Apple’s Swift may become a ‘first class’ programming language for Android

Sources tell The Next Web that Google is considering making Swift a “first class” language for Android, while Facebook and Uber are also looking to make Apple’s programming language more central to their operations.

Google’s Android operating system currently supports Java as its first-class language, and sources told The Next Web that Swift isn’t meant to replace Java, at least initially. While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader “upside” than Java.

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

Developers who can code in Swift have been the most in demand over the past year, according to new figures from Toptal. The freelance developer placement firm looked at year-on-year growth in job requests for each language and found that requests for Swift projects rose 600% in 2015, roughly triple the rate of many other languages. Requests for HTML jobs grew 267 percent, followed by 244% growth for C++ requests, and 239% growth for CSS. PHP, Sass, Objective-C, Less, XML, and Python recorded growth in a range between 167% and 120%, according to Toptal, which said its data was based on tens of thousands of companies looking for talent.