Will SwiftUI make the Swift programming language even more popular?

SwiftUI, announced at WWDC 2019, marks a move toward low-code tools for Apple.

Apple's Swift programming language: Objective-C with a simple twist Apple created Swift to make apps for its own hardware, and it drew from a familiar source: Objective-C.

At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this week, the tech giant announced a new framework for its Swift programming language: SwiftUI.

SwiftUI is built in Swift, for Swift, and makes it easier to write and understand code. It is designed to help developers build better apps with far less code—potentially helping make Swift even more popular among developers than it already is.

SwiftUI marks a move toward low-code for Apple, transforming hundreds of lines of code into just a few, simplifying workflows for developers. Because SwiftUI is the same API built into iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, developers can more quickly and easily build native apps across all Apple platforms, Apple noted.

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"SwiftUI will allow more non-Swift developers to quickly adopt Swift, as its ability to generate beautiful user interfaces faster than learning and writing code will accelerate the early stages of the software development lifecycle," said Michael Facemire, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.

For those unfamiliar, Swift is a general-purpose compiled coding language released by Apple in 2014. It offers better type safety, security, and performance than Objective-C, according to TechRepublic writer Cory Bohon. Swift is used for developing for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. Apps built with Swift can be run on iOS devices dating back to iOS 7 or later, and OS X devices dating back to OS X 10.9 or later.

An update to Swift 5.0, released in March, makes the language's application binary interface (ABI) standardized and made stable across macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS, so you can develop an app built with one version of the Swift compiler knowing it can work with a library built with another version, ZDNet reported.

Swift is also on many lists of top programming languages, finding itself among the top 10 hottest programming languages and the most in-demand programming languages globally. Swift developers were among the highest paid in 2018, with average salaries of $ 101,631.

"Swift is already super popular," said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. "Part of it is because you want to develop an ecosystem where you can actually make money, and adopt the same code base."

Some 85% of Apple users are on the latest version of iOS, compared to just 10% of those who use Android, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during his keynote address. "That's a huge difference if you're a developer—you don't want to go back and code to an older version. It's what makes the Apple iOS so powerful—everybody is on the latest version, and it's the same no matter what iPhone you use."

The fact that Apple is making efforts to build privacy in throughout the development process and giving the option not to collect data to be sold is also a big selling point for developers, Wang said.

Swift UI will be available across all platforms with a common API.

For more, check out How to become an iOS developer: A cheat sheet on TechRepublic. 

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Image: Apple

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.