Apple says its Swift programming language is now open source. As an open source language, the broad community of developers — from app developers to educational institutions to enterprises — can contribute to new Swift features and optimizations and help bring Swift to new computing platforms.
Introduced in 2014, Swift is the fastest growing programming language in history and combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages. Apple today also launched the Swift.org website with detailed information about Swift open source, including technical documentation, community resources and links to download the Swift source code.
“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.”
Swift is a programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software. Swift is easy to learn and use, even if you’ve never coded before, and it’s the first syst ems programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language, Federighi said. Designed for safety, Swift also eliminates entire categories of common programming errors.
The Swift open source code is available via GitHub and includes support for all Apple software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — as well as for Linux. Components available include the Swift compiler, debugger, standard library, foundation libraries, package manager and REPL. Swift is licensed under the popular Apache 2.0 open source license with a runtime library exception, enabling users to incorporate Swift into their own software and port the language to new platforms. For more information about Swift, and access to community resources visit the new Swift.org.
“We are excited about this new chapter in the story of Swift,” Apple says on the Swift.org site. “After Apple unveiled the Swift programming language, it quickly become 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 programming language available everywhere.”
At the 2015 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, Federighi said Swift will be the “next big programming language” for 20 years to come. It provides a single language to easily create apps for iOS, OS X and Linux. The App Store now has more than 15,000 apps that use Swift.
If you’re new to Swift, check out A Swift Tour in The Swift Programming Language at Swift.org, for a quick introduction to the most important concepts and features of the language. The first step to using Swift is to download and install the compiler and other required components. Go to the Download page at Swift.org and follow the instructions for your target platform.
GitHub’s head of open source, Brandon Keepers, told TheNextWeb.com “with the open source release of Swift on GitHub, Apple is bringing their modern programming language to the world’s largest development community. We warmly welcome Swift and can’t wait to see what the GitHub community builds with it.”
“The more ‘open’ things Apple does, the harder it is for people to label them ‘closed’ or discuss ‘walled gardens’” Patrick Moorhead, President and Principal Analyst for Moor Insights and Strategies, told The Next Web. “By opening up Swift, Apple could now have 100s of thousands more programmers improving the code, This could really help in IoT applications where tiny changes are real important. Apple has a pretty good track record with open sourced WebKit and LLVM, so while success isn’t guaranteed, the company is really good at this.”