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Google is considering making Apple's Swift programming language a "first class" language for Android, reports The Next Web. Executives from Google, Facebook, and Uber reportedly attended a meeting to discuss Swift in December, around the time that Apple officially made Swift an open source language.
Google's Android operating system currently supports Java as its first-class language, and sources say Swift is not meant to replace Java, at least initially. While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader "upside" than Java.
As outlined by The Next Web, adopting Swift would be a major undertaking for Google, due to the need to create a runtime for Swift and incorporate it into APIs and SDKs, many of which would need to be rewritten, but it is something that Google could do. A Swift-based Android operating system would be a boon for developers, who could create native apps for both platforms. Swift is a well-liked programming language because it's simple to learn, easy to work with, and fast.

Along with Google, Facebook and Uber are also said to be considering making Swift "more central" to their operations. At Facebook, employees are already working with Swift internally, though how deeply remains in question, and at Uber, it is not clear if work on a transition to Swift has begun.

Switching over to Swift would be a long process for Google that could span multiple months or years due to the need to rewrite Android services, apps, and APIs, so it is not likely to be adopted in the near future, and Android support is integral, says The Next Web, for the deep integration that Facebook and Uber want to adopt.

Apple first announced Swift in June of 2014 and expanded on it with Swift 2 in June of 2015. In December, the programming language was made open source.

Article Link: Apple's Swift Programming Language May Be Adopted by Google for Android
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,283
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Android uses Java.....? No wonder it's so laggy.

Yes. This has been known forever. Also, do to litigation issues with Oracle over Java, Google has been unable to update to anything newer than Java 6 (which is pretty old now - Java 8 came out 2 years ago and 9 is coming out soon.) So moving to Swift could be an advantageous move.

I think Google was hoping one of their many languages, like Go, would prove popular with developers and they'd be able to make it the main language on Android. But that doesn't seem to have happened, so now they're considering Swift.
 
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Junior117

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2015
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Toronto, Canada
Please be real, please be real, please be real...

Java is the only reason why I've withheld developing apps for Android (I just don't like Java. I just really don't like Java for some reason (then again, I don't necessarily like Oracle, either...)). If they do this, I'll certainly spend more time making and selling apps in Google Play.

Yes. This has been known forever. Also, do to litigation issues with Oracle over Java, Google has been unable to update to anything newer than Java 6 (which is pretty old now - Java 8 came out 2 years ago and 9 is coming out soon.) So moving to Swift could be an advantageous move.

I think Google was hoping one of their many languages, like Go, would prove popular with developers and they'd be able to make it the main language on Android. But that doesn't seem to have happened, so now they're considering Swift.

Honestly, I hoped that they would have paid more attention to Go and made it their official language for developing anything Google-related for third-party developers.
 
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tonyr6

macrumors 68000
Oct 13, 2011
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Brooklyn NY
Maybe I will try to learn programming apps again for Android. I did play around with it last year but that Java crap slowed down my computer to a crawl when doing anything.
 
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jgelin

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Jul 30, 2015
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St Petersburg, FL
I am taking both at school now: android programming and intro to Swift.
I hold a certification in Java; android development is still a PITA. Would welcome this graciously.
 
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KALLT

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Sep 23, 2008
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I think Google was hoping one of their many languages, like Go, would prove popular with developers and they'd be able to make it the main language on Android. But that doesn't seem to have happened, so now they're considering Swift.

There’s also still Kotlin which does work with Java. Swift would be a pretty huge undertaking for them. But the programming benefits would be huge also. With Microsoft opening up as well at the mobile side, it could clear the way for Swift to become a very powerful language that targets the major platforms. This is the kind of stuff that Apple really should do more often. Some of Apple’s open-source initiatives have been pretty successful, precisely because they were so compelling to adopt.
 
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koyoot

macrumors 603
Jun 5, 2012
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Best thing Apple could do: put Swift Open Source. It was just a matter of time. Keep your fingers crossed for this becoming apparent on other platforms. Coding applications for every major mobile platform will be very easy.
 
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firewood

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Jul 29, 2003
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This would be great. Swift is a vastly better language for mobile than Java or Javascript web apps, and slightly better than Objective C in some respects, but far more popular, safer, and perhaps easier to learn as well (given Playgrounds, etc.)

Making Swift widely cross-platform for all mobile platforms, as well as server environments, would be a really big win. I can see even more schools and top universities picking up Swift as a primary teaching language.

The opposite, Java, Go or Hack for iOS apps certainly ain't gonna happen! C is the only other realistic possibility, but it's old.
 
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firewood

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Jul 29, 2003
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Silicon Valley
I think Google was hoping one of their many languages, like Go, would prove popular with developers and they'd be able to make it the main language on Android.

Go is popular with developers for server code, but it's not as good for mobile (some required features of Go are not best for responsiveness and battery life).
 
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Elbon

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2008
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Boston, MA
I wouldn't call Swift easy to learn. It's easier to start learning than Objective-C, but it gets complex pretty fast. There are lots of nuances that Objective-C and even Java don't have.

I like Swift a lot, but I actually think it could be a bit simpler.
 
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Pakaku

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Aug 29, 2009
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It's nice to see an adoption outside of Apple's ecosystem for once.
 
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AdonisSMU

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Oct 23, 2010
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I have read three books and enrolled in a class so I could get myself up to speed on SWIFT! I think it's going to have the effect of providing a more effective way to separate the paid web services from free web services in a way that we haven't seen previously... I am very interested in this happening.
 
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6836838

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Jul 18, 2011
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I'm a python developer by trade but Swift seems to be the way forward for mobile apps at least. I wonder if the quant finance world will ever move in this direction... Is there a numpy equivalent for Swift?
 
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