APPLE'S SIMPLIFIED programming language Swift has already become a runaway hit, just days after it was announced that the company would be donating it to the open source.
In just five days, it has become the most 'starred' (i.e. popular) language on code repository Github, knocking Rust into second place with over 20,000 users.
It has also been forked 2,361 times, putting into fourth place behind Rust, PHP and Ruby, all languages that have been around for years.
Apple announced last week that it was posting the open source code in a move first trailed by the company in June.
Version 2.2 of the language, which was launched at last year's WWDC event, has now been posted to GitHub under an Apache 2.0 licence to make it even easier for the community to create apps across iOS, OS X, tvOS, WatchOS and Linux.
Swift works as a simplified alternative interface to the Objective-C framework behind Apple's products, and is designed to generate a more inclusive community of developers and avoid some of the perils that can bork development such as null pointers and the 'pyramid of doom'.
Included are a compiler, debugger, standard library, foundation libraries, package manager and a read-eval-print loop. Apple describes it as "the first systems programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language".
Apple already publishes a 500-page e-manual for the language, and today launched Swift.org, a dedicated website with details ranging from technical documentation, direct links to the code, and communities to allow users to share ideas and best practice.
“By making Swift open source the entire developer community can contribute to the programming language and help bring it to even more platforms,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
“Swift’s power and ease of use will inspire a new generation to get into coding, and with today’s announcement they’ll be able to take their ideas anywhere, from mobile devices to the cloud.”
Apple goes on to point out that open sourcing the product means that it can be adapted by the community for other platforms. Therefore, at launch there is no version for Windows or for popular maker kits such as Raspberry Pi, but there is no reason why this could not be done in the future, bringing the very real possibility that Apple could extend its previously closed ecosystem to become a player in the wider marketplace.
Judging from the first five days, this first step into the multi-platform world has been an almighty hit. µ
But there's no word as to when it's coming to Blighty
Oh and it'll also help give aural pleasure
But it might still not be enough to make virtual reality super appealing
And a ridiculous competition