Swift

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Writing Swift code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and Swift includes modern features developers love. Swift code is safe by design, yet also produces software that runs lightning-fast. Swift 5 makes it dramatically easier to release your apps. Users who download an app built with Swift from the App Store will get a smaller app and a faster download.

Swift is the result of the latest research on programming languages, combined with decades of experience building Apple platforms. Named parameters are expressed in a clean syntax that makes APIs in Swift even easier to read and maintain. Inferred types make code cleaner and less prone to mistakes, while modules eliminate headers and provide namespaces.

To best support international languages and emoji, Strings are Unicode-correct and use a UTF-8 based encoding to optimize performance for a wide-variety of use cases.

Memory is managed automatically using tight, deterministic reference counting, keeping memory usage to a minimum without the overhead of garbage collection. Declare new types with modern, straightforward syntax. Provide default values for instance properties and define custom initializers.

Add functionality to existing types using extensions, and cut down on boilerplate with custom string interpolations. Quickly extend your custom types to take advantage of powerful language features, such as automatic JSON encoding and decoding. Perform powerful custom transformations using streamlined closures. Swift eliminates entire classes of unsafe code. Variables are always initialized before use, arrays and integers are checked for overflow, memory is automatically managed, and enforcement of exclusive access to memory guards against many programming mistakes.

Syntax is tuned to make it easy to define your intent — for example, simple three-character keywords define a variable var or constant let. And Swift heavily leverages value types, especially for commonly used types like Arrays and Dictionaries. Another safety feature is that by default Swift objects can never be nil. In fact, the Swift compiler will stop you from trying to make or use a nil object with a compile-time error. This makes writing code much cleaner and safer, and prevents a huge category of runtime crashes in your apps. However, there are cases where nil is valid and appropriate.

For these situations Swift has an innovative feature known as optionals. An optional may contain nil , but Swift syntax forces you to safely deal with it using the? Use optionals when you might have an instance to return from a function, or you might not. Features such as optional binding, optional chaining, and nil coalescing let you work safely and efficiently with optional values. From its earliest conception, Swift was built to be fast.

Using the incredibly high-performance LLVM compiler technology, Swift code is transformed into optimized native code that gets the most out of modern hardware. The syntax and standard library have also been tuned to make the most obvious way to write your code also perform the best whether it runs in the watch on your wrist or across a cluster of servers.


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Swift is a successor to both the C and Objective-C languages. It includes low-level primitives such as types, flow control, and operators. It also provides object-oriented features such as classes, protocols, and generics, giving Cocoa and Cocoa Touch developers the performance and power they demand. Swift can open doors to the world of coding. For educators, Apple created free curriculum to teach Swift both in and out of the classroom.

Swift is more than 2. Swift 1. While Apple hasn't announced plans to sunset the Objective-C language in fact, Apple is still updating it , Swift is rapidly overtaking Objective-C to become more popular on Apple's platforms. Objective-C likely still has a long life, as Apple has yet to update its own Frameworks to be written in Swift. Until Swift 3. Swift does bring a lot of modern programming niceties to Apple's platforms.

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Here's a look at the main differences between Objective-C and Swift. Because of that, Objective-C made use of header files that publicly declared its functions and definitions. Swift gets rid of this practice, allowing developers to write a single. Say goodbye to header files, and hello to cleaner and leaner code.

Swift - Apple Developer

Inside of Xcode, it is known as Playgrounds, allowing developers to write Swift code, and have it evaluated immediately, printing out the results in the sidebar Figure A. A new window will appear, and you can enter Swift code to test things. Playgrounds are a place to evaluate and test code without creating an entire iOS or OS X project first. With Objective-C and Swift, object types are strongly typed — meaning, the compiler must know exactly what type of object string, array, dictionary, custom object, etc. With Swift, Apple decided to keep strong types, but allow the compiler to automatically infer the type based on the objects assigned to a variable.

This means you can write code like the following snippet, and Swift will see that myVariable is a String type, because it has a String assigned to it.

Developers can still perform strong typing for clarity by doing this, but it is unnecessary. However, it does add clarity, especially to developers that may be touching the codebase after you've worked on it. It was developed partially in Swift, and allowed attendees to view session schedules, maps, and more. At this point, opening Xcode will present options for beginning projects in either Swift or Objective-C.

The first place to start is with Playgrounds and the Swift REPL, where you can learn by playing with Swift's features in an environment that won't mess up any in-flight apps, and without the need to create any full testing iOS or OS X project.

Apple's Swift programming language: Cheat sheet

Be sure to take advantage of Apple's great Swift resources, which include two books: one on getting started and one on integrating Swift with existing Objective-C apps. Swift is an open source language that is being adopted at a very rapid pace. It allows developers to prototype and write iOS, OS X, and other Apple platform apps faster and with fewer bugs and crashes than ever before. In addition, Swift being open sourced means that the language will be expanded to other platforms, beyond just what Apple has created.

We are already seeing Swift being ported to Linux and other platforms. One potential area where Swift will flourish is web apps. Swift being ported to Linux means that Swift apps can now run on low-cost, low-maintenance Linux servers that are already the cornerstone of existing web APIs and services. There are already frameworks for Swift that make it so Linux-based server apps can be built inside of Xcode, allowing businesses to utilize existing Swift developers to build the APIs and services that iOS and OS X apps often consume.

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Apple released Swift 2. These are some of the new features in Swift 2. Apple released Swift 3. The new features in Swift 3. Like with other Swift releases, 4. This release of Swift added quite a few refinements and features to the programming language, including:. Swift 5.