How Apple’s Swift iOS Programming Language is Going Beyond Mobile Development

As Apple’s Swift iOS languages moves closer to becoming an open source code, it’s becoming clear that the programming language has implications for use far beyond mobile development. Swift can also be used to run the data centers that drive mobile applications.

Swift-open-sourceEnterprise developers and commercial programmers that have an interest in moving new applications onto Apple’s iOS platforms should be familiar with Swift by now. Introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2014 as a replacement for Objective C, Swift quickly won acceptance as the new mobile programming language.

Some big names have embraced the language, such as Yahoo and LinkedIn, and the Tiobe Index, which measures coder mindshare, ranks Swift as one of the Internet’s fifteen most popular languages. As Apple prepares to make Swift an open source language, it is becoming apparent that there are uses for Swift that go beyond its front end application with mobile development.

A version of Swift is already being used to run the data centers that drive mobile apps and websites across the web. A Canadian-based startup called PerfectlySoft Inc., run by Sean Stephens, has created Perfect, which a version of Swift that not only runs on the iPhone and other mobile devices, but that also runs the servers delivering the data on the back end. Still a new idea, the release of Swift in open source will allow Stephens and other developers to port the language onto other operating systems that are used in data centers.

Currently, Object C is the language that drives most iPhone apps, and it is not open source, which limits its use to Apple devices. With Swift being released as an open source code, its use can expand to other devices, such as Android, as well as inside data centers.

It is increasingly common for coders to use the same language on the server side as they do on the client. For example, a tool called Node.js allows you to build server software in Javascript, the language originally designed for creating applications within web browsers. Other languages are being used for both front-end and back-end purposes as well, such as Google Go, D, and Rust. One of the benefits of this streamlining is the ability to code apps much faster.

As Swift gets closer to being released as an open source code, the possibilities for moving beyond mobile development with the language are growing. As the programming language is used to drive data centers, the speed and agility with which new apps can be developed will skyrocket. Sean Stephen’s new Perfect is the best example of this so far.