1 March 2016

Daden UDay: The Swift Programming Language

By: Nash MBaya


For our second Daden U Day I decided to look at the relatively new programming language Swift developed by Apple. Swift is a general-purpose programming language built using a modern approach to safety, performance, and software design patterns. Although swift is meant to be a general purpose programming it is mainly associated with iOS app development. Apple touts it as a ‘powerful and intuitive programming language for iOS, OS X, tvOS and watchOS.

As a way of getting to know the Swift I decided to write a small iOS application using one of Apple’s tutorials for Swift. I am no stranger to iOS development and XCode the integrated development environment (IDE) used to develop software for Apple products. I have previously made attempts to development iOS apps using Objective C and XCode. Admittedly these attempts have all failed as i have found Objective C a very different programming language to C#; the language I am adept in and my programming language of choice.

Before I began the DadenU project my aim was to discover if Swift was a programming I could learn easily and pick up quickly so that I could switch between C# and Swift without too much effort just as I often do with C# and Java. After spending a couple of hours writing Swift code the initials signs were promising. Although the Syntax between C# and Swift is not as closely matched as I would have hoped the code I was writing based on the example was easy enough to understand. 

There were some odd quirks here and there like how Swift doesn’t have a line terminator for statements. In other popular languages lines are terminated by a semicolon.

In conclusion I would say that my experience using Swift was quiet pleasant though only scratched the surface. Granted if I was to continue developing iOS apps using Swift I would be learning an entirely new language. That being said it wouldn't be an uphill struggle but rather a gentle incline up the hill towards iOS programming prowess. 

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