As we all know, Apple’s programming language of choice was Objective-C. And the introduction of Swift can simply be Apple’s way of dropping Objective-C to moving on to a faster and more innovative programming language, which is… you’ve guessed it right! Swift.
“Apple has a tendency to do this kind of thing. Objective-C itself was an innovative, strange language when it was released, too. And Apple does it with hardware, as well—they were the first to get rid of floppy disk drives and, later, optical drives. As a company, they regularly jettison the past to make space for the future.” – Robert Fischer, VP of Engineering at Webonise Lab
Disrupting its way into the Tech world, Swift has made (and is bound to continue to cause) tremendous change in the development landscape. Inquiries, assumptions and predictions from all corners also came fluttering in. Our take on Swift? We have every intention of moving all iOS development over to Swift. Plainly put: it’s just a better language. But moving beyond the confines of our lab, Swift has a varying impact. Some were ecstatic, few were skeptical and a few were not moved. What happens when a new programming language comes to play, especially when it’s created by one of the huge players in Tech?
Swift will become “THE” programming language to pursuit
Swift will become “THE” programming language to learn in the next few days, weeks, even months and perhaps for the next couple of years. Yes its new to everybody but Its characteristic similarities to modern languages makes it easier for experienced developers to learn to code it while “Playgrounds” – Swift’s live coding environment – Makes coding a more fun and interactive learning experience for beginners. Playgrounds basically let you see how each line of code works in real time. This is not possible with Objective-C, and if you are currently an Objective-C coder, this would be a refreshing touch.
There wouldn’t be an influx (as huge as others expect) of Apple developers
There will be an increase, especially from the functional programming communities, but an influx that will extremely shake up the development market, we doubt it. The thing is, the very developers who are already developing for Apple products, will be the same people who will be interested in learning Swift. Yes there will be beginners taking on the ‘Swift’ challenge but we’re looking at the usual numbers, we always have beginners coming into the market and an increase may not be directly associated with the release of Swift.
It’s not like everyone who doesn’t even know how to code will instantly gravitate towards web development just because apple launched a brand new programming language. It doesn’t work that way.
Hiring based on Swift can be risky… at least for the moment.
As a business, one of the problems with hiring for Swift is that it is so new, nobody has extensive experience — and it's unclear what other programming languages will signal someone who will be successful at Swift. It’ll be a better strategy to train internally and to hire generally smart developer, rather than to hire based on Swift expertise. At least for the moment.
Swift boosts a very important feature: speed. Besides from it claiming to be faster than Objective-C, Swift’s simplicity makes a one line of code containing a lot of things readable (and a possibility). A reduced amount of coded needed for writing lessens not only the time needed to develop an app but subsequently lowers down the cost of development too.
Learning the new language will take time too
The many features of Swift, if it delivers well, can only be beneficial once the language is learned and mastered. And this, learning the code and mastering it, doesn’t happen overnight. Before you will be able to reap the benefits of Swift, you still have to invest time to learn it or in the case of companies, invest time for your developers to learn it.
A possibility of an onslaught of crappy iOS apps
Although this can simply be a presumption, we wouldn’t be surprised if we see an increase of less than quality apps in the app store. Swift has made developing for iOS more accessible; it’ll actually be unusual not to see a single crappy iOS app out there.
A new programming language means less expertise; even the experienced developers become learners/beginners once more. Crappy apps will surface and novice developers aren’t the only ones to blame. It takes time to master something and crappy apps may just be inevitable… for now.
“Here at Webonise Lab, our goal is to provide clients and users the best product imaginable. Yes, we’ve set on to learn Swift and started developing with it but we’re taking things slow. We’re gearing up to start building iOS apps with Swift code and we’re highly positive this is going to be a programming language we’d love to use.”
Although skeptics (and most likely, Apple haters too) are keener to believe that Swift is a strategic move by Apple to “lock-in” developers into developing solely for iOS, we’re looking at the brighter side of it: Swift has no more lock-in than Objective-C. Swift will retain developers and garner loyalty. We’re also crossing our fingers that it delivers everything it has promised (as far as our experience with it goes, we’re quite impressed!)
Are you also learning Swift? How was your experience with it? It is a better programming language than Objective-C? Let us know through the comments sections.
We’ve also done quite a few reads. Here’s what we recommend on learning more about Swift:
1. The Swift Programming Language (iBooks)
2. Understanding Swift: 5 things app developers should know by Mark Wilcox on DeveloperEconomics
3. Apple's Swift explained: What it is and what it means by Tim Stevens on CNET
4. Swift: a developer's guide to Apple's new programming language on TheGuardian
5. Apple Swift: Should CIOs Bite? By Erik LaMana on InformationWeek