Why non-Apple developers should care about Swift

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Now open source with Linux support, Swift has a great deal to offer cross-platform and server-side developers

Last week Apple delivered on a promise: Its Swift language is now open source. Unveiled a little more than a year ago, Swift is part of the C family, designed with an eye toward general-purpose application development. The initial Apple releases of Swift focused on the development of new desktop and mobile apps, using the LLVM compiler. The result is a new language that takes advantage of much current thinking in language design, mixing the complexity and depth of C with the ease of use of interpreted languages like Python. It’s also fast, designed to work well with large arrays and collections.

The open source release of Swift continues the language’s development, adding both Linux support and server-side language features. Swift was already on a fast track: In the year or so it has been available, Swift has jumped to version 2.2, adding language-specific features to the LLVM and clang compilers. There is no Windows version of Swift yet, though Microsoft has added Swift support for iOS and OS X applications in its latest Visual Studio releases.

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