In June, Cupertino-based Apple Inc. revealed plans to open source its new programming language, Swift. The company made good on that promise this week, by officially declaring the language open under the Apache License.
The developer community welcomes the move, as it allows them to contribute improvements and optimizations. With the language now in the hands of coders everywhere, there is far less reliance on the mother-ship for updates, patches, and permissions.
For students, Swift is a great way to make acquaintance with modern programming. An open source Swift means they will apply their newly-honed skills to a broader range of platforms. Apple even encourages future engineers to bless the Cloud with solutions coded in Swift.
Swift is safe, fast and expressive. Its syntax is easy to grasp and use, and it plays well with Objective-C, allowing users to blend their existing code with the newer language, headache-free. Tools are another major perk of the Swift ecosystem. Playgrounds, for example, enables Xcode to evaluate each statement and display results as updates are made, without the need to compile and run.
Swift.org offers the freely-downloadable Xcode Swift 2.2 Snapshot along with a couple of signature snapshots targeting Linux fans. Newcomers are offered a Getting Started section, documentation, ways to get in touch with the Swift community, and various contribution options – from simple bug reporting to submitting original ideas as part of the Swift Evolution Process. Get coding!