Typically, when a new language appears like this—out of nowhere—it needs years to reach a mass audience. This is true even if it’s backed by a tech giant the size of Apple. Google unveiled a language called Go in 2009, and though it was designed by some of the biggest names in the history of software design—Ken Thompson and Rob Pike—it’s still struggling to gain a major following among the world’s coders. But Swift is a different animal. When it’s officially released this fall, it could achieve mass adoption with unprecedented speed, surpassing even the uptake of Sun Microsystems’ Java programming language and Microsoft’s C# in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Cade wrote in his article for Wired exploring the reason Apple’s Swift language will instantly remake computer programming. I can’t say I disagree with any part of the article. I honestly can’t. In my 25 odd years of programming (professionally and as a hobby during my teenage years), I’ve never seen any single language that quite took the world by storm.
Here is my own observation and reason I agree with Cade:
- Apple is well known for its ability to push new technology forward even though at times, with its users kicking and screaming. I don’t see an exception with the Swift language.
- There are lots of vested interest from iOS/Mac developers to keep up with Apple’s development tools and offerings. When Apple deprecates Objective-C as a programming language for iOS/Mac, developers have to either pick up Swift or cease doing business on Apple’s platform.
- Swift presents a lower barrier to entry for new comers compared to Objective-C. Being able to fiddle with life code and see the result instantly in Playground makes learning to program so much easier and fun.
- If the reaction from developers during the WWDC ’14 unveiling of Swift is any indication, the uptake will surely be swift (pardon the pun).
Another point to note is that the tone used in Cade’s article looks like it is targeting a geeky reader base but not necessary with a background in programming. Maybe I have not been paying attention to the tech publication, but when was the last time you have come across an article that covers a programming language with the intended reader base of non-programmers.
—Swiftloc signing off.