Apple unveils Swift — Objective C without the C

Swift

There were over 14 million downloads of the tools used to build applications for iOS 7. That means there are at least 14 million people who are going to be excited for Swift — Apple's newest coding tool for iOS 8 applications. The goal was to have the power of Objective C, without all the complicated language and clutter of using C. Swift promises to be fast, modern, safe and intuitive. Let's take a quick look at what it has to offer.

For starters, developers won't have to abandon any Objective C or C code. Older bits and pieces will fit right in with Swift, and devs can compile everything into the same app with just one runtime. For the non-programmers out there, this means that complicated code a developer has already written can be reused in Swift, saving time that can be spent refining other areas of their app. This is a very big deal, and a very good thing.

Swift itself includes features with nerdly sounding names like support for closures, generics, type inference, namespaces and multiple return types. Whew. The goal was to reduce common patterns and functions into smaller portions of code, that are not only easier to write but much easier to debug. There's also a new optimizer and auto-vectorizer to further assist developers churn out great apps with less work. That's what we, as not-developers, can take away from all of this. Devs can spend less time fighting their source code and more time dreaming up cool new features so we can tap and swipe away at them all. This is why iOS 8 apps are so good — Apple provides the best tools. Period.

Swift will be available in the fall with the release of OS X 10.10 and iOS 8, but for folks wanting an early look and some light reading, the Swift language guide and reference docs are available in iBooks today.

We often forget about the developers who build the things that make our devices so cool. But Apple doesn't.

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There are 18 comments. Add yours.

JoeShmoe says:

I wonder if they're planning on allowing to use Swift (or Xcode for that matter) on PC, I'm a developer and I can't do much for iOS since I can't afford a Mac :'(

Connor Mason says:

start checking for refurb mac minis. they can get pretty cheap sometimes. "can't afford a mac" is pretty meaningless, considering the amount you spent on your PC can likely buy a mac

JoeShmoe says:

How is spending a couple of hundred USD (on a limited budget) on a computer just to be able to develop for iOS considered "pretty meaningless"? I bought my computer nearly 5 years ago without any plan of developing for iOS, and I currently can't afford a new company, regardless of company...

forgot says:

I wouldn't call it "pretty meaningless", and its a real barrier for a lot of people. If you're interested in development (and IMHO its really worth your time), pinch pennies, have a garage sale, mow the neighbors yard....whatever it takes. You'll have the $400 your looking for in no time, and be able to jump in.

Best of luck to you. :)

JoeShmoe says:

Being married with 3 kids, pinching pennies is pretty much impossible :). Additionally, like other comments mentioned, for the price of a used/refurbished Mac Mini you can get a brand spanking new Windows Laptop, it's a bit hard for me to justify spending the money.

Thanx for the good luck though

hodan says:

It's pretty arrogant, when someone says they can't afford a Mac, to go ahead and "solve" their problem for them by telling them to mow lawns. How's the bubble you live in?

Considering 90% of the computers on the planet run Windows, I think the OP is reasonable in asking for Apple's developer tools to be available on Windows.

forgot says:

My bubbles great, thanks for asking. I do occasionally peer out of my bubble (I can see so far from my crystal tower), and see that most of the world uses a PC. I have pondered, while sipping champagne, how much better the world would be if Xcode was cross platform......

Snide remarks aside, I only meant it's possible to get a Mac at a decent price, and yes, you may have to dedicate some extra work to do so. In the end, that's up to you.

I personally think it would be awesome if Xcode was cross platform, as it opens doors for all kinds of creative people. That's probably pretty arrogant of me to assume though.

Sent from the iMore App

Adam Ridley says:

Just get a mac! really why should apple make its developer tools available on PC's? why in the world would they do that? I am a real android developer and use a mac, every single person that I know that develops anything for any kind of anything uses a mac

forgot says:

I hear you, and as a parent myself, totally understand. Wasn't intending to insult in any way, just the first things that came to mind.

Sent from the iMore App

AndroidKernel says:

Why do you even mention that "for the price of a refurb Mac Mini you can get a brand spanking new Windows laptop"? It sounds like you're still stuck on differences, rather than any actual cost/benefit analysis.

If a "brand spanking new Windows laptop" can meet your needs better, then buy it, and be happy. If it can't, it's a pointless comparison. You could also buy 400 toothbrushes with that money, but they won't help you make iOS apps, either.

Connor Mason says:

OP wants to do iOS Dev. This can only be done successfully with XCode. XCode is only available for OSX. OSX is only available on Macs. OP needs a Mac. Macs are expensive. Refurb Mac Minis are not! So long as OP already owns a monitor, this is a fantastic deal considering what you get.

Jas00555 says:

You buy a Mac for $400? Because that's pretty much what everyone in my family spent on theirs.

TekNiKal says:

I bought a MacBook off Craigslist for $500 a couple of years ago to code on. You don't have to spend $1100 or more.

Dev from tipb says:

Nah, they won't. I sympathize with your situation, and I am sure *individuals* at Apple do to, but Apple the company, like all corporations, does not care. Companies look at initiatives like an Xcode for Windows with one question: "will doing this bring in more (money/attention/mindshare/future opportunities) than it costs us to do it?" It will not help them sell more Macs, and they have no shortage of iOS developers that a Windows release would help them address, so I assume the answer will be no.

While it will not help you with iOS development at all, if you are interested in learning that sort of programming style as a brain exercise, you may want to take a look at kotlin ( http://kotlin.jetbrains.org/ ) -- a JVM language that looks like Swift borrowed very heavily from.

Mrdevali says:

Yea used Mac mini is about 400

asoyemi says:

For $400 greenies, you can get a brand new beefed up PC laptop.... Ow, it has to be mac mini.. almost forgot

AndroidKernel says:

For $400, you can get a brand new bare-bones bottom-of-the-line PC laptop. There's nothing beefy about it.

On Newegg right now, for example, any $400 PC laptop will be a sub-2.0GHz Celeron, a non-SSD disk, and a 1366x768 screen. It's a lot cheaper than a Macbook but it's also a lot slower, and won't run as long on one battery charge.

The reason people suggest buying a refurb Mac to save money is because Apple doesn't sell 3-year-old technology as new. Other PC makers do sell 3-year-old technology in new computers, and that's why their cheap computers are cheaper. If you want a low-end Mac to compete price-wise with a low-end PC, you buy a refurbished one.

vox212 says:

You can run OSX and Windows (or OSX / Linux) on the same used Mac Mini (or a new one). You don't even need to reboot the Mac Mini if you use Parallel Desktop.