IBM is bringing Apple’s Swift to the cloud

IBM has announced the next phase of its roadmap to bring Swift to the Cloud with a preview of a Swift runtime and a Swift Package Catalog to help enable developers to create apps for the enterprise. 

IBM is the first cloud provider to enable the development of applications in native Swift, the brainchild of Chris Lattner, the senior director of Apple's Developer Tools Department. In 2010, he began taking ideas from Objective-C, Rust, Haskell, Ruby, Python, C#, CLU and other languages to create the new language. Swift was first unveiled at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developer Conference.

The language will be open source under the Apache license, which says that developers can use the software for any purpose and even distribute modified versions of Swift without paying royalties to Apple. It's hoped that developers will begin to use Swift for development outside of the Apple ecosystem.

After Apple open sourced the Swift language and IBM released its Swift Sandbox for early exploration of server-side programming in Swift, more than 100,000 developers from around the world have used the IBM Swift Sandbox and more than half a million code runs have been executed in the Sandbox to date. Michael Gilfix, vice president, IBM MobileFirst Offering Management, says IBM is committed to maturing the use of Swift as a server-side language for enterprise development. 

“Traditionally, different technologies are used to develop the application on the client and the business logic on the server. By bringing Swift beyond the client to the server, IBM is breaking down barriers between front-end and back-end development, which can provide enterprises a single language to build rich experiences and back-end business logic,” he says. “Enterprises can benefit from increased speed and efficiency while simultaneously taking advantage of growing availability of Swift skills. Using Swift on the server also introduces a simpler, more secure toolchain for end-to-end application development.”

Modern digital apps require a modern programming language. Swift is easy-to-learn, reliable, fast and interactive, the key traits that CIOs look for when building the next generation of enterprise mobile apps, Gilfi adds. Swift on the Cloud is an “opportunity for enterprises to radically simplify the development of end-to-end applications and therefore reach new levels of productivity,” he says.

IBM Swift engineers are also working with the growing developer community and are focused on contributing to concurrency on multicore hardware, which is critical for enterprise-scale workloads. IBM has released a number of resources that will further enable the community to explore, build and share Swift assets. Developers can start exploring the benefits of Swift on the IBM Cloud in three ways,

  • Experiment in the Swift Sandbox: Quickly experiment with open sourced Swift, ramp up your skill set and learn what Swift can do for your enterprise by checking out new enhancements to the Swift Sandbox.
  • Develop and Deploy: Start building end-to-end applications on Bluemix and quickly deploy them with Kitura, a new open source web server released by IBM, on both OS X and Linux.
  • Share Swift Resources: Leverage code across projects by creating packages and submitting them to the Swift Package Catalog on Bluemix to encourage sharing of new Swift resources with the global developer community.

For more information and to get started with Swift on the Cloud, go here.