Have you heard of the Swift programming language?
Swift is a programming language used general-purpose which is developed by Apple Inc. It’s a multi-paradigm (object-oriented, protocol-oriented, block-structured etc.) programming language which is mainly developed for iPad OS, macOS, tvOS, Linux, watchOS, IOS and z/OS. Swift programming language is mainly designed for working with cocoa touch Frameworks and apple’s cocoa and also for the objective C code which is the existing large body and was mainly written for Apple products. The swift programming language was designed by Doug Gregor, Chris Lattner, John McCall, Joe Groff, Ted Kremenek. The open-source compiler framework known as LLVM was used to build this language. Since the 6th version of Xcode, the swift programming language was included in it. This was released in the year 2014. The objective C runtime library allows C, C++, swift code and objective C code to run inside a single program and is thus used in Apple platforms.
Many of the core functions are supported by the swift programming language and the main concepts associated with this are dynamic dispatch, Objective C, extensible programming as well as widespread late binding and many other features. It safely performs all these functions and makes it easier to catch the software bugs. This programming language supports concepts such as the extensibility system that can be applied to many types, classes and structs, and protocol extensibility which is considered as a real change in the programming paradigm by the Apple company.
History and development of the programming language
This programming language was introduced in the 2014 WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) organized by Apple. During 2014 it underwent the up-gradation and version 1.2 was released. In Apple’s 2015 WWDC Swift 2 was released. Initially, under the Apache license 2.0, an open-source software was made and the proprietary language of version 2.2 was released on 3rd December 2015 for platforms of Apple and Linux.
In July 2010 the development of Swift was started by Chris Lattner and eventually collaborated with the programmers of Apple. The list from which swiftly took its language ideas is ‘ Haskell, rust, ruby, python, objective C, CLU, C#’ and many more of the programming languages. In 2014, 2nd June the app which was publicly released for the first time was the Apple WWDC application, which was written with the help of swift programming language.
There was a beta version of this language which was released to the registered Apple developers who were present in the conference. Oddly some of the early adopters of Swift were companies in the adult space. However, the success of some of the certain adult dating platforms and the best escort sites, like Skip the Games, with the development of their mobile apps drew the attention of many others. That started some of the popularity transitions from adult niche products to more mainstream ones.
There came a manual of 500 pages on “The Swift programming language” which was released at WWDC and were also available on the official website as well as on iBooks. On September 9 of 2014, Swift achieved the 1.0 milestone along with the gold master for iOS having Xcode 6.0.
In the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Swift took the 1st place as the most loved Programming language and got second place in the year 2016.
Features of Swift
Unlike Objective C Swift doesn’t use features like pointers or any other vulnerable accessors. Swift offers true-named parameters, many key features of Objective C such as closures, categories and protocols. Other features that Swift offers its users as a loved programming language are:
- String support
In the case of Swift, there is no need to create an object for manipulating the strings. The strings can be controlled directly without any object involvement, and strings can be concatenated by simply using the + symbol.
- Access control
Private, file private, open, public and internal are the main 5 access control levels offered by Swift. These access controls ignore the inheritance hierarchy, unlike other object-oriented languages.
- Private: This indicates that in an immediate scope a symbol is accessible.
- Public: It can be accessed from any of the modules present.
- File-private: It can be accessed only within the file.
- Internal: It can be accessed within the containing module.
- Open: This feature indicates that the class can be divided into subclass outside the module. It is mostly used in cases of classes and the methods associated with them).
- Value types
In many programming languages, there are two parts of objects internally. There are different styles of access, such as pass by value and pass by reference which are considered as basics. Objects are considered to be more useful when the data is large whereas data having smaller values such as integers and pointers of similar size are considered to have no advantage associated with them.
- Protocol-oriented programming
The features of Swift help in adding methods that can extend the classes during its runtime. Protocols are considered as “interfaces” in most of the modern languages, which promises that a set of method is implemented by a particular class. Protocols as well as extensions are used extensively in Swift as it treats classes and structs as similar concepts. The combination of defaults, protocols, extensions and protocol inheritance helps in performing many of the functions which are associated with classes. If it is used properly then many improvements can take place. Apple started calling swift as a protocol-oriented programming language when these concepts were used together within the following programming language.
- Memory management
For managing the memory, Swift uses ARP i.e. Automatic Reference Counting. ARC was introduced in the year 2011 which made it easier for memory allocation and deallocation. The disadvantage associated with ARC is the possible creation of a strong reference cycle, but it also provides keywords to prevent strong reference cycles.
- Debugging and other elements
The key feature offered by Swift is its ability to debug cleanly and then run it efficiently. It thus provides interactive properties which are required for the scripting abilities of python as compared to the traditional programming language.
Along with the features explained above, there are a lot of features associated with Swift as a programming language, making it perform more efficiently and also maintains a safety trade-off. To reduce overheads Apple has implemented optimizing compilers which deal with the various attributes associated with executable computer programs. Well, using Swift becomes easier if you know about the C operators. In Swift language, curly braces are used for group statements.