Swift is the language for mobile app developers what Java was years ago in the development world. Just like Java that went through frequent updates for boosting performance and stability for the Android platform, Swift too is going through frequent updates and has become one of the formidable languages for building high-end complex applications for iOS platform.
After releasing four huge version updates, Swift launched fresh new two versions, respectively Swift 5.0 and Swift 5.1 this year as well. Both of these versions have come with several crucial features that will boost the language in performance and ability further.
Let us first explain what both the Swift versions can offer for iPhone app development services.
Most Benefiting Swift 5 Updates
- Binary Compatibility and Stable ABI
Stable ABI has been announced for Swift 5 app development. This will help making Swift libraries available across every platform including iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS. This will give serious relief from problems that engineers had to face while building apps for iOS. The multiple device compatible applications will now be easier to develop and they will have much smaller footprint as they will be devoid of multiple libraries.
- A Feature Boost With Library Updates
The standard library of Swift 5 will come loaded with a host of new features such as the following.
- Swift 5 will ensure faster coding as the string has been reimplemented with the UTF-8 encoding.
- Improved support for raw texts in the code string literals.
- SIMD vector and Result types have been added.
- Performance boost in Set and Directory.
- Improvement in String implementation to allow more flexibility while constructing text from data.
- Value Additions Like Extra Compiler And Language Features
- Stability Of Modules
This value addition with Swift 5.1 makes it easier for the developers to create binary frameworks that can be shared easily with others who makes use of language’s additional support for stability of modules. This will boost the speed of development for iOS apps.
It also delivers a new text based module interface file which emphatically describes the binary framework API. This makes the compilation job easier with code by taking into account multiple compiler versions.
Swift 5.1 Library Updates
Swift 5.1 standard library update provides a host of new features besides making things further easier for the iOS developers. Here are the key value added features.
- Support provided to developers to update and take care of the differences on the collection of appropriate types.
- Improved flexibility for initialising of the array
- APIs are provided to make working with Strings easier.
- Clearly recognisable protocol for extending reductions, vector swizzles, and vectors.
-> A Protocol For Language Server
The Swift 5.1 OSS toolchain packages for Ubuntu and macOS include binaries for the SourceKit-LSP, which is an implementation of LSP for C based languages and Swift.
-> SwiftSyntax Improvements
A new improved architecture has been brought in with a consistent focus on improving the performance by the use of parser from Swift compiler. As additional improvements, there has been a performance boost to the syntax tree visitation and related operations by making the internal data structure simpler.
-> New Language Features
Swift 5.1 provides the following new language features.
- Property wrappers bring in consistent context for ruling the custom access patterns for different property values such as delayed initializers, thread storage, atomic operations, etc.
- There is no need of using return keyword for singular expression getters or functions.
- For value types and classes self can be used.
- Default initialisers are used by the compiler for synthesizing default values for the properties.
How Can Businesses Leverage The Benefit From It?
Apart from benefiting the mobile app development companies working for iOS apps Swift 5 and Swift 5.1 updates will deliver several other business benefits.
ABI (Application Binary Interface) stability, a long waited feature will help Apple provide development support for any app that wants to release across multiple platforms within the Apple device ecosystem. This will help businesses release apps for iPhone, MacOS, WatchOS, TvOS, etc. Moreover, the code written in Swift 5 can now be utilised for future Swift versions.
While this may sound as something to solve only iOS developer’s problem, actually this means more practical advantages in contrast to earlier Swift apps that Apple couldn’t support for multiple device operating systems. Earlier, an app written in Swift 2 could not be run with Swift 3. Now, it has become possible thanks to this value addition.
With Swift 5 making ABI stable, the developers now have received a permanent solution to all these issues. Thanks to this, the developers will be able to run the application in all the future Swift versions. This means, the code written with the Swift 5 in an app development project can be utilised in future on Swift 6, 7, and other upcoming versions. This makes Swift an ideal language for iPhone app development and businesses.
The key business benefits of these Swift 5 updates can be summarised in the following way.
- Small App Footprint: Swift 5 by making the language binary compatible for multiple platforms will not require separate code for separate platforms. This will reduce the app size or footprint.
- Speedier Development: As all dynamic libraries that any application needs can now be cached in the memory for easier sharing within the apps.
- Solid Performance Boost: The ABI stability of Swift 5 versions will deliver a great boost in performance and the way app responds to user commands and interactions.
In more than one way Swift 5 and its two latest version updates have brought era-defining changes to iOS app development. Swift app development projects now have a wider scope of building apps across multitude of device platforms.