Apple’s Swift 4 road map focuses on ABI, concurrency

Posted on 05-08-2016 , by: admin , in , 0 Comments

Apple hasn’t even delivered its Swift 3 language yet and already is getting an early thumbs-up from developers for planned Swift 4 follow-ups, which will focus on application binary interface (ABI) stability, concurrency, and scripting.

In a recent post on the swift-org mailing list, Apple’s Chris Lattner, senior director of developer tools, said Swift 4 was due in fall 2017, with Swift 3.x set to arrive next spring. Swift was introduced as an eventual successor to Objective-C in June 2014.

Stage 1 development in Swift 4 will prioritize source stability as well as resilience, enabling public APIs to evolve over time even with ABI stability. “For example, we don’t want the C++ ‘fragile base class‘ problem to ever exist in Swift,” Lattner said.

Swift advocates were pleased with the ABI plans. “Stabilizing the ABI was originally a goal for Swift 3, but it got kicked down the road,” said Aaron Hillegass, CEO of Big Nerd Ranch, which builds applications for Apple’s iOS platform. “Stabilizing the ABI is very important because at this time, every Swift app includes the entire standard library, which adds at least 10MB to every app.”