Swift, the open source programming language developed by Apple, is getting a new backer in IBM, which announced on Thursday a new Bluemix runtime for the language. The announcement could lend more credibility to Swift for use in the enterprise and as an end-to-end development language.
In December 2015, Apple open sourced Swift, and IBM started trying to bring Swift to the server, according to a blog post. The Bluemix runtime has options for public, dedicated, and local deployments. According to IBM, this means that apps written in Swift can now be built on both the client and server-side of the IBM Cloud. The runtime supports Swift 3.0 as well.
Swift is known for its ties to mobile, but the new runtime could bolster its use in the cloud as well. And, that seems to be just what IBM wants.
In the blog post announcing the news, IBM cited a study that claimed that 72% of global executives plan were working on at least five initiatives for mobile in their organization over the next 12 months. However, the post also noted that another study showed 42% of executives looking at adopting hybrid cloud.
Natasha Murashev, founder of This Week in Swift, noted in the post the popularity of Swift on the server, and explained that developers have been looking for a language to use across mobile and web apps. However, it goes beyond just spanning mobile and web.
One of the real enterprise appeals of IBM's work with Swift is that IBM's Swift tools support new Swift-based packages such as those for IBM Watson services, IBM Cloudant, and Apache Cassandra. IBM's post said that this opens up additional "speed and scalability for Swift developers especially at the enterprise-level."
The ability to use one language across the frontend and backend is even more impressive. This is especially true given the shortage of tech talent in every aspect of the industry. The broader a developer's skills can be, the more valuable he or she becomes to the organization.
"With the Swift runtime in Bluemix, your developers will use the same language client side and server side, allowing them to repurpose their skills, share their code and rapidly deliver on the app and API backlog in most organizations," the IBM post said.
The announcement builds on IBM and Apple's partnership launched in 2014. However, as reported by Business Insider's Julie Bort, there are still stability issues that threaten Swift's potential for widespread enterprise dominance.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- IBM recently released a Bluemix runtime for the Swift programming language, bringing end-to-end development to Swift developers.
- The announcement could broaden the enterprise appeal of Swift by bolstering its use outside of mobile development.
- Swift still has some stability issues to deal with before it solidifies its spot in enterprise app development.
- Apple's Everyone Can Code initiative brings Swift curriculum and iPads to schools (TechRepublic)
- Apple launches Swift Playgrounds to lure kids to become future developers (ZDNet)
- After Apple open sources it, IBM puts Swift programming in the cloud (TechRepublic)
- Apple's Swift comes to Linux (ZDNet)
- How to create and use arrays in Apple's Swift programming language (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.