Apple calls its new programming language “Objective-C without the C”. However, Swift is, designed to run alongside Objective-C and allow developers to switch easily between the two. They can add Swift code to existing apps built with Objective-C. Swift is designed to allow developers using Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch technologies to write code more efficiently and with fewer errors.
According to Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, Swift enables a level of “interactivity in development that you’ve never seen before on a platform”.
One way it does that is through what Apple calls Xcode Playgrounds, which instantly display the output of Swift code.
Swift’s syntax (the structure and formatting of code) is much cleaner and simpler than Objective-C. So, for example, to display “Hello, world!” on-screen using Swift, you would only need to type: println("Hello, world!"). One of the ways in which Swift is safer than Objective-C, particularly for new programmers, is that memory allocations are managed automatically.
Perhaps the biggest benefit Swift brings is that it allows those who have never programmed before to start writing OS X and iOS apps without the need to learn a language as complex as Objective-C. There are lots of guides available for the language, including Apple’s own – which is a free download from the iBooks Store. And anyone who has ever written Python code will have a head start.