Apple has followed through on a promise made back in June and released its Swift programming language to the developer community as open source.
First released in mid-2014, Apple’s Swift is a programming language that the Cupertino company is pushing to make the standard for iPhone, iPad, and Mac development. It’s had tremendous uptake among Apple developers in a short period of time.
“Open source” means that any developer, anywhere in the world, can download Apple Swift’s source code and make improvements or tweaks to it.
“Swift makes it easy to write software that is incredibly fast and safe by design. Now that Swift is open source, you can help make the best general purpose programming language available everywhere,” says the new Swift.org site, which hosts the open source community.
You can download or just view the Swift source code at Apple’s GitHub page — though at the time of publication, it looks like it hasn’t actually gone live there yet.
Meanwhile, Swift.org is already soliciting ideas and contributions for the forthcoming third version of the Swift language.
For Swift, getting released as open source mainly means three things:
- Since developers can contribute improvements to Swift, the language will get a lot better a lot faster.
- It’s an important signal to developers that Swift is more about helping developers write better code than it is about Apple pushing an agenda.
- It’s a security blanket for programmers — it means that even if Apple moves on to a new, next big thing, the community can still push through updates and features.
Moreover, timed with the launch of Swift into open source, Apple also released a version of the programming language for the popular free Linux operating system, potentially opening the door to even broader usages.
At the time of publication, the Swift.org site is going up and down, presumably as an influx of developers come to see what Apple has gotten up to with Swift.