Apple’s Swift programming language: Cheat sheet


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Apple’s Swift has far-reaching results on all platforms, not simply iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS. We dive into why Swift issues, how you can use it, and the way it differs from Goal-C.

Apple’s Swift programming language: Goal-C with a easy twist
Apple created Swift to make apps for its personal , and it drew from a well-recognized supply: Goal-C.

Goal-C has received the hearts of many
. It began as a programming language that bundled object-oriented programming (OOP) with the likeness of the C programming language. Goal-C referred to as NeXT and Apple dwelling the place it was the default programming language for NeXTSTEP, OS X, and iOS.

In 2010, Apple began growing Swift, a brand new programming language that may rival Goal-C in just a few areas—particularly, kind security, safety, and higher on-hardware efficiency. Swift is greater than 2.6x quicker than Goal-C and greater than eight.4x quicker than Python. Swift was launched in September 2014.

SEE: 10 methods to forestall developer burnout (free PDF (TechRepublic)

Govt abstract

  • What’s Apple’s Swift? Swift is the latest programming language from Apple; it provides higher kind security, safety, and efficiency. Swift is accessible for growing iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS apps.
  • Why does Apple’s Swift matter? It is a simple programming language to be taught, which is why many college students, entry-level builders, and long-standing Mac and iOS builders are focusing their improvement abilities on Swift. As well as, Apple open sourced Swift, making it accessible for growing on different platforms, not simply these designed by Apple.
  • Who does Apple’s Swift have an effect on? Apps constructed with Swift will be run on iOS gadgets courting again to iOS 7 or later, and OS X gadgets courting again to OS X 10.9 or later.
  • When is Apple’s Swift accessible? Swift is available in the newest model of Xcode.
  • How are you going to get Apple’s Swift? Get the newest model of Swift by downloading Xcode from the Mac App Retailer or the Apple Developer Heart. As soon as Xcode is put in, Swift and the Goal-C compiler (LLVM) will probably be put in in your Mac.

SEE: Extra Apple-related information and suggestions (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

How does Swift differ from Goal-C?

Whereas Apple hasn’t introduced plans to sundown the Goal-C language (in truth, Apple continues to be updating it), Swift is quickly overtaking Goal-C to grow to be extra widespread on Apple’s platforms.

Goal-C probably nonetheless has a protracted life, as Apple has but to replace its personal Frameworks to be written in Swift. Till Swift, Apple is not going to be together with the Swift runtime on iOS or OS X, leaving Xcode to package deal collectively the runtime into the iOS or OS X app to make sure binary compatibility.

Swift does deliver a number of trendy programming niceties to Apple’s platforms. This is a take a look at the principle variations between Goal-C and Swift.

Header information

Goal-C was based mostly on C, however added OOP paradigms to the language by means of object messaging. Due to that, Goal-C made use of header information that publicly declared its features and definitions.

Swift removes this observe, permitting builders to write down a single .swift file that comprises typical header info, properties, and all the class defines right into a single file. Say goodbye to header information, and hi there to cleaner and leaner code.

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and sensible particular person’s guides


Goal-C and Swift are compiled languages, regardless of Swift having a REPL (Learn-Eval-Print Loop) for testing that usually solely helps interpreted languages.

The REPL is accessible within the command line and Xcode. Within Xcode, it is called Playgrounds, permitting builders to write down Swift code, and have it evaluated instantly, printing out the leads to the sidebar (Determine A). To create a brand new Swift Playground in Xcode, open Xcode and choose File | New | Playground. A brand new window will seem, and you’ll enter Swift code to check issues.

Determine A


Playgrounds are a spot to guage and take a look at code with out creating a whole iOS or OS X venture first.

Picture: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

Kind inference

With Goal-C and Swift, object varieties are strongly typed — that means, the compiler should know precisely what kind of object (string, array, dictionary, customized object, and so on.) must be saved in reminiscence for a specific variable. With Swift, Apple determined to maintain sturdy varieties, however enable the compiler to routinely infer the kind based mostly on the objects assigned to a variable.

This implies you may write code like the next snippet, and Swift will see that myVariable is a String kind, as a result of it has a String assigned to it.

let myVariable = "some string right here"

Builders can nonetheless carry out sturdy typing for readability by doing this, however it’s pointless. Nevertheless, it does add readability, particularly to builders that could be touching the codebase after you have labored on it.

let myVariable: String = "some string right here"

Obtainable platforms

When Apple introduced Swift at WWDC 2014, the corporate reported that convention attendees had been utilizing one of many first publicly launched Swift apps: the WWDC app. It was developed partially in Swift, and allowed attendees to view session schedules, maps, and extra.

Formally, iOS 7 and better assist Swift; OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and better assist it as effectively. All variations of watchOS and tvOS have assist for working Swift-built apps.

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How can I be taught and use Swift?

You may want a Mac, and if you’ll be growing for iOS, watchOS, or tvOS, you may want a kind of gadgets as effectively.

After you obtain and set up Xcode, the Goal-C and Swift compiler (LLVM) is put in in your Mac. At this level, opening Xcode will current choices for starting tasks in both Swift or Goal-C.

The primary place to start out is with Playgrounds and the Swift REPL, the place you may be taught by taking part in with Swift’s options in an surroundings that will not mess up any in-flight apps, and with out the necessity to create any full testing iOS or OS X venture.

