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Discover Swift, iOS’ programming language!

Mariel Lettier

Table of Content

What is Swift?
Frequent Questions
Swift's Basic Concepts
Swift’s Latest Features
Why choose Swift?
Who created Swift?
Conclusion

If you are an Apple fan, you are probably familiar with Swift. If you aren’t, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over its basics, and answer some common questions about this language. Further, we'll get a glimpse of who created Swift and give you an overview of the upcoming WWCD2022 event. Let’s dive in!

What is Swift?

​​Swift is an open-source programming language. It launched in 2014, as an optional language to build Apple products. Swift incorporates features from Objective-C, Python, Rust, Ruby, and others. The programming language is safe, fast, and interactive. Also, it's easy to learn for new programmers, as it's simple and intuitive. Moreover, Swift is cross-platform and has a large active community behind it.

What is Swift?

Frequent Questions

Now that we know a bit about it, let’s take a look at some of the most frequent questions when it comes to Swift.

What is iOS in Swift?

iOS is Apple’s operating system for mobile devices. In this context, Swift is used for Native iOS and macOS development. There is also watchOS for the Apple Watch and tvOS for the Apple TV digital media player.

Who uses Swift?

Any developer or company that releases an Apple app uses Swift for iOS development. The language is, of course, used by Apple for web services and applications. Other companies that use this programming language include Coursera, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Eventbrite. All these use Swift for iOS development.

Is Swift Front-End or Back-End?

Swift is a full-stack language, which means it's used for both the frontend and the backend. This is a great advantage as developers need to know only one language to create an app. As a result, this reduces development costs. Within the Back-End, there are various web frameworks created specifically for Swift. Some of the most popular are Vapor, Perfect, and Kitura. Also, Apple has released its own Swift framework, called SwiftNIO (Swift Networking Input Output). On the Front-End side, Swift is currently limited to Apple platforms' mobile and desktop apps. In the past, FE dev for Apple products was built with Objective-C. Nowadays, it relies more on the UIKit for User Interface development. Combined with this, there's the SwiftUI framework. This helps to create apps in a much simpler, more concise, and readable way.

Are All iOS Apps Written in Swift?

In the beginning, iOS apps used Objective-C. Yet, modern apps use Swift. There's a chance you still come across some old apps developed with Objective-C. When it comes to other programming languages, it's possible to develop iOS apps with some of them. But, since this needs significant workarounds, it's more costly and time-consuming. By now, we can safely say that using Swift for iOS development is currently the best choice.

What’s the Difference Between Swift and Objective-C?

Swift and Objective-C are both high-level general-purpose compiled open-source programming languages. Yet, they have a few differences. For example, unlike Swift, Objective-C is also object-oriented. Also, it's dynamic-type, it only has classes, and uses YES, NO, and BOOL values. Meanwhile, Swift is static-type. Further, besides classes, it has Structs and uses true and valse values. A huge difference is that Swift was specifically designed for Apple apps. On the other hand, Objective-C had Smalltalk messaging features in mind when created. Moreover, Swift is easier to learn, read and maintain than Objective-C. If you want to take a deeper look into the differences between Swift and Objective-C, you can do so here!

Swift Basic Concepts

Swift Basic Concepts

Are you planning on taking up Swift for iOS development? The first thing you should know is that you’ll need the Xcode IDE to run and test its code. Up next, we’ll focus on various aspects of the programming language, such as syntax and data types.

Syntax

Swift’s syntax is mainly based on that of the C programming language. Having prior knowledge of C will definitely be an advantage when learning Swift. The similarities between them include that programs are made up of statements. This means that they're executed in sequences. For instance, you can add more than one statement per line, as long as you separate these with semicolons. Also, units of work modularize using functions and organize into types. Within this latter, functions accept one or mode parameters and return values. Moreover, Swift and C both have struct and class semantics. Both include named variables and named constants (which are mutable and immutable, respectively). There are also a few differences between C and Swift. For example, you don’t need a semicolon to end a statement in Swift. You can learn more about Swift’s syntax here!

