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Apple open sources Swift, makes next-generation programming available to everyone!

Eighteen months ago at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) Apple announced Swift, a modern programming language intended to power the next generation of OS X and iOS software. Six months ago, at WWDC 2015, Apple announced Swift 2.0 would go open source. Today, Apple makes good on that promise with Swift.org and GitHub/Apple.

Swift, the fastest-growing programming language in the history according to RedMonk, seeks not only to make existing programmers more efficient, but thanks to technologies like playgrounds and REPL, to make programming itself more accessible.

By open-sourcing Swift under the Apache 2.0 license, Apple hopes to make it even more available, to more people, on more platforms. Conversely, the open source community will be able to contribute back to Swift, creating a better, more robust language for everyone.

Existing OS X, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS developers, programmers who've always wanted to work on Apple's platforms, programmers who've always wanted to use their knowledge of Swift on other platforms, people new to programming in general, and kids in classrooms in specific, can all benefit.

At swift.org, developers will find:

  • Bug reporting and tracking
  • Documentation
  • API design guidelines
  • Community guidelines, instructions, and tutorials
  • Mailing lists
  • The Swift blog

In addition, Apple is offering:

  • A public source code repository at github.com/apple
  • A new Swift package manager project to more easily share and build code
  • A native Swift core libraries project for higher level functionality.
  • Support for OS X, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux.

GitHub will house:

  • The Swift compiler
  • LLDB debugger
  • REPL
  • Standard and core libraries
  • The Package manager
  • Supporting projects

Apple has achieved enormous success with past open source projects including the Darwin kernel and the WebKit rendering engine. They're examples of using open source where it makes the most sense and can be of the greatest benefit to everyone. Swift shows every indication of being the similar—a foundation upon which Apple and developers can grow.

And now everyone can invest in making it so.

Apple Releases Swift as Open Source

Developer Contributions Will Help Make Swift Even Better and Available on More Platforms

CUPERTINO, California — December 3, 2015 — Apple® today announced that its Swift™ programming language is now open source. As an open source language, the broad community of talented developers — from app developers to educational institutions to enterprises — can contribute to new Swift features and optimizations and help bring Swift to new computing platforms. Introduced in 2014, Swift is the fastest growing programming language in history and combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.* Apple today also launched the Swift.org website with detailed information about Swift open source, including technical documentation, community resources and links to download the Swift source code.

"By making Swift open source the entire developer community can contribute to the programming language and help bring it to even more platforms," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "Swift's power and ease of use will inspire a new generation to get into coding, and with today's announcement they'll be able to take their ideas anywhere, from mobile devices to the cloud."

Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software. Swift is easy to learn and use, even if you've never coded before, and it's the first systems programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language. Designed for safety, Swift also eliminates entire categories of common programming errors.

The Swift open source code is available via GitHub and includes support for all Apple software platforms — iOS, OS X®, watchOS and tvOS™ — as well as for Linux. Components available include the Swift compiler, debugger, standard library, foundation libraries, package manager and REPL. Swift is licensed under the popular Apache 2.0 open source license with a runtime library exception, enabling users to easily incorporate Swift into their own software and port the language to new platforms. For more information about Swift, and access to community resources visit the new Swift.org.

*Based on RedMonk Programming Language Rankings, June 2015.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

6 Comments
  • Swift open sourced?
    I guess we can all write pop-hits like "Shake It Off" now.
  • Fantastic. Something that may not be appreciated by various trolls here (see above), but very important for bringing new programmers into OS X and iOS.
  • Exactly Sent from the iMore App
  • I think making it open source will allow it to be more used. It would be a good thing for Apple if it becomes a standard for development for more than just Apple devices. Sent from the iMore App
  • Is Apple going to take any steps to add Windows support or will they be leaving this to Microsoft or another party to do?
  • Doesn't really matter as most Windows developers won't care about it, anyways. They can already use C++, C#, or Delphi to develop cross platform apps. All of those have better [Windows] tooling than Swift has [on any platform, Mac included].