Swift: Probably The Best Full-Stack Language in the World

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Swift: Probably The Best Full-Stack Language in the World

Ever since its release in 2014, Swift went through multiple iterations in order to become a great full-stack development language. Indeed: iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS apps, and their backend can now be written in the same language.

Backends can be written in many other languages – but let us argue why Swift is probably the best full-stack language in the world.

  1. Safety. An essential advantage of Swift as a perfect back-end programming language is the safety built into the language. Swift does away with entire classes of errors and crashes. Remember null pointer exceptions? Those that cause crashes when objects you expect not to be nil are accidentally nil. Swift’s optionals let you know in advance if an object may be nil, and if so, force you to adequately handle the nil case. Safe initialization prevents you from ever initialising an object such that it ends up being nil. Remember unrecognized selector sent to instance crashes? Swift is type-safe meaning that if you’re calling a function on an object that doesn’t respond to it, the error will be caught by the compiler and not at runtime. Yet Swift was explicitly designed to be familiar and practical, rather than to adhere to some particular programming dogma. That said, as Chris Lattner puts it, “the defaults encourage safety and predictability”.

  2. Fewer Context-Switching. It is a substantial context-switch for iOS and macOS programmers to learn SQL, JavaScript, Ruby, Java or other typical back-end languages. Swift, however, can provide equivalent functionalities with a familiar language and frameworks: Apple’s Foundation has been ported to Linux.

  3. Designed for General Purposes. Swift was designed for generality, to be used at a high level as well at a systems level. The aim is to make it equally powerful for building applications, servers, scripts, and, soon, operating systems.

  4. Great pre-existing web frameworks to chose from Several substantial Swift web frameworks already exist, no need for you to reinvent the wheel. Kitura, Perfect, and Vapor offer you the platform and modules you need to quickly get a server up and running. They are young but stable frameworks, and are already used in production.

  5. A great environment for work and study. Swift Playgrounds are an awesome place for quickly experimenting with code that runs on either your app or your server. This gives you the chance to see how some adjustments of your code work as you type them – no more waiting for your compiling and executing code. Similarly, the REPL is a Swift command-line environment that will appeal to many developers. You simply type your statements and the REPL immediately interprets your code, letting you see the results instantly.

  6. IBM’s Support. IBM became one of the biggest Swift fans and supporters since Apple open sourced it. They were the first major cloud infrastructure provider that built native Swift apps in production. As of today, IBM has already developed more than 100 apps on Swift. Besides that, the company has greatly contributed to the evolution of Swift by creating IBM Cloud tools for Swift and, of course, the Swift Sandbox, a cloud environment that enables programmers to write their Swift in a server environment on top of Linux. In February 2016, the company introduced Kitura, an open-source web server framework written in Swift. Kitura enables the development of mobile front-end and back-end in the same language. So a major IT company uses Swift as their backend and frontend language in production environments already.

  7. The most in-demand technology. According to freelance placement firm Toptal, Swift is the most in-demand programming language. Toptal’s data showed that there was a 600 percent increase in demand for freelance developers who know Swift. This will likely lead to more developers learning Swift and further boost a thriving ecosystem.

  8. The most loved language A Stack Overflow survey of more than 50,000 developers from around the globe concluded that Swift was the second most loved programming language in 2016, and the most loved programming language in 2015. Which is probably why it’s also GitHub’s most starred language (with over 36,000 stars at the time of writing). Write your entire stack in a language that developers are happy with!

Using the same programming language throughout your entire development process may involve many compromises, as a language isn’t always well-adapted to and well-loved on every platform. With Swift, that is no longer the case: the language is designed to excel on every platform, and is excelling on every platform. That’s why it’s probably the best full-stack programming language in the world.

Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions about Full-Stack Swift Development

What makes Swift a suitable language for full-stack development?

Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language developed by Apple for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It’s designed to give developers more freedom than ever before. Swift is easy to use and open-source, so anyone with an idea can create something incredible. It’s also a statically typed language, which means it’s more efficient and less prone to errors. Swift’s syntax is clear and concise, making it easier to read and write code. It also has a robust set of features that make it ideal for full-stack development, including advanced error handling, optionals, and generics.

How does Swift compare to other full-stack languages?

Swift stands out from other full-stack languages due to its performance, safety, and simplicity. It’s faster than dynamically typed languages and safer due to its static typing and error handling capabilities. Swift also has a clean syntax that makes it easier to read and write, reducing the likelihood of errors and making code maintenance easier. Additionally, Swift is backed by Apple, ensuring regular updates and improvements.

What are the benefits of using Swift for full-stack iOS development?

Using Swift for full-stack iOS development allows you to use the same language for both front-end and back-end development, reducing the learning curve and increasing productivity. It also ensures consistency in coding practices and makes it easier to manage and maintain your codebase. Swift’s performance and safety features also make it an excellent choice for building robust and efficient iOS applications.

How can I get started with full-stack Swift development?

There are several resources available to help you get started with full-stack Swift development. Apple’s official Swift documentation is a great place to start. There are also numerous online tutorials and courses, such as those offered by Udemy, that can guide you through the process. Additionally, open-source projects and code examples can provide practical experience and insights.

What tools and frameworks are available for full-stack Swift development?

There are several tools and frameworks available for full-stack Swift development. On the front-end, you can use SwiftUI, Apple’s UI toolkit that allows you to design apps in a declarative way. On the back-end, you can use Vapor, a popular server-side Swift framework. Other tools include Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE), and Swift Package Manager for managing dependencies.

What are the challenges of using Swift for full-stack development?

While Swift offers many benefits, it also has its challenges. As a relatively new language, it may lack some features found in more mature languages. Additionally, while Swift is open-source, it’s primarily developed by Apple, which may limit its use and adoption outside of Apple’s ecosystem. Finally, finding experienced Swift developers can be challenging due to the language’s relative newness.

Can I use Swift for web development?

Yes, you can use Swift for web development. With the introduction of server-side Swift, you can now use Swift to build robust and efficient web applications. Frameworks like Vapor make it easier to build web applications using Swift.

Is Swift a good choice for beginners?

Swift is an excellent choice for beginners. Its clean and concise syntax makes it easy to read and write, and its strong typing and error handling capabilities help prevent common programming errors. Additionally, there are numerous resources available to help beginners learn Swift, including Apple’s official documentation and various online tutorials and courses.

How is Swift used in full-stack development?

In full-stack development, Swift can be used for both front-end and back-end development. On the front-end, Swift can be used to build user interfaces for iOS applications using SwiftUI. On the back-end, Swift can be used to build server-side applications using frameworks like Vapor.

What is the future of Swift in full-stack development?

The future of Swift in full-stack development looks promising. With the introduction of server-side Swift and the continued development and improvement of Swift by Apple, it’s likely that Swift will continue to grow in popularity for full-stack development. Additionally, as more developers learn and adopt Swift, the community and resources available for Swift developers are likely to grow, further enhancing its viability for full-stack development.

Ariel ElkinAriel Elkin
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Ariel is the former editor of SitePoint's Mobile Channel. He worked on more than 10 different apps currently available on the App Store, and plans to release many more. He loves writing, mobile devices, hackathons, and blockchains.

Max HornostaievMax Hornostaiev
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Max Hornostaiev, CTO of Erminesoft, an app development company. Having more than 10 years of experience in IT field, he is sure the key for growth is constant self-development, learning new things and knowledge sharing.

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