An Overview of Apple’s Swift Programming Language

Screen-Shot-2014-06-03-at-6.47.25-am-730x450

The jaws of iOS developers everywhere dropped with the announcement at WWDC yesterday that Apple was introducing a new programming language to eventually replace Objective-C, called Swift. The surprise wasn’t that they did it (everyone knew it had to be done), but that it happened so soon. Apple has so much institutional knowledge of Objective-C that to replace it is truly a massive sea change. The problem with Objective-C, being a 25-year old mashup of C and Smalltalk, is that is was never quite fully-baked. And it was not suited for high-performance code, causing developers to revert to C or C++ in many cases. Here are my initial thoughts and observations on how Swift compares to Objective-C and other modern languages. There’s a LOT to cover, so I just picked out the interesting bits:
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Double Pointers in Objective-C

Pointers

Ah, pointers. Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of novice C programmers, or developers who aren’t used to them. Add to that the notion of double pointers (**) and address-of operators (&) and you are pretty much guaranteed to scare them away. But they are really not that hard, as long as you understand 3 things:

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iOS Rant Night

iOS Rant Night

Last night I attended the NYC iOS Developer meet up at Time Inc. headquarters. The theme of the event was “Rant Night” and featured 6 experienced developers venting their frustrations about developing for Apple’s platforms. Here’s what they had to say:

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