Swift is an open source programming language developed and maintained by Apple, it is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, basically for all Apple products and services. Swift development is very iterative, the syntax is concise, expressive, simple, and includes many features for high-level development while still maintaining security.
In addition to Objective-C (Old Recommended Language for Programming Applications on iOS), Swift incorporates aspects of Python, Rust, Ruby and many other languages. Many of its features focus on making Swift as easy to use as possible; this includes things like improved string support, option types, and measures to protect against programming errors such as null pointer.
Writing Swift code in a "playground" lets you try the code and see the results right away, without the overhead of creating, compiling, and running the app.
Swift defines large classes of common programming errors by adopting modern programming standards:
- variables are always initialized before use.
- Array indexes are checked for out-of-bounds errors.
- Whole numbers are checked for overflow.
- Optionals ensure that null values are handled explicitly.
- Memory is managed automatically.
- Error handling allows for controlled recovery from unexpected failures.
- Swift code is compiled and optimized to make the most of modern hardware.
- The syntax and standard library were designed around the guiding principle that the obvious way to write your code should also have the best performance.
Swift combines powerful type inference and pattern matching with modern, lightweight syntax, allowing complex ideas to be expressed clearly and concisely. As a result, code is not only easier to write, it is also easier to read and maintain.
Swift isn't exactly a new language, it's been around for some time now and continues to evolve with new features and capabilities.
What can I build with Swift?
As you might expect, Swift is only compatible with Apple operating systems, you can't use it to develop software for Android or Windows devices. You can use it to write code for any Apple product as it works on macOS, tvOS, iPadOS, watchOS and iOS. Linux is the only exception as Swift supports the popular open source OS kernel.
Swift code is designed to take full advantage of the unique hardware of Apple products and their operating systems. It is regularly updated to keep up with the latest developments in these areas.
How and Where to Learn Swift Programming
Understandably, Apple wants to bring as many people as possible to a point of familiarity with its home language, and has a number of training resources to support this. One such resource is Swift Playgrounds – a free iPad app that helps teach kids the fundamentals of Swift programming through a series of games and challenges.
For complete beginners in the world of programming, this might be a good place to start, but it's probably a little simple for all but the most novice developers.