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Issue 12.4 ('Game Center')
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What About Swift?

Apple Introduces a New Language

Issue: 12.4 (July/August 2014)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 7,235
Starting Page Number: 14
Article Number: 12405
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

I've always been fascinated by languages. No doubt part of that is from living in multiple countries when I was young, but I am intrigued by how a particular language actually changes how you think and even what you're able to think. When I got into computer programming, I discovered the same is true of computer languages: there are concepts easily expressed in one language that are difficult or impossible in another. It's part of the reason there are so many programming languages.

In June, Apple held their annual WWDC (WorldWide Developer's Conference) and announced a new programming language for OS X and iOS called Swift (https://developer.apple.com/swift/). I was immediately intrigued as I've never had the time to learn Objective-C and Swift sounded like it might be easier.

It is. Sort of.

Here's the thing. If you already know and use Objective-C, Swift is easy to pick up. If you don't... well, Swift still uses all the same frameworks and, while it simplifies them a great deal, knowing the frameworks is about 80% of the difficultly of learning to program with Xcode. Learning the actual syntax of Swift is trivial.

Lets just say that Swift isn't a replacement for Xojo by any means. If you're comfortable with how Xojo works now, you'll be at home when it supports iOS. With Swift you still have to learn a ton of stuff that Xojo handles for you.

That doesn't meant that Swift isn't cool or not worth exploring. It sounds like it's the future and will probably replace Objective-C down the road (though not for several years). As a new language, it's got some neat ideas and modern features. However, because it's so new, it's still evolving. It probably won't be the same by this time next year. In the meantime, it's fun to check it out.

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