Swift Promise

I think that Apple is on to something with Swift. I really do. With a bit of luck and fortuitous timing, it may take off faster than Java did for server-side, general programming solutions. A lot of Swift talk right now is focused around iOS  apps, but what I see is a huge potential for a true general purpose, high performance, safer,  more effective tool for system and server side applications.

An expressive, simple, general purpose language, with strong type safety, boundary checking etc. sounds great. At a time when we, the software industry, are drowning ourselves and our users in complexity, less is more. Especially if that less is an LLVM based, native compiled ‘less’. Even more so if it accommodates functional programming just as well as it does object-oriented philosophy.

One thing that does not get as many nods as it should is the simplicity of getting into the C-land. Getting into the core libc and the standard POSIX library from the safety of Swift is not without dangers, but there is a clear sense of powerful simplicity in its elegance:

Not to mention, the simplicity of

Call me a simpleton, or a crusty old C guy. But I can see why Apple is talking about shifting its system level development to Swift. What needs to happen to Swift after it goes open source later in the year are the two things that make new programming languages truly successful. The first one is an active, diverse community. The second one is a robust ecosystem, kind of like what the Apache Foundation, Spring et al did with Java.

I remain hopeful. Will there be a day when LibreSSL or something like it will go Swift? Time will tell. But that would be a good thing.