If you are an Apple fan, you are probably familiar with Swift. 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 Swift and an overview of the upcoming WWCD2022 event. Let's dive in!
What is Swift (iOS)?
Swift is an open-source programming language. It launched in 2014 as an optional language to build Apple products. Also, it incorporates features from Objective-C, Rust, Python, Ruby, and others. This 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 are Swift’s Basics?
Are you planning on taking up Swift for iOS development? You should first know that you’ll need the Xcode IDE to run and test its code. Next, we’ll focus on various aspects of the programming language, such as syntax and data types.
1. Swift Syntax
Swift’s syntax has many similarities with that of the C programming language. Thus, having prior knowledge of C will be an advantage when learning Swift. Among their similarities, both programming language 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.
Also, units of work modularize using functions and organizing 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 named 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.
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.
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.
Is Swift Easy to Learn?
Since its building, Swift has aimed to be easy to learn. Further, Apple defines it as the first programming language for everybody to learn. As we saw before, it uses a simple syntax. Due to it, it's understandable even without prior coding experience. In fact, over 75% of Apple's jobs in the US are related to iOS and its App Store. Thus, it's safe to say that, besides being easy to learn, its skills have broad demand in the job market.
Is Swift Front or Back End?
Swift is a full-stack language that applies to both the front end (FE) and the back end (BE). Since there's only the need to learn one language to build an app, it is a tremendous advantage for devs. Being full-stack increases productivity and reduces costs.
Various web frameworks within the back end are created for Swift. Also, Apple has its own Swift framework, SwiftNIO (Swift Networking Input Output). On the front end side, Swift is currently limited to Apple platforms' mobile and desktop apps of Apple platforms. Prior, Apple's applied Objective-C for its FE development. Nowadays, it relies on the UIKit for User Interface Development. Also, there's the SwiftUI framework. It helps to create apps in a much simpler, more concise, and readable way. Further, there's the SwiftUI framework. Its primary purpose is to develop apps in simpler, more concise, and readable ways.
Are all iOS Apps in Swift?
As we mentioned, iOS apps used Objective-C in the beginning. While you may still see apps developed with Objective-C, modern apps use Swift. Further, it is possible to create iOS apps with other programming languages. Yet, since its process needs significant workarounds, it's more costly and time-consuming. By now, we can safely say that using Swift for iOS development is the best choice.
Swift vs. Objective-C
Both Swift and Objective-C are high-level, general-purpose, compiled, and 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. Also, besides classes, it has Structs and uses true and false values. A vast difference is that Swift was specially designed for Apple apps. But, when created, Objective-C had Smalltalk messaging features in mind. Even more, Objective-C is harder to learn, read, and maintain than Swift.
Who created Swift?
As we've mentioned, Apple created Swift. Thus, this content wouldn't be complete without listing what differentiates Apple. What are its main differences with big names like Google and Microsoft? We'll take a look at it and then review the upcoming WWCC2022.
What Sets Apple Apart?
Many things give Apple 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, its encryption is first-class. Thus, Apple products 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 gets a reputation for it. Since 2003, it has spent more on R&D than all its competitors. Back in 2019, the company invested $4.2B in Research and Development in only one quarter. 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 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 pretty 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.
Apple has held its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWCD) since 1983. Although at that time, its name was The Apple Independent Software Developers Conference. As an event, the WWCD has third-party devs working with Apple's products and services. During these instances, the company discusses the changes developers should expect. For the last decade or so, the event happened sometime in June and spanned over five days. This year, the event will have online and on-site options between June 6 and 10.
The WWCD22 encompasses many different activities. 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. All the prior makes the WWCD a great opportunity to know Apple's latest news on 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 will host the Swift Student Challenge.
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 brand strength and continuity in its strategy.
The language's uses go beyond iOS development. Also, it applies throughout Apple's suite of products and services. Moreover, Swift is a great starter language for up-and-coming developers. Its simplicity, career prospects, and work opportunities make it a great choice. What do you think about Swift? Will you be attending this year's WWDC?