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About Swift Programming Language

06
Jun
2022

If you are an Apple fan, you are probably familiar with this popular programming language. If you aren't, you've come to the right place! This article will review its basics and answer common questions about this language. Further, we'll get a glimpse of who created this powerful language, and an overview of its modern features. Let's dive in!

What is Swift?

Swift is an open-source programming language launched in 2014 as an optional language for building Apple products. Also, it incorporates additional functionalities from existing Objective-C, Rust, Python, Ruby, and other modern programming languages. This programming language is safe, high-performance, and interactive. Also, it's easy for new programmers to learn, as it's a simple and intuitive programming language suitable for building cross-platform applications.

Swift has a large active community where you can distribute standard libraries and source code. Swift developers also count on a vast ecosystem of libraries, which it introduced to iOS when it launched.

General Information About Swift

Let's start with "What is iOS in Swift?iOS is Apple’s operative system for mobile devices. In this context, Native iOS and macOS use Swift as the development language. There is also watchOS for the Apple Watch and tvOS for the Apple TV digital media player.

Since its building, Swift has aimed for an easy learning path. Further, Apple defines it as the first programming language for everybody to learn. As we saw before, it uses simple and lightweight closure syntax. Due to this, it's understandable even without prior coding experience. Over 75% of Apple's jobs in the US are related to iOS and its App Store. Thus, it's safe to say that learning Swift's skills is in broad demand in the job market due to a limited talent pool.

Moving on to "Is Swift Front or Back End?", Swift is an open-source language that applies to Front and Back-End development environments. Since there's only the need to learn one language to build an app, it is a tremendous advantage for the developer community. Being full-stack increases productivity and reduces costs with its extensive code sharing.

Various web frameworks within the back end are created for Swift. Apple also has its Swift framework, SwiftNIO (Swift Networking Input Output). On the front end side, Swift is currently limited to Apple's mobile and desktop app platforms. Before this, Apple applied Objective-C language for its FE development. Nowadays, it relies on the UIKit for User Interface Development. Also, there's the SwiftUI framework, which helps create apps in a much simpler, more concise, and readable way without using the Interface builder.

Basics of Swift Programming Language

Are you planning on taking up Swift language for iOS App Development? You should first know that you’ll need the Official Apple IDE and Xcode to run and test its lines of code. Next, we’ll focus on various aspects of the programming language, such as syntax and data types.

1. Swift Syntax

Swift’s concise syntax is similar to that of C-based language. Thus, having prior knowledge of C will be an advantage when writing code in Swift. Among their similarities is that both programming languages function based on statements. As a result, requests go in sequences for execution. For instance, by separating these with semicolons, you can add more than one statement per line.

Fun fact: It uses a LLVM-based compiler framework, which translates Swift code into machine code and optimizes it.

Also, work units are modularized using functions and organizing them into types. Within this latter, functions accept one or more parameters and return values. Moreover, Swift and C both have a struct and a class semantics. Both include named variables and constants (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's modern syntax.

2. Swift Types

Swift shares its data types with a few other languages, so these shouldn't be too difficult to learn. These include Strings (to represent textual data), Int (an integer), and Bools (for true or false logic). Also, there are Double (32-bit and 64-bit floating-point numbers, respectively).

3. Swift Variables and Constants

Both variables and constants are essential aspects of Swift. Yet, its relevance also applies to languages like C and Java. 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 before you can use them. Within Swift, you use the var keyword to declare variables. Also, you can apply the let keyword to declare constants.

Swift vs Objective-C

Swift and Objective-C programming languages are high-level, general-purpose, compiled, and open-source. Yet, they have a few differences. For example, unlike the Swift ecosystem, Objective-C is also an object-oriented programming language. Also, it's dynamic-type; it only has classes and uses YES, NO, and BOOL values. Meanwhile, Swift is static-type (types are checked at compile time). Also, besides classes, it has structures and uses true and false values.

A vast difference is that Swift was an efficient language, especially for Apple apps. But, when created, Objective-C had Smalltalk messaging features in mind. Objective-C is harder to learn, read, and maintain than Swift. Additionally, Swift has other safety features that make it ideal for developing apps from scratch, like Automatic Memory Management functions or Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) for managing memory usage and built-in error handling (LLDB debugger).

What Sets Apple Apart?

Many things give Apple Inc. a competitive edge. We’ll detail some of the most important ones.

1. Security. Apple takes security as a priority. When it comes to virtual data, Swift playground encryption is first-class. Thus, Apple platforms are unlikely to get hacked or infected. Moreover, it has tight guidelines to protect data from organizations like the FBI.

2. Innovation. Apple strives for innovation, and it has a reputation for it. Since 2003, it has spent more on R&D than all its competitors. In 2019, the company invested only one-quarter of $4.2B in research and development. The investment in innovation has proven to be the right move as the company grows.

3. User-Friendliness. Besides its innovations, Apple offers products that are easy to navigate and learn. These products include Swift libraries for iOS as well. Also, the company prioritizes simplicity over customizability. As a result, this action ensures everyone can make their way around Apple devices.

4. Brand Strength. There's no doubt that Apple developed a strong brand. Besides providing quality products and services, it maintains high customer trust levels. Further, the brand relies a lot on continuity. All its products are compatible and interconnected, making a smooth user experience. This brand strength and continuity have helped Apple foster customer loyalty. So, customers are more likely to return when needing new devices or services.

Conclusion

Over the last decades, Apple has shown its ability to create innovative products. Further, it has been able to stay relevant in an ever-changing field. So, creating Swift was a great step in the brand's strength and continuity strategy.

The language's uses go beyond iOS development. It also applies to Apple's suite of products and services. Moreover, Swift is a popular language of choice for beginners, and it's becoming a more mature language with each update they make to it for delivering top-notch IT and data solutions. Its simplicity, career prospects, and work opportunities make it a great choice. Do you think Swift is a powerful and intuitive language for fulfilling your business goals? Will you be attending this year's WWDC?