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A Concise Look At Swift, The Powerful OSX Development Language

A Concise Look At Swift, The Powerful OSX Development Language

Swift is a powerful multi-paradigm programming language developed by Apple Inc. It came out in 2014v and acted as a replacement of Apple’s earlier programming language Objective C. Swift is safe, fast and combines robust type inference & pattern matching with a concise, modern, lightweight syntax. OSX development using Swift is a common aspect of most computer science and engineering curriculums. A solid grasp of the language is essential for scoring well in Swift assignment help one become a pro at Swift coding.

Initially released as a proprietary language, Swift was made open source from version 2.2 onwards under the Apache Software 2.0 creative license. Swift comes free with Apple’s own integrated development environment XCode, which is probably the IDE most developers and students use for their Swift assignment. It helps developers run C, C++, Objective C, and Swift code to run under one platform as XCode uses the Objective C runtime library. The latest version is Xcode 12, released with Swift 5.3, and runs only on macOS 10.15.4 or later versions.

However, this article will focus on the Swift programming language, dwell into the features of the programming language, and define the way it enhances Apple’s operating system.

Why Swift?

The developers at Apple consider Swift to be the successor of C and Objective C. Both Swift and Objective C have lots of similarities and programmers who have used both the languages. 

  • Swift adopts the readability of Objective C by implementing named parameters and dynamic object model. 
  • Swift offers seamless access to Apples’ Cocoa frameworks that were built using Objective C.
  • Mixing and matching allow users to create applications containing both Objective C and Swift files. The similarity between the byte codes and underlying architecture allows both the file types to communicate with each other seamlessly. 
  • A similar architecture allows Apple applications built-in Objective C to be systematically upgradable using Swift Classes.
  • All Objective C libraries and frameworks can work with Swift applications.

In simple words, Swift is the next step to Apple and iOS development.  Swift uses the LLVM compiler, whose modular and reusable nature allows it to transform Swift code into reusable and highly optimized native code. This enables it to get the most out of Apple’s modern hardware.

Here is a list of the essential features every Swift programmer must be apt at implementing:

  1. Type Inference: Swift can automatically deduce and determine the type of the variable or constant based on its value.
  2. Generics: Generics allow programmers to set a particular code or write code that can perform similar tasks on different types of objects.
  3. Collection Mutability: Swift allows one to define the mutability of a collection container as mutable or non-mutable.
  4. Optionals: Optionals help define a variable that might have a null value.
  5. Tuple return types
  6. Improved Switch statements
  7. Operator Overloading: Classes can provide their implementations of existing operators.

XCode Playgrounds 

Apple introduced the Playgrounds as part of Xcode 6, which makes experimenting with code much more entertaining. 

Playgrounds are an interactive work environment that allows us to write code and find the results immediately. The IDE allows seamless coding for new APIs, prototyping new algorithms, and demonstrating how code works.

Swift Syntax Features

Though Swift has several things in common with Objective C, it has significant syntactic differences with Python or Ruby.  

Swift incorporates modern concepts to help create a very concise and readable code. Here are some important features of the syntax.

  • Assignment operators (=) do not return a value and are illegal in conditional statements.
  • Spaces are optional in conditional and assignment statements. 
  • Identifiers must not whitespaces, math symbols, arrows, reserved characters, and cannot start with numbers.
  • Curly braces are a must for code encapsulation, but semicolons have become optional.
  •  The keywords let and var allow constant and variable declaration, respectively. Commas can be used for multiple declarations. 
  • Type Safety is a crucial feature in Swift that allows enhanced security measures. Swift performs a type check during code compilation and flags any type-mismatch error. 
  • Type inference is another feature that ties closely with type safety. The LLVM compiler will infer the types of an identifier based on its initial, assigned value. 
  • Swift supports enumerations ‘enum’ type. C and Java programmers might be familiar with enumerations. The data type allows the encapsulation of objects of a similar kind of feature in a type-safe manner.
  • Two types of collections are defined in Swift, array, and dictionaries. Arrays are ordered collections while dictionaries are unordered.  Both arrays and dictionaries must contain values of the same type.
  • The Swift compiler supports Cocoa data types, which are native to Objective C.  All anyone needs to do is import foundation data types using the ‘import Foundations.’ 

Given the typical constraints of an online blog such as this, it is impossible to dwell on every language feature in explicit details. So, we took a look at the things that Swift does differently from its predecessors and contemporaries.

Let us now glance that makes Swift the perfect language for developing Apple’s operating system, OSX, and iOS. 

Concurrency and Parallelism in Swift

Apple’s introduction of the Grand Central Dispatch feature enhanced the multitasking features of Apple OS. GCD has been widely used in Objective C and is now employed extensively in Swift.

Concurrency allows the starting, running, and completing multiple tasks within the same period. However, this does not mean that the tasks are being executed simultaneously. Concurrency allows Swift to make the best use of multicore or multiprocessor systems. 

Parallelism is a phenomenon where two or more tasks run simultaneously. Now, as each core of a processor can execute only one task at a time, the number of parallel jobs is limited to the number of cores of a system. 

Both OSX and iOS possess designs that enable the operating systems to take advantage of multiple cores. But how do they do that?

  1. Languages and operating systems across the board implement concurrency by creating multiple threads of a single task. 
  2. Swift, OS XC, and iOS use asynchronous functions to initiate a task that has the probability of running for a long time.  These functions run these tasks and then return to execute a different thread. The extensive task keeps running in the background and uses a callback method or procedure to draw attention upon its completion.
  3. Grand Central Dispatch and operation queues are the techniques used in OSX to implement concurrencies & parallelism via acute thread management. 
  4. The Grand Central Dispatch is a low-level API based on C. It provides dispatch queues to manage submitted tasks. These queues manage all submitted tasks and execute them in a first-in-first-out manner. GCD works with three types of queues for execution, mainly, Serial queues, Concurrent queues, and main dispatch queues. 
  5. Dispatch queues offer a lot of advantages over other types of queues. The first one is that the system handles the creation and the management of threads rather than the application. The second advantage is that we can control the serial order in which the task executes. 

Well, that’s all the space we have for today. Swift is a suave and powerful language that implements the best of many of its predecessors and contemporaries. Learning it well will help you ace your Swift assignments and help get in the path to becoming a capable Apple OSX developer.

Author-Bio: Jacob Ryan is a leading OSX developer and has been the project lead of several macOS, iOS, tvOS projects. He hails from Buffalo, New York, is an ardent follower of the New York Mets, and loves everything digital. Jacob is also a part-time tutor at Myassignmenthelp.com, where he offers excellent Swift assignment help to everyone. Avail his expertise through the website.

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