360|iDev 2017: Swifty By Default

August 22, 2017 / Ben DiFrancesco

Another year, another excellent iteration of 360|iDev in the books! Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, was honored to speak there, and had a great time visiting Denver. And once again, it provided a great opportunity to take the pulse of the iOS developer community.

(Side note: please consider supporting John and Nicole in their mission to provide quality conferences at an affordable price).

Two years ago, after attending my first 360|iDev, I wrote about the iOS developer community wrestling with the adoption of Swift. Last year, I was struck by the way Swift had opened up so many new avenues for iOS developers to pursue. This year, what was most notable was how un-notable Swift has become.

Swift was ubiquitous and uncontroversial. I didn’t see a single line of Objective-C in the talks I attended. At one point, I began asking other attendees if they’d see any Objective-C. Most said no. One told me, "Yes- there was one slide. The speaker warned us ahead of time."

For the overwhelming majority of the community, the only reason to write Objective-C in 2017 is legacy code. The iOS developer community has become Swifty by default.

This is an impressive turn of events. A programming language that was released barely three years ago is now the language of choice on the most valuable computing platform in existence. There have been some bumps in the road (see Swift 2 to 3 transition), but for the most part, Apple and the Swift team deserve a lot of credit for pulling this off.

If you’re one of few holdouts yet to dive into Swift, well, I think it’s time! While the extent of Swift’s success beyond macOS and iOS is yet to be decided, this much now seems certain: Swift will be the language of choice on Apple’s platforms for many years to come.