Swift - A modern approach to application development
Swift stands out from the list of modern languages, including Kotlin, C#, Scala, and the like. It is a compiled language that compiles down to Low-Level Virtual Machine(LLVM) bytecode and is Just-In-Time compiled to native code of the architecture, making it a very fast language. Swift also uses Automatic Reference Counting to manage memory, making it easy to write applications for iOS. It is a complete development solution that can integrate with Apple's developer APIs.
Today, application development is not about building apps just for a single platform but for running on multiple devices and platforms. To run on multiple platforms, developers must develop server-side components in a language familiar to them as they already develop the front-end applications for different platforms. Thanks to Apple, it now supports server-side development offering an engaging experience for Swift developers to make use of full-stack development for working on different platforms with the same language and the standard libraries available for building iOS, tvOS, macOS, and watchOS applications.
Apple announced Swift as open-source in December 2015. This move by Apple led many developers to use Swift's codebase and build Swift compiler and toolset on their operating system where LLVM is supported. In addition, Apple created a Swift toolset after open-sourcing Swift to work on Ubuntu, a Linux distribution. This has made it possible to build cross-platform applications in Swift that work on Apple's OS and Linux by utilizing the standard libraries that give access to data types, operating system services, and collections to define the functionality for the application.
The Swift community also has a Swift evolution process established to propose ideas to improve the Swift development experience. These ideas are then included in the upcoming release. The process covers all language features and API enhancements. Anyone can propose an idea and submit it to the core team, which accepts or rejects the proposed changes. Once a proposal is submitted, it goes through various stages till the acceptance status is determined. Next, each proposal goes through a public review and discussion process. It is then evaluated if the proposed change is significant and fits well with the direction of the language before being accepted or rejected.
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Swift - An alternative to Objective-C by Apple
This is the first time Apple has provided an alternative to Objective-C after introducing iOS and OS X development tools. Swift has got new features and concepts that are not found in Objective-C, which are detailed below.
Swift is like any other Object-Oriented Programming language by which you can create classes, objects, methods, and properties. As a result, it helps you develop safe code and keeps your code devoid of silly errors.
Some of the powerful features of Swift are given below.
- Range Operators
- Functional programming patterns
In addition, you have the Playground feature, an innovative addition supported in Xcode 6, Apple's integrated development environment for macOS and higher. It allows you to see the results of a piece of code in Swift without compiling or running it.
Swift also has a Swift Version Manager to manage multiple releases of the language on the same workstation as it takes more time and effort and is error-prone to switch between the different releases on the same system manually. This tool works on both macOS and Linux. It allows developers to keep a single version of Swift as the default in their system. It can be overridden by using an environment variable explicitly configured for each project implemented in Swift.
It also offers integration with other continuous-integration build tools such as Travis CI, CircleCI, and Gitlabs CI to ensure that automated build and deployment systems always use the proper release version of the language rather than the default version set in the environment variable. Docker images are also available in the Swift Version Manager, which is based on Ubuntu and includes a release version of the language and the tool. A buildpack is available for Heroku to automatically install the local version of Swift specified in the environment.
Technologies in use in the Swift environment
Swift is an easy-to-learn computer language. The following technologies are part of the Swift environment.
It is the modern programming language that can make it easy for you to develop front-end and server-side components in the same language with robust and innovative features in addition to the standard library elements. Apple has introduced Swift and continues to revamp its features in further versions to support the development of apps for its iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Mac OS platforms.
It is the premier development environment provided by Apple for developing apps. It has a debugger, an editor, a project manager, and the compiler tool that makes Swift code into code that can run. It can be downloaded from Apple's Mac App Store.
Low-Level Virtual Machine(LLVM)
The compiler runs in the background and provides fast performance by turning the code into powerful bits that can be understood by the processors that power Apple devices.
Why does Swift fare higher than its programming language counterparts?
The attributes of Swift as a robust programming language for inherent application performance and developer productivity are listed below.
- Error detection at compile time and not runtime
- Modern programming language constructs make it easy to learn
- Code reengineering for multi-platform support
- Built-in performance features including an optimized search algorithm that is 2.6 times faster than Objective-C and 8.4 times faster than Python 2.7
- Compiled language with benefits of an interpreted language
Requirements - hard skills
- Extensive iOS development experience
- Strong knowledge of design patterns
- Strong object-oriented programming skills
- Knowledge and practical experience using SwiftUI
- Knowledge of designing and building applications for the iOS platform
- Experience with OTT development such as tvOS
- Working knowledge of RESTful web services/SOAP WS
- Experience in Continuous Integration, Jenkins, Maven, and more
- Experience with third-party libraries and APIs
- Working knowledge of the general mobile landscape, architectures, trends, and emerging technologies
- Experience with unit testing in a mobile development stack
- Experience with push notification integration and deep linking
- Expertise with latest development paradigms such as performance, security, and coding best practices
Swift is a funny and expressive programming language that developers of mobile apps are obsessed with. It offers robust features, but the developers can easily learn the language even if they don't have hands-on experience with Objective-C, a relatively more challenging language to learn than Swift. Swift also gives the developer the flexibility to write code without hassle without knowing much about the low-level organization. So, the developer just goes ahead with coding without much ado beforehand.
- Develop features and solutions for multiple apps
- Architect solutions for enterprise-level challenges, including supporting multiple clients with “reskinnable” codebases, authentication with shared backends, and ensuring timely delivery with reusable code
- Help architect mobile development stack for different workflows, unit testing, deployment, and more
- Create technical solutions based on specifications and client-specific environment
- Convert legacy code from Objective-C to Swift
- Evaluate complex and multi-faceted designs
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams to define and design new features
- Stay abreast of recent technological trends in front-end technologies
- Learn new tools and technologies quickly
- Assist in the technical strategy and approach to implementation by collaborating with the client
- Work with other developers across different environments such as Web, CMS, and backend service teams and clients from multiple business units
Swift programming language has been rapidly adopted worldwide since its inception as more programmers choose Swift for their mobile stack development. As a result, programming skills and experience in Swift are in high demand in the industry with a high salary offer for Swift developers.
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