'Swift' Programming Language in Development for Four Years, "Major Focus" Since 2013

SwiftThe Swift programming language was as close to a "One More Thing" as there was at the WWDC Keynote this week, debuting to significant cheers from the developers in the audience. Immediate reaction after the keynote suggested Swift was "huge news" and the future of development on Apple products.

Apple says Swift code is "concise yet expressive", interactive and fun. For coders, the introduction to Swift is available on the iBooks Store but Chris Lattner, head of Apple's Developer Tools department, shared additional information on Swift on his personal webpage (via TechCrunch).

Now that Swift is public, Lattner revealed that he began working on Swift in mid-2010, with a team of coders "contributing in earnest" late in 2011. Last July, Swift finally became the major focus of Lattner's Developer Tools Group.

The Swift language is the product of tireless effort from a team of language experts, documentation gurus, compiler optimization ninjas, and an incredibly important internal dogfooding group who provided feedback to help refine and battle-test ideas. Of course, it also greatly benefited from the experiences hard-won by many other languages in the field, drawing ideas from Objective-C, Rust, Haskell, Ruby, Python, C#, CLU, and far too many others to list.

The Xcode Playgrounds feature and REPL were a personal passion of mine, to make programming more interactive and approachable. The Xcode and LLDB teams have done a phenomenal job turning crazy ideas into something truly great. Playgrounds were heavily influenced by Bret Victor's ideas, by Light Table and by many other interactive systems.

Lattner says that he hopes to make programming "more approachable and fun" with Swift, getting rid of extraneous materials to make programming easier to learn.

"We'll appeal to the next generation of programmers and to help redefine how Computer Science is taught," Lattner writes.

Top Rated Comments

doelcm82 Avatar
87 months ago
Today's programmers have it easy.

We programmers from the 80s used to have to build linked lists from dirt and bits of string we found on the ground.

The programmers from the 70s had to punch their code out on cards and feed the cards into the machine.

Inferred variable types...pshaw.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SwiftLives Avatar
87 months ago
I wonder how long I can coast on my suddenly-very-appropriate username on Macrumors...
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OtherJesus Avatar
87 months ago
If you think Swift is great, wait till you see the new language from samsung. They started working on it one day before Apple started working on Swift.

It's gonna totally change the industry.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doelcm82 Avatar
87 months ago

Absolutely! There wasn't a murmur of this leading up to WWDC. I watched the keynote, and my jaw just about hit the floor when they announced Swift. Yes, definitely could have been a 'one more thing' if Jobs had been around to deliver the keynote. And it's interesting to know that this was started under his watch.

No overseas partners to leak it to sites like this one.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NachoGrande Avatar
87 months ago
I can't wait to start working with this. Objective C is archaic to say the least
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TimWillz Avatar
87 months ago
I think it's amazing. Apple should be extremely proud of their work.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
pat gelsinger intel

Incoming Intel CEO Derides Company's Inability to 'Deliver Better Products' Than Apple's M1 Chip

Friday January 15, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that the company must "deliver better products" than Apple, which he described as a "lifestyle company," and says that Intel's best days are "in front of it" (via The Oregonian). Speaking at an Intel all-hands meeting yesterday, Gelsinger derisively implied that Apple is merely a "lifestyle company," so Intel must be able to surpass its technology: ...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...