Apple introduced a boatload of new consumer features for OS X and iOS today, but one of the biggest announcements for developers could be its new programming language, Swift. Craig Federighi just announced it, saying that Apple is trying to build a language that doesn't have the "baggage" of Objective-C, a programming language that came from NeXt that has formed the basis of OS X and eventually iOS. Coders will be able to see the results of their programming in real time as they write the code, and it should definitely be faster than Objective-C as well.
In its press release highlighting the announcement of iOS 8, Apple says the following about the release of Swift:
Swift is a powerful new programming language for iOS and OS X® that makes it easier than ever for developers to create incredible apps. Designed for Cocoa® and Cocoa Touch®, Swift combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages. By design, Swift helps developers write safer and more reliable code by eliminating entire categories of common programming errors, and coexists with Objective-C® code, so developers can easily integrate Swift into their existing apps. Xcode® Playgrounds make writing Swift code incredibly interactive by instantly displaying the output of Swift code.
To enable developers to easily keep working on their apps, Swift code can live right besides C and Objective-C code in the same app. We're a ways off before seeing the results of this new code, but it's something that developers have been waiting a long time for — it got a bigger cheer than any other announcement made so far today.
For those who want to learn more about Apple's new programming language, the company has just published a 500-page guide in the iBooks Store, and coders can get started now — Swift is included in the Xcode 6 beta, which developers can download now.
Media badge people are silent, attendees going nuts. This is huge huge news, the future of all Apple development.— John Gruber (@gruber) June 2, 2014