New Apple Language And More
At its annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple recently announced a brand spanking new programming language for apps running on its platforms. Swift will make creating apps for iOS and Mac OS X faster and more efficient with less code. Designed to make sense to developers of newer languages such as Ruby and Python rather than their C based counterparts, Swift seeks to make developing for Apple devices faster and easier to understand for the next generation of developers.
With Swift comes Xcode 6 (currently in Beta) which I’ve had the opportunity to use and includes quite a few new features. Here are some of the new features for developers that were announced at WWDC for Xcode and developers at large:
New to Xcode, Apple’s developer environment, comes a new file type that doubles as a realtime coding laboratory. Playground lets you type out code and watch it come to life; a window to the right shows how your app is evolving as you code. This is doubly useful for gaming applications as you can watch how small changes effect the big picture without coding – compiling – fixing repeatedly. Code from playground can then be copied over into your actual code.
Developers will be able to make their apps available for beta testing in the app store prior to release. With expected availability in the fall of 2014, this feature allows developers to get the bugs out of their apps without potentially expensive quality assurance in addition to building a viral user base prior to launch.
HealthKit and HomeKit
Taking advantage of the array of personal health devices hitting the market, HealthKit is an API that aggregates the data from these devices and associated apps in one place. This data will be sharable with your doctors and other apps pending your permission.
HomeKit fulfills a similar function for the crop of new devices designed for your home. Hardware makers have been releasing smart add ons for everything from garage door openers to alarm systems to lamps. HomeKit aggregates the controls for all these devices in one place.
This is clearly the most impactful developer update since the App Store opened and will open many doors for new developers and hardware makers. HealthKit and HomeKit will likely become goldmines for those who seize the moment.