You should definitely benefit from Apple’s nice Swift assets, which embody two books: one on getting began and one on integrating Swift with current Goal-C apps.

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What does Swift imply for enterprises and builders?

Swift is an open supply language that’s being adopted at a really speedy tempo. It permits builders to prototype and write iOS, OS X, and different Apple platform apps quicker and with fewer bugs and crashes than ever earlier than.

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That is important for enterprises, particularly companies which have made investments in Apple’s platforms, and investments in growing their very own B2B/enterprise apps, as a result of protecting these apps updated has by no means been simpler.

As well as, Swift being open sourced implies that the language will probably be expanded to different platforms, past simply what Apple has created. We’re already seeing Swift being ported to Linux and different platforms.

SEE: Free e-book: Govt’s information to Apple within the enterprise (TechRepublic)

One potential space the place Swift will flourish is net apps. Swift being ported to Linux implies that Swift apps can now run on low-cost, low-maintenance Linux servers which are already the cornerstone of current net APIs and companies. There are already frameworks for Swift that make it so Linux-based server apps will be constructed within Xcode, permitting companies to make the most of current Swift builders to construct the APIs and companies that iOS and OS X apps usually eat.

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What’s in Swift

Apple launched Swift at WWDC ’15, and it added many options and refinements. These are a few of the new options in Swift

  • Swift is open supply with a brand new Linux port accessible.
  • A brand new error dealing with mannequin utilizing strive, throw, and catch key phrases.
  • It targets older variations of iOS and OS X. It is also safer, with the #accessible block that permits you to wrap strains of code that will probably be executed on programs the place the framework is accessible.
  • SDKs at the moment are Swift-ier, due to Apple including generics and nullability to current Goal-C frameworks to make them interface higher with Swift code.

What’s in Swift

Apple launched Swift at WWDC ‘ 16; it was the primary main launch of Swift since Apple open sourced the language in December 2015. The brand new options in Swift embody:

  • Refinements to the core language and normal library to rid the language of NS prefixes and different Goal-C holdovers.
  • Main additions to the Linux port of Swift.
  • The addition of the Swift Bundle Supervisor to make it simpler to handle dependencies.

What’s in Swift

Like with different Swift releases, was introduced at WWDC ’17 and launched in beta type to builders alongside Xcode 9. This launch of Swift added fairly just a few refinements and options to the programming language, together with:

  • New Codeable protocol that permits for simple serialization of knowledge wrapped in structs.
  • String literals can now break into a number of strains utilizing the brand new “”” declaration (three units of quote marks) to open and shut the multiline string.
  • Strings obtained a significant overhaul, making them collections of characters.

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What’s in Swift

Swift ushered in additional enhancements for the most well-liked language for iOS and Mac improvement by including many normal library additions like efficiency enhancements and extra.

The largest function of Swift was the declaration of ABI Stability and Binary Compatibility; each of those imply that the Swift normal libraries are integrated within the releases of macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS going ahead. These libraries now not have to be included in every app’s binary, and the app package deal will be a lot smaller.

For extra info, learn the the Swift group’s weblog put up about Swift

What’s Swift Playgrounds for iPad?

At WWDC ’16, Apple introduced the addition of Swift Playgrounds, an app that lets builders and starting coders program utilizing the Swift language on the iPad in a Playground surroundings that was pioneered on the Mac with Xcode 6.

At WWDC ’17, Apple introduced two new variations of Swift Playgrounds. Swift Playgrounds 1.5 is accessible instantly and supplies the flexibility to interface with Bluetooth-connected gadgets like drones, Sphero, and LEGO toys to deliver real-world programming for college students and builders.

Additionally introduced at WWDC ’17 was Swift Playgrounds This new model was made accessible as a beta to builders on the convention and options built-in API documentation instruments, Swift and Swift three.2 assist, assist for the iOS 11 SDK, and assist for utilizing Digicam and Augmented Actuality APIs.

Swift Playgrounds is a free app that may be downloaded for iPad from the App Retailer.

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What’s SwiftUI?

At WWDC in June 2019, Apple launched SwiftUI, which is a brand new option to create UIs for Swift apps. This set of instruments and APIs enable builders to write down declarative Swift syntax to outline and current a consumer interface, getting many new options that include
iOS 13
free of charge, together with:

  • Dynamic Kind
  • Darkish Mode
  • Localizations for widespread objects
  • iOS accessibility options

SwiftUI lets you state what the interface ought to do, and iOS takes management in presenting that interface to your customers. You may create an inventory of things, after which describe the alignment, font, and shade for every merchandise all in code with out having to make the most of Interface Builder.

Utilizing the brand new Design Instruments in Xcode 11, you may see what the code is presenting to the consumer. The reside preview window will routinely sync with the code within the side-by-side editor to preview as you kind.

SwiftUI is native on all Apple platforms working iOS 13, together with iPhone, Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Better of all, a UI that you simply create for one system will routinely be translated (or will be translated with little work) to all platforms.

SwiftUI can also be the way in which you may simply port your iOS apps to Mac by including the Mac as a deployment possibility in your iOS venture settings. This new framework will in the end result in mere accessible, extra maintainable, extra moveable apps for Apple’s platforms.

For extra info on implementing SwiftUI in your purposes, take a look at the next WWDC 2019 session movies:

Extra assets

Swift’s model historical past

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Editor’s observe: This text was initially revealed in April 2016.

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