Earlier this year Apple made a promise that it would make its Swift programming language open-source. The wait is now over: The company has officially announced the new chapter in the story of Swift on a site dedicated to the open-source project, swift.org.
“By making Swift open source the entire developer community can contribute to the programming language and help bring it to even more platforms,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Swift’s power and ease of use will inspire a new generation to get into coding, and with today’s announcement they’ll be able to take their ideas anywhere, from mobile devices to the cloud.”
When Apple unveiled Swift last year, it surprised the developer community – it presented the language as a powerful, fun, and intuitive programming language for iOS, OS X, and watchOS, which “generates faster code across the board, both for release and debug builds”.
But open-sourcing the language is a significant move in paving the way for Swift to run on all sorts of other machines, such as computer servers running Linux, Android smartphones, and Windows tablets.
Apple will run the project from the aforementioned website dedicated to Swift and share the source code through GitHub, the popular code repository. Using the open source language, developers will now be tempted to build software that runs on multiple operating systems besides iOS.
We are excited by this new chapter in the story of Swift. After Apple unveiled the Swift programming language, it quickly became one of the fastest growing languages in history. Swift makes it easy to write software that is incredibly fast and safe by design. Now that Swift is open source, you can help make the best general purpose programming language available everywhere.
For students, learning Swift has been a great introduction to modern programming concepts and best practices. And because it is now open, their Swift skills will be able to be applied to an even broader range of platforms, from mobile devices to the desktop to the cloud.
Welcome to the Swift community. Together we are working to build a better programming language for everyone.
Also, as noted by Wired, by open-sourcing the language, Apple is riding another trend, and that it is the demand for openness: More and more developers are using open-source tools when developing apps and online services, including the biggest of tech corporations such as Google, Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb (all of them run their online database from data centres filled with Linux machines).