Data Types

The Data Types used in Swift are shared by a few other languages, so they shouldn’t be too difficult to learn. These include String (to represent textual data), Int (an integer), Float and Double (32-bit and 64-bit floating-point numbers, respectively), and Bools (to determine whether logic is true or false). You can find more details on Swift data types here.

Variables & Constants

Variables and Constants are essential aspects of Swift. this also applies to other programming languages such as Java and C. These associate a name with the number of a particular type. As you might have guessed, the values behind variables can change. Meanwhile, those behind constants cannot. You'll need to declare both variables and constants before you are able to use them. Within Swift, you use the var keyword to declare variables; and the let keyword to declare constants. You can find more information about this inhere.

If you want to learn more about Swift in general, take a look at its detailed documentation!

Swift’s Latest Features

Swift is currently on version 5.6, released in March 2022. You can take a look at the full release notes here. In the meanwhile, here are some of the improvements and new features this version brought on:

Type Placeholders
• Introduction of the existential **_any___**
**• Improved Concurrency Safety Model
• Introduction of the Unavailable Keyword
• Improved Dictionary Coding

Why choose the Swift Programming Language?

Swift has many benefits and advantages.
Here are some of the reasons to choose this language:

• The language is fast and powerful.
• It’s also easy to learn and use, and has a concise code structure.
• Projects carried out with Swift tend to be easy to scale.
• Swift supports dynamic libraries.
• Swift is a full-stack language— it can apply to both the Front-End and the Back-End.
• Swift developers are in high demand. Those who learn
• Swift for iOS can expect some of the highest salaries in the field.
• There is lots of support from both the community and Apple itself.
• The language encourages interactive coding through its Playgrounds.

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Who created Swift?: The Company Behind the Magic

As we’ve mentioned, Swift was created by Apple. This article wouldn’t be complete unless we mention what sets Apple apart from competitors like Google and Microsoft. We’ll take a look at this and the upcoming WWCC2022 below.

What Sets Apple Apart?

There are many things that give Apple a competitive edge and set it apart. Below, we’ll detail some of the most important ones for us.

Security

Apple takes security very seriously. When it comes to virtual data, its encryption is first-class. Apple products are unlikely to get hacked or infected with a virus. The company also has tight guidelines to protect data from organizations like the FBI.

Innovation

Apple is known for how much it strives for innovation. For instance, since 2003, it spends more money than its competitors on R&D. Back in 2019, the company invested $4.2B in research and development in only one quarter. Their investment in innovation has proven to be the right move as the company continues to grow.

User-Friendliness

Besides its innovations, Apple offers products that are easy to navigate and learn. This includes Swift for iOS dev as well. The company prioritizes simplicity over customizability. As a result, this assures everyone can make their way around Apple devices.

Brand Strength and Continuity

Apple has developed a strong brand. Besides providing quality products and services, they maintain high trust levels among customers. Moreover, the brand relies a lot on continuity. All its products are compatible and interconnected, making a quite smooth user experience. Further, its brand strength and continuity have helped Apple foster customer loyalty. This means customers are more likely to turn to them when needing new devices or services.

WWCD22

Apple has held its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWCD) since 1983. Although, at that time, its name was The Apple Independent Software Developers Conference. The WWCD revolves around third-party devs working with Apple’s products and services. During the event, the company discusses changes developers should expect from its platforms. For the last decade or so, the event has been held sometime in June and spanned over five days. This year, the event will be between June 6 and 10 both online and on site. The WWCD22 includes many different instances. For instance, it has Labs for one-on-one guidance from Apple experts. Also, it has Sessions with the latest updates; and Digital Lounges for Q&A and networking opportunities. The WWCD is a great opportunity to find out about the latest Apple news. This encompasses both software and hardware. Also, it's a great place to connect with your peers and learn from each other. The conference is free for registered app developers. Further, it hosts the Swift Student Challenge.

Conclusion

Over the last decades, Apple has shown how good it is at creating innovative products and staying relevant in an ever-changing field. The creation of Swift was a great step for the company when it comes to its brand strength and continuity. The language can be used not only for iOS development. It also applies throughout Apple’s products and services. Moreover, Swift is a great starter language for up-and-coming developers. This is both due to its simplicity and the great job opportunities available. What do you think about Swift? Will you be attending this year’s WWDC?


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