Thursday, December 3, 2015

Apple Open Sources Swift

Eric Slivka:

As promised, Apple has officially made its Swift programming language open source, making the project available through

Most surprising, to me, is that Apple is reimplementing Foundation on top of cross-platform libraries without using the Objective-C runtime.

Curiously, Apple plans to remove the “NS” prefix from the classes, which would seem to hamper compatibility. [Update (2015-12-03): I guess the idea is that the prefix will also be removed when calling the Objective-C Foundation APIs, so the names would then be consistent. I’m not sure what this means for code that intends to distinguish between NSString and Swift’s String.]

The Swift Programming Language Evolution repository is particularly interesting. The current goal is to stabilize the ABI by fall 2016.

Javier Soto:

I think it’s safe to say Apple greatly exceeded all of our expectations with their work open sourcing Swift. Well done, !

Henri Watson:

Shout out to Apple for not just having an “initial commit” and actually including the entire project history.

Update (2015-12-03): Russ Bishop has a good summary.

Apple’s announcement: is where the daily engineering work for Swift will take place, as the community of developers work together to bring Swift to new platforms, add new features, and continually evolve our favorite language.

Andrew Cunningham:

Most of that is covered under the standard Apache license, but Federighi tells us that Apple has also included a more permissive runtime exception, “so that if you build code in Swift and parts of the Swift library are generated in your own code, you don’t have to provide attribution in that case.”

Apple engineers working on Swift will start using the GitHub repos, developing the language out in the open.

“The Swift team will be developing completely in the open on GitHub,” Federighi told Ars. “As they’re working day-to-day and making modifications to the language, including their work on Swift 3.0, all of that is going to be happening out in the open on GitHub.”


“We think [Swift] is how really everyone should be programming for the next 20 years,” Federighi told Ars. “We think it’s the next major programming language.”

Bravo for having real mailing lists.

There are lots of comments on Hacker News and Reddit.

Craig Federighi:

Objective C is forever. I don’t think anyone should fear for the future of Objective C. We’re going to continue to support Objective C for ourselves and the developer community.

We think Objective C is still a great language, and Apple has an investment in many many millions of lines of Objective C, and that’s not going to change.

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[…] Michael Tsai – Blog – Apple Open Sources Swift – As promised, Apple has officially made its Swift programming language open source, making the project available through . Most surprising, to me, is… […]

"Apple is reimplementing Foundation"

Well, NSUnimplemented() is the new Description forthcoming.

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