Google is considering making Apple’s Swift a “first class” language for Android

By , Apr 8, 2016

Swift Open Source

Google is considering making Apple’s Swift a “first class” language for Android development, The Next Web learned from unnamed sources. Facebook and Uber are also said to potentially make Swift “more central” to their operations.

Representatives for Google, Facebook and Uber were recently at a meeting in London to discus Swift possibilities. Swift couldn’t have received a bigger endorsement than that, which is saying a lot about Apple’s effort to produce a modern programming language not only for iOS and OS X development, but for the web as well.

“Google’s Android operating system currently supports Java as its first-class language, and sources say Swift is not meant to replace Java, at least initially,” reads the report.

Sources claim that the object-oriented Kotlin programming language was also discussed as a first class development language for Android, but Google reportedly isn’t keen on embracing Kotlin as it’s proven itself “a bit too slow” when compiling.

I’m not surprise Google is shopping for Java alternatives. Not only is Java code slow and inefficient but Google’s own implementation of the standard Java libraries are at the heart of a years-long copyright lawsuit that Oracle filed against Google.

Replacing Java packages Oracle claims were copied with open source alternatives such as Swift might help Google avoid potential damages if Oracle prevails in court. Such a move would require an Android runtime for Swift and Google would also need to make Android’s entire library, APIs and SDKs Swift-ready, a major undertaking in its own right.

Swift 2 new features

Since its introduction, Swift has received mostly praises from enthusiastic developers of iPhone, iPod, iPad and Mac applications. Many developers are making, or have made the transition from Objective-C to Swift for its simplicity, clean structure and code efficiency. For example, the popular iPhone and iPad applications such as Lyft, Pixelmator and Vimeo have all been rebuilt top to bottom with Swift.

Apple’s enterprise partner IBM recently brought Swift to the cloud. Released at WWDC back in the summer of 2014, Swift was released to the community on an open-source basis in December 2015.

Source: The Next Web

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  • Does this mean no more crappy apps on Android?

    • No, it means less effort on part of developers to bring iOS apps to Android, and vice versa, as shared code can be written in Swift (only platform-specific user interface would need to be tailored to each particular OS)

      • Guy

        This is a smart move for android and Google

      • Rafa García

        This also might reduce the job market for an Android Developer, now we have two positions Android Developer/iOS developer, if this became true, companies might only need one proficient person in swift. Now learning swift is a must!

  • Guy

    This is a smart move for Android and Google whether you like the Android OS or not.