Apple releases open source version of Swift programming language

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As announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference back in June, Apple has made its Swift programming language open source. From here on out, its source code will be freely available to anyone interested in tinkering with it, and ongoing development will continue as a collaboration with the community.

Swift was created as an easy-to-use alternative to other languages that would produce concise, safe code. Development began internally back in 2010, with the first app created using Swift being a companion for the 2014 edition of the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Since then, the language has amassed a healthy user base, buoyed by its popularity among students and other people learning programming. Going open source means that its potential audience will be far greater, as coders working on projects outside of the iOS and OS X ecosystem will now be able to implement the language.

The Swift team noted that they were ‘excited by this new chapter’ in a blog post published on the official Swift website earlier today. The site offers a host of documentation for anyone looking to get acclimatised with Swift, as well as the all-important source code, which is hosted on a GitHub repository.

This open source release marks version 2.0 of the Swift language, but there’s already an opportunity to test out some functionality set for 3.0, according to 9to5Mac. Some core libraries published today are actually intended for a full release with the next version, but are being distributed now to aid development.

It remains to be seen how far the reach of Swift will be now that the language is open source, but the move makes a lot of sense on Apple’s part. If nothing else, it’s sure to promote good will with developers — but there’s a real chance that Swift could take off, and that presents a host of advantages to its creators.

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