Danny's Lab

Engineering the World

Swift for the Server - Update

Published on: Jun 10, 2015
Reading time: 1 minute

It's been a year now and Apple has announced that they are open-sourcing Swift. I'd like to take this time to update my previous prediction. I still believe that Swift will dominate web development, but I actually think it will happen first. There are several reasons for this:

  • Server code affects fewer users. It's simply easier for people/organizations to try this technology out without requiring the entire web population to shift gears.
  • For the past decade or so, server-side applications have chosen applications based more on expressive potential and testability rather than performance. Swift has the potential to address both these issues easily and elegantly.
  • REPL (Read-Eval-Print-Loop) and Playgrounds offer script-like learning and development
  • At the same time, it offers the performance and maintainability of C-like languages

These make very compelling arguments for Swift on the server (I'm not the only one to make this claim). My suspicion is that Apple recognizes this (they hinted as much in the 2015 WWDC Keynote), and is likely looking to using Swift for their own iCloud infrastructure. It's also possible they plan on offering iCloud Apps/Kits in their ever growing collection of tools for developers. Client-side (in-browser) Swift is certainly very interesting. But Apple has yet to show much interest in driving web standards or develop proprietary extensions. So my guess is that this likely won't show up unless server-side Swift really takes off.