SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) announced its Swift programming language at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, and after having finally been able to put an app that I've been working on to Swift from the old programming language, it's going to make a big difference for developers and consumers alike.
Swift development language, which operates on both iOS and Mac OS X and is a compiled language as same as Objective C (Apple's original object oriented programming language), comes with great new enhancements such as the advent of the playground, which allows developers to check out code snippets in real time. This is especially useful with visual content that you want to inspect before going through the process of compiling and viewing on a device. This is time consuming and when you're just trying to tweak something, it can be very frustrating. The playground displays work in real time letting these tweaks happen as you modify code providing an instant picture before any real code has been created.
In the past bringing 3-D content into an app could be quite complicated, but now with a little bit of setup, this work can be done almost instantly. This means Apple consumers are going to see some pretty awesome new innovations in their apps. Below is a sample of taking a 3-D Collada image and setting it up in a playground with about 25 lines of code. Gone is the expensive process of going back and forth to see how a few lines of code change the visible outcome.
Though not Swift specific, Apple also introduced a universal storyboard, which is likely to put an end to iPhone or iPad only apps. The storyboard, which is a developer tool that lays out the user interface shell for developers and allows for things like buttons, tables, images, etc. to be sized up on whatever platform one might be coding, will allow for the option to code for both the iPhone and iPad at once. In the past, development was geared at an iPhone or an iPad and many developers wouldn't even bother at all with making it for both because the bar to entry meant nearly re-coding the interface entirely. This allows both the developer and Apple the ability to monetize on both the iPhone and iPad and also now gives the consumer many more choices in the App Store.
As Swift begins to evolve, I'm certain adoption will be more wide spread in the future, but for now, it seems like Swift will be for those of us willing to struggle and work out some of the kinks and cut our teeth a little bit on the latest technology. With anything new, there is a period of vetting that can take some time. It took years for Objective C to become the robust language it is today and the same will eventually be said for Swift. While Swift itself is complete, discovering what needs to be said to make it obvious to everyone is still being worked out.
The amount of new development content from this years WWDC was astounding. I'm certain it will take the rest of 2014 and maybe even a few years before we start seeing wide spread adoption. Converting work from traditional Objective C to Swift is not simple and there isn't a real good way to make conversion tools that automate it either. Regardless, we now have a great new tool in the arsenal and ultimately I see the shift from traditional Objective C to Swift on a large majority of apps in the future as the design becomes more comfortable and documentation complete.
--Written by Scott Jenkins in San Diego
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.