Apple takes on Google with Swift

Top of the line mobile device maker Apple is tackling Google head on by making its Swift programming language open source.

As an open source language, the broad community of talented developers — from app developers to educational institutions to enterprises — can contribute to new Swift features and optimisations and help bring Swift to new computing platforms, Apple said in a media release issued on Friday.

The move means Apple, known for its iDevices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod, will be playing in a similar space to Google with its open source Android mobile computing platform found on Chromebooks, tablets and smart phones.

Introduced in 2014, Apple, claims Swift is the fastest growing programming language in history based on RedMonk Programming Language Rankings in June 2015. It said Swift combined the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.

Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said by making Swift open source the entire developer community could contribute to the programming language and help bring it to even more platforms.
"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."

Apple claims Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software.

Swift, Apple says, is easy to learn and use, even if you've never coded before, and it's the first systems programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language. Designed for safety, Swift also eliminates entire categories of common programming errors. 

The Swift open source code is available via GitHub.com, where more than 11 million software developers discover, fork, and contribute to over 30 million projects, and includes support for all Apple software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — as well as for Linux.

Components available from Apple 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 easily incorporate Swift into their own software and port the language to new platforms. For more information about Swift, and access to community resources visit swift.org. There you will find detailed information about Swift open source, including technical documentation, community resources and links to download the Swift source code.

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