Server-side Swift's slow support story sours some: Apple lang tailored for mobile CPUs, lacking in Linux world

www.theregister.co.uk | 1/20/2020 | Staff
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Analysis The Swift programming language has suffered some setbacks in its quest for ubiquity since Apple released it under an open-source license in 2015.

In December, IBM said it had reevaluated its priorities and decided to back away from server-side Swift development. Then last week, Vapor Cloud, a server-side Swift hosting biz, and a related service called Vapor Red, announced plans to shut down in February.

Years - Swift - Release - Swift - Foundation

"Given that six years after Swift's release, even Swift Foundation on Linux is still incomplete, and expertise and documentation [remains] really sparse, I can certainly see how it's not an easy sell," observed developer Felix Schwarz via Twitter.

Many developers believe in Swift, citing its speed and efficiency, its memory safety, and its advantages as a full-stack language for iOS and macOS applications. But, particularly on Linux, Swift still has shortcomings, and some developers have been critical about missing pieces.

Swift - Server - Pierpaolo - Frasa - Developer

"We're running Swift on the server and I wish we didn't," remarked Pierpaolo Frasa, a developer at Chegg.com, in a post on the Swift community forum.

Acknowledging advantages like operator overloading, memory safety, its type system, and support for functional constructs, Frasa cited a variety of challenges facing those interested in working with server-side Swift: lack of Linux libraries; unresolved compiler bugs for Swift on Linux; lack of a good fault recovery option; lack of tooling, particularly on Linux, and a common build tool; and problems with modularity and compilation speed in big apps.

IBM - Enthusiasm - Swift - Companies - Swift

Yet while IBM's enthusiasm for server-side Swift has waned, there are companies running Swift of the backend aside from Apple, like Amazon. Server-side Swift isn't a lost cause. Rather it just needs to demonstrate proof-of-life.

In a phone interview with The Register, Sean Stephens, CEO of web design biz Treefrog, PerfectlySoft, and Lasso, expressed continued faith in the language and suggested Swift's path forward has more to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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