Recap of Swift Evolution History
In the 4 years since then ~17k developers
discussed Swift topics in ~27k threads
with ~245k posts
overall as of March 2022 (source
). Even more developers (probably ~100k
) have at least viewed and read some portion of them. A whole 9 new Swift versions were released since migrating to the forum, each accompanied by an official announcement blog article which lists all Swift Evolution proposals that went through the Swift Evolution Process
and informed the changes: 4.1
The road to Swift 6
is outlined since January 2020 and is the most-viewed thread in the forum for a reason. It summarizes the Swift 6 focus in 3 areas:
First, “the Swift software ecosystem”
to broaden Swifts usefulness outside of Apple app development. Second, “a fantastic development experience”
like faster builds & more accurate error messages. And third, “user-empowering language directions”
such as improvements to concurrency, generics, DSLs, memory-ownership and low-level programming. All these areas have seen large steps forward since the announcement with the changes in Swift 5.2 and later, Swift Concurrency
being a large recent focus. But there’s still much work to be done in all of them, so Swift 6 release is not a topic for this year and we can expect at least Swift 5.7 and 5.8 before that.
Why a “Swift Evolution Monthly”?
My main takeaway from the recap of the Swift Evolution history above is that the future development of Swift is truly a community effort. While Apple is still the main driver of this language (more on that at the end), setting the rough direction and current focus, we all have a say in all the details and can even make suggestions for improvements or entirely new features ourselves.
At the same time, we developers are “users” of the Swift language first and foremost. Being a “designer” of a language is an entirely different thing and can eat quite a large chunk of our precious time. Nevertheless, I’m personally very interested in what’s coming next in Swift so I can make informed decisions about which APIs or frameworks I make use of right now. And on which parts I maybe use a temporary solution and wait a couple of months before diving into making things proper. Because there might be a related Swift feature coming soon that will simplify things or allows entirely new concepts. But how would I know if I didn’t follow the discussions? And will the change actually work for my problem, too, or should I give feedback?
For these reasons, I sometimes wander around in the Pitches category
to find ideas I want to support. But more importantly, I’m skimming through the Proposals
that are officially in review or even accepted. Of course, I’m reading Paul Hudson great write-ups
whenever a new Swift version is released, but for an informed long-term decision-making that’s too late for me.
So, here we are, me trying to fill the gap with a monthly summary of what interesting developments I’ve come across in the Swift forums.
The following list is just a selection of proposals
I think are interesting to app developers. For a full list, see 🌐this website