What it is: Swift is Apple’s latest programming language designed to be easier and safer to use than Objective-C.
When Apple created their Swift programming language, they wanted to create a faster, simpler, and safer way for developers to write apps for OS X and iOS. Objective-C was based on C, which made it complicated and clumsy to use while being difficult to understand as well. Swift is a far simpler programming language that also prevents many types of errors commonplace in Objective-C. Thus Swift makes it faster to create more reliable programs easier than Objective-C could ever do.
To encourage the widespread use of Swift, Apple made Swift open source. That means Swift is now being ported to run on different operating systems. One interesting twist is that Google is mulling over the idea of making Swift Android’s official programming language.
Right now if you ant to create Android apps, you generally rely on Java, which is a much more complicated programming language than Swift and somewhat similar to Objective-C in terms of difficulty and safety. Although Java is a popular programming language, it’s harder to learn than Swift and not as easy to understand. Even worse, Google (the makers of Android) and Oracle (the owners of Java) have been fighting each other over the proper use of Java. This gives Google an incentive to avoid using Java whenever possible.
By adopting Swift, Google could make it much easier for iOS programmers to port their programs to run on Android. Right now iOS programmers either use Objective-C or Swift to create iOS apps, but if they want to write similar Android apps, they have to rewrite their entire app in Java. Since that takes time, many smaller developers can’t afford to learn an entirely new language and platform.
However if Google adopts Swift as their main programming language for Android, then iOS developers can theoretically run the exact same code to create an Android app. This would essentially make it easy for iOS developers to write an app once and sell it on both iOS and Android at the same time with minimal problems. Now iOS would no longer have apps that Android lacks.
OF course the huge problem is that Google would need to essentially create a framework for creating Android apps using Swift, which will take time. So don’t expect Swift to allow seamless porting from iOS to Android any time soon, but that’s the eventual hope.
With Swift being open source, you can expect to see more developers learning and using Swift, which means Swift will become an extremely important language for any programmer to learn and use. The more developers who learn and use Swift, the more likely they’ll use their Swift skills to create OS X and iOS apps, which helps create a growing software library. Since Swift is the official language of Apple, Swift programmers will be able to continue creating apps for the iPhone, iPad, Macintosh, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. This basically cements Swift and Apple products as the most popular programming language and devices in the world.
Remember the early days when everyone bought Windows PCs because so many programs were available for Windows? And because so many people used Windows, so many developers could make money writing and selling Windows programs? Now people will use Apple devices for the software library available and developers will flock to Swift and Apple products because that’s where the money is.
The future is clear. Swift is the programming language of tomorrow and Apple products are the devices of tomorrow.