News from Swift Summit

26th March 2015
swift summit

The Swift programming language was announced by Apple less than 300 days ago. Swift is to be the successor of Objective-C, the primary language for developing apps for iOS and the Mac.

Swift offers numerous modernizing improvements and new features. This is very exciting for the Apple development community; it’s not often a new programming language comes out that offers the opportunity to provide feedback and help shape the language.

Swift Summit

One of our developers recently attended the Swift Summit event. Swift Summit was one of the first conferences tailored specifically for the Swift Programming language. Held in London over a weekend in March, the conference hosted numerous talks from developers from inside and outside the Apple development community.

The talks covered many different subjects including how to use Swift’s new features to build better software, to how Swift is attracting people from outside the traditional Apple community. There were discussions about how Swift solves many of the problems developers face when using Objective-C and there were also insights into the interesting problems that using Swift poses, for many of which there is no right answer yet.

One particular thing that stuck out was the fact that Swift is brand new and is being regularly updated by Apple after taking into consideration feedback from the developer community. To be able to shape a new programming language and to actively participate in the discussions around forming best practices is incredibly exciting. Swift is drawing together developers and a melting pot of ideas is being formed. Swift Summit provided an open and inclusive environment for discussion and it was fantastic to be a part of it.

Benefits of Swift for 3Squared

swift summit 2Looking forwards, it will be good to use many of the new things that Swift brings when building software at 3Squared. Swift’s type-safe compiler helps to find bugs sooner than in comparative Objective-C code, where an object’s type is only truly known at runtime where crashes can occur.

A number of modern language features were missing from Objective-C, so the addition of powerful enums, generics, tuples, and optionals will help to build more robust, maintainable and adaptable software.

Off the back of events like Swift Summit, as well as the general excitement for a new programming language, many open source Swift projects are getting off the ground. Contributing to, and using, these projects in our own work is yet another exciting thing to look forward to.