Apple's Swift Programming Language Now Open Source

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Apr 12, 2001
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As promised, Apple has officially made its Swift programming language open source, making the project available through Swift.org.

We are excited by this new chapter in the story of Swift. After Apple unveiled the Swift programming language, it quickly became one of the fastest growing languages in history. Swift makes it easy to write software that is incredibly fast and safe by design. Now that Swift is open source, you can help make the best general purpose programming language available everywhere.
Announced at WWDC 2014 and launched alongside iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite a few months later, Swift marks a significant step forward from the Objective-C previously favored by Apple.
On December 3, 2015, the Swift language, supporting libraries, debugger, and package manager were published under the Apache 2.0 license with a Runtime Library Exception, and Swift.org was created to host the project. The source code is hosted on GitHub where it is easy for anyone to get the code, build it themselves, and even create pull requests to contribute code back to the project. Everyone is welcome, even just to file a bug report. There are excellent Getting Started guides available here on the site as well.

The project is governed by a core team of engineers that drive the strategic direction by working with the community, and a collection of code owners responsible for the day-to-day project management. Technical leaders come from the community of contributors and anyone can earn the right to lead an area of Swift. The Community Guidelines includes detailed information on how the Swift community is managed.
With the open sourcing of Swift, Apple has also released a Linux port to expand access to the language. Apple has also begun sharing design guidelines related to the upcoming Swift 3, setting the stage for "a more cohesive feel to Swift development."

Update: Apple has published a press release announcing the news and Apple's Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, has done an interview with Ars Technica on Apple's decision to make Swift open source.

Article Link: Apple's Swift Programming Language Now Open Source
 

atari1356

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2004
1,582
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I've been programming almost exclusively in Swift for over a year now, and I write better, cleaner, safer code than with Objective-C. (especially with some of the additions they made with Swift 2.0) Love it.

Will be interesting to see how Swift is adopted on other platforms.
 

Markoth

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2015
490
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Behind You
Website isn't responding... did we all crashed their servers? ;)
The website is definitely getting hammered. It worked for me eventually though!
So... now I can develop in swift on linux? In other IDEs? What does this mean?
I very much doubt Apple is going to commit much resources to a full IDE for Linux, but you never know! At the very least, it'll be possible for the open source community to do so now, if they wish to.
 
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RogerWilco

macrumors 6502a
Jul 29, 2011
691
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It will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to this initiative. The phrase "knife the baby" comes to mind.
 

Markoth

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2015
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Was he involved in development or or just pushed to open sources? ;)
Jesus died for our sins, and brought us the Swift programming language. Isn't that in the book somewhere?...

EDIT: In other news, the source code is licensed under the Apache license. That's pretty permissive! Should encourage adoption.
 

dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
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We all know Swift is the future of programming. So I'm sure a lot of people will be very happy with this news in the open source community.
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
9,449
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Vilano Beach, FL
I've been programming almost exclusively in Swift for over a year now, and I write better, cleaner, safer code than with Objective-C. (especially with some of the additions they made with Swift 2.0) Love it.

Will be interesting to see how Swift is adopted on other platforms.
Yeah, I just recently started a new app, ground up using Swift. I'm following most of my existing design patterns from my older apps written in Obj-C, and the improvements (old vs. new apps) are pretty astounding. :cool:
 

jeremysteele

macrumors 6502
Jul 13, 2011
415
151
It will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to this initiative. The phrase "knife the baby" comes to mind.
.Net framework was opened sourced a while ago, and C# has always been an open language.

It's sort of similar to swift being open - they aren't opening up all of their proprietary stuff - but the core is available for everyone.
 
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wav

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2012
57
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I'm thinking about developing for iOS. I have almost zero experience with any kind of code, except for a little html in the late '90s. Is learning Swift all I would need to get started?
 

jeremysteele

macrumors 6502
Jul 13, 2011
415
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I'm thinking about developing for iOS. I have almost zero experience with any kind of code, except for a little html in the late '90s. Is learning Swift all I would need to get started?
swift and HTML5 I'd say. Many apps (especially simple ones) are basic HTML5 apps, mostly because they are easier to port around to android & windows mobile.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,580
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Will be interesting to see how Swift is adopted on other platforms.
As I see it, Swift is an inferior language in most ways to most other languages. It has one thing going for it, which Obj-C had going for it too: you can write in the language, or you can't use Apple's App Stores (which means you can't publish on iOS at all).

Making it open source might fix a pain point - now it might end up being possible to write your code once in Swift and have it run everywhere - but only if people actually port it.

IDK. I'm sticking with C# in Unity 3D for cross platform game development and Python for server side code.
 
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Kajje

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2012
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Asia
People who think 'opening the source' is Apple's philantropic gesture for the better, are in for a ride. Apple doesn't do anything without a deeper reason. They don't care about anything but themselve - maybe except for the developer's community which makes the apps that help them selling devices.

If Apple wants to get foot in the backoffice market - mainly to let developers build more powerfull server-side counterparts for their apps, they need to have a way to do it.

Deploying a mac server is costly. Google App Engine could be a good choice, but it's Google. I'm sure Apple looked (and might still be looking) to offer alternatives within their eco system. But for now, opening source will facilitate any current (client side) Swift developer to build solutions and run it on basically any platform today.

Having this technology available for Android (and 'Android' backoffice) is something they'll have to accept. There was no other way. Swift is deeply integrated from iOS probably until chip design. This is something that probably won't happen any time soon on Android. So that damage won't be so high anyway.
 

Markoth

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2015
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As I see it, Swift is an inferior language in most ways to most other languages. It has one thing going for it, which Obj-C had going for it too: you can write in the language, or you can't use Apple's App Stores (which means you can't publish on iOS at all).

Making it open source might fix a pain point - now it might end up being possible to write your code once in Swift and have it run everywhere - but only if people actually port it.

IDK. I'm sticking with C# in Unity 3D for cross platform game development and Python for server side code.
I'd recommend not digging your heels in on this issue, and reconsider. Swift results in far more stable code once you become familiar with the language and some of its new concepts (which admittedly does take some time!). You'll be thankful for taking the time do learn it in the long run!