Apple is unveiling a new update to its programming language, Swift, alongside the release of Xcode 6.3 beta. According to the company, Xcode 6.3 comes with improvements to the Swift compiler and new features for the programming language.
Swift has been gaining momentum in the developer community since Apple launched it in June 2014. According to the TIOBE December programming index, Swift has been gaining popularity, making it to No. 17 on TIOBE’s top 20 languages list. And RedMonk announced that the language jumped 46 spots to No. 22 in its programming language rankings last month.
The updated Swift 1.2 compiler has been enhanced for performance stability and to provide a better experience for developers working with Swift in Xcode.
The most notable compiler improvements, according to Apple, include:
- Incremental builds
- Faster executables
- Better compiler diagnostics
- Stability improvements
The language itself has been improved to guarantee safe and predictable behavior as well as better interaction with Swift and Objective-C.
Swift 1.2 programming language features include:
- A clear understanding of runtime failure for code maintenance
- The ability to express nullability in Objective-C headers
- The ability to export Swift enums to Objective-C
- More powerful and consistent let constants
- Updates to the if/let construct to provide optional unwrapping
- New native set data structure
“We appreciate all of the bugs you have filed, and expect that many of the most common issues have been fixed in this beta,” Apple wrote on its developers’ blog. “Swift 1.2 is a major step forward for both the language and the tools. It does include some source-incompatible changes that require updates to your code, so Xcode 6.3 includes a migrator to help automate the process.”