, and everything simply works.It reduces the initial size of an app as it is loaded into memory, since the external code is linked only when used.Dynamic libraries in Swift make it possible for programming language changes and improvements to propagate faster than ever before.Users no longer need to wait for iOS point releases to benefit from any performance or reliability improvements Apple introduces into Swift.
- Swift Playgrounds Encourages Interactive Coding:
Swift’s newly introduced Playgrounds are a boon to experienced developers. Playgrounds enable programmers to test out a new algorithm or graphics routine, say 5 to 20 lines of code, without having to create an entire iPhone app.Apple has added inline code execution to Playgrounds to help programmers create a chunk of code or write an algorithm while getting feedback along the way. This feedback loop can improve the speed at which code can be written because the mental model that a traditional programmer needs can be replaced with data visualizations in Playgrounds. Programming is an iterative process, and any strain that can be reduced or used to complement the creative process will make programmers more productive and free them to solve bigger problems, rather than focusing on boring details that traditional compilers have imposed on programmers.
- Swift Is A Future You Can Influence:
Objective-C isn’t going anywhere, but it won’t see as many major changes, thanks to the introduction of Swift. Some Swift features will likely migrate over to Objective-C, but Objective-C’s legacy in C means it can absorb only so much.Swift provides the development community a direct way to influence a language that will be used to create apps, embedded systems (if Apple ever licenses an embedded framework and chip for third parties), and devices like the Apple Watch.
Apple is focused on providing the best consumer experience and is building only those features deemed worthy of attention. The team supporting the development and evolution of Swift is very interested in how the language can be improved to better support the development community that builds apps and systems using Swift.