Swift change is coming

The announcement yesterday that Apple would be open-sourcing the Swift programming language is big news.

Swift is a newcomer to the programming language world, but has skyrocketed in popularity in the past year.

On the TIOBE index (an index which tracks the ranking of programming languages) already has Swift in 14th place, predominately due to the massive iOS developer community embracing the new technology. Here is the chart from this morning:

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.33.43 PM

source: http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html

You can expect this trend to only accelerate going forward as the language begins to expand to other platforms.

This isn’t rocket science – but I fully expect Swift to be picked up by Microsoft as soon as possible. Although Microsoft has embraced alternative platforms such as iOS and Android as huge marketplaces for both its own applications like Office and tools like Xamarin Xamarin-logo.svgallowing cross platform development based on .NET – you can’t discount the trememdous (in size and knowledge) developer community that Apple has already created. Supporting Swift on Microsoft’s platforms including mobile devices and enterprise developement stacks will dramatically increase it’s reach into the developer community. A similar argument will also go for Blackberry, another platform which is in serious need of developers & applications. Google’s Android would also benefit for supporting Swift, simplifying cross platform application development.

From a developer’s perspective its a no brainer – this will be awesome for native application development. As the fast rise of Facebook’s ReactJS reactlogo shows that  the ability “learn-once write anywhere” is a valid axiom, the wide adoption of Swift on multiple platforms can be a game changer for native application development.

There are a lot of “if’s” to these statements, we don’t yet know the open source OSI license Apple will release Swift under, we don’t know how the project will be governed and its going to take some time for any other platforms to implement Swift (and they decide to). I suspect, as in antiquity, the crowd will rule and the lure of the iOS development community will prove too much to resist from the other platforms.

It’s an exciting time to be a developer!