Swift: Wrapping up Year 1

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If you’ve asked my advice for a technical question over the last few days, you might have heard the answer “Well you could do [some technical detail] but it’s probably better to just wait until Monday.”

The question isn’t “Will Swift change?” so much as “How much is Swift about to change?” It’s pretty much given that Swift isn’t approaching a full stop any time soon despite the 1.x name. As a friend put it, “Think of it as Swift X-1”.

The past year has been, in many ways, an open beta or even an open alpha. It’s been an exhilarating, dangerous, frustrating, amazing ride full of pit holes and obstacles. I can’t wait to see what 2.0 brings.

It’s about time Swift caught up to serious development. Stuff that compiles when next week’s Xcode goes gold needs to keep compiling for a good long time. Libraries built with that Xcode should be linkable and usable for at least a year. (Doesn’t that sound ridiculous in context?)

Fortunately, Xcode now offers built-in Swift migration. It scans your project and highlights language changes so you can approve each update.

The upgrade process isn’t a panacea. It won’t find logic errors or flawed coding. It can’t upgrade code that’s too far out of date. The initial 1.1 to 1.2 migrator couldn’t handle 1.0 beta Swift. It rests on your shoulders to keep your code base updated and current and ready for each successive language leap forward.

Even with a migration tool, I need a breather both emotionally and linguistically from the constant updates. Many developers have been waiting for Swift to be done before diving in. Will 2.0 be that point? I’m looking forward to finding out.


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