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How to write apps with Swift 3

Lucy Hattersley | July 13, 2016
All you need to know about writing apps with Apple's Swift 3 developer language: the importance of Swift going open-source, new features in Swift 3, and why you should you learn to program in Swift

While Apple is a very private company, and very protective of its own creations, so to a non-developer open source seems an odd fit for the company. However, Apple isn't a stranger to the open-source community by any means. OS X is built upon UNIX and much of its software components are open source.

Apple's Open at the source page says: "Apple believes that using Open Source methodology makes Mac OS X a more robust, secure operating system, as its core components have been subjected to the crucible of peer review for decades."

How to write apps with Swift 3: What is Apple's Swift programming language like to use?

Apple's Swift programming language, first unveiled at WWDC 2014, is designed to make it much easier to program Mac OS X and iOS devices. The rest of this article looks at what Apple Swift is like as a programming language, how to get Apple Swift set up on your Mac, and how to learn to program in Apple Swift.

Swift augments, and is set to eventually replace, Apple's current Objective-C programming language. Objective-C was developed in the 1980s and brought to the Mac in 1996. Prior to 2014 it had been 17 years since Apple released a new programming language so Swift is very important to the Apple developer community.

How to write apps with Swift 3: What is Apple's Swift programming language?

Swift is a programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch (which are the programming frameworks for Mac OS X and iOS, respectively).  Swift programs are created using Xcode 6, the latest edition of Apple's integrated development environment (IDE).

Swift is a relatively new programming language, introduced in 2014, but it is designed to sit alongside existing Objective-C programs (which is what OS X and iOS programs used to be developed with This enables developers to add Swift code to existing apps without having to replace all the older Objective-C code.

How to write apps with Swift 3: What are the advantages to programming in Apple Swift?

Apple has outlined a number of advantages that Swift has over older Objective-C code. Since the language is relatively new there is much that remains to be see, but here are some of the reasons why Swift is a better programming language than Objective-C:

Apple Swift has clean syntax

Apple Swift is designed to be a much easier programming language to read, and code. Swift's syntax (the formatting) does not require semi-colons at the end of each line, and functions are easier to understand. For example, the humble Print command, which most people are familiar with from Basic is NSLOG in Objective-C (NS is a throwback to NextStep, the company that Steve Jobs set up when he left Apple, which shows you how much legacy Apple is replacing); in Swift that command is a far more familiar 'println'. There are fewer symbols required to code, and in general Swift is much more efficient than Objective-C.


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