SWIFT’S POPULARITY SURGES
Apple’s main programming language Swift is less than four years old. A new report finds that it’s already as popular as Apple’s previous and more established Objective-C language. Swift is actually tied with Objective-C at number 10 in rankings conducted by the analyst firm RedMonk. Swift is the fastest growing programming language that RedMonk has seen since it started putting out these rankings in 2011. It even outpaced Google’s language called Go which it released all the way back in 2009.
HOW RED MONK COMPILES THEIR RANKINGS
These rankings at RedMonk don’t necessarily reflect whether big time companies are using these languages. The firm is only interested in popularity among programmers. They are able to put together these rankings using arbitrary methods such as looking at how many questions people ask about each language on Stack Overflow or how many open source projects on GitHub are using these languages. RedMonk aim for rankings that gauge raw popularity. Nothing more and Nothing less.
When it comes to whether one should be using Swift or the older Objective-C there are a few pros and cons to look at when it comes to the Swift language. Some of the well known pros are:
Created by Apple. Despite Apple’s negative reputation in the eyes of many customers and potential customers Apple has been one of the most influential tech companies in the world, Swift is in a good position to become the dominant language for IOS development.
Open source. Open source languages have the benefit of being free and open for all to use. This enabled Swift to gather an extremely large support community and make tools and libraries that work directly with the language.
Clean Syntax. This is a popular selling point for many languages including Python. The syntax for Swift likewise encourages its users to write clean and consistent code. There are also built in safeguards to prevent errors and improve readability.
High Performance Speed. Combine the simple and easy to write syntax and the fact that Swift is 2.6x faster than Objective-C and 8.4x faster than Python and its easy to see why its so popular. However, it is important to point out that Swift and Objective-C are compiled languages and Python is a scripted language which means there will always be performance gaps. More information on the difference between those two kinds of languages can be found here.
It’s easier to scale. Along with the faster development time you can expect with Swift the language is extremely easy to expand upon using many of its built in tools. This makes projects with the Swift language much easier to scale than with Objective-C.
With easy to read syntax swift resembles python
SOME DRAWBACKS OF SWIFT
Despite its growing popularity this language has a few drawbacks that will need to be addressed in order for its popularity to surge even further. Some of these include:
The language is very young. Swift is one of the most powerful and fasted languages in the world but it is still too young. There are some issues with “growing pains”. It isn’t quite mature yet. There is a limited number of built in libraries that can make certain tasks difficult.
Lack of backward compatibility. Swift is moving forward so fast that there is very little compatibility with older languages and technologies. This creates many problems when it comes to improving upon legacy code or older projects. When switching to the latest Swift version many programmers have to re write their projects completely.
Limited pool of talent. The community has been growing fast but it is still much smaller than that of many other languages.
SWIFT HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE
Despite these drawbacks the overall picture looks good for Apple’s young language. If you are an up and coming programmer it would certainly be to your benefit to learn how to use it. The demand for it will grow faster than the jobs can be filled resulting in an opportunity for new adopters of this language.