Misunderstanding Swift

Matt Baxter-Reynolds, writing for ZDNet:

When I first heard about Swift I was pleased as I assumed that Apple would look to solve the key problem faced by mobile developers — specifically that there is little overlap between developer toolsets making cross-platform mobile development extremely difficult. […]

What software developers need is familiar tooling that builds on open standards and well-understood approaches. What they don’t need is a bunch of know-better-than-thou engineers sitting in their ivory tower coming up with something that feels almost deliberately, intentionally different just because they think they know best.

When you look at Swift, that is what you get. Something that has been designed in a way that shows no empathy at all for what the greater community of software developers actually need. It looks to serve only Apple developers, and even then it doesn’t do it in a way that actually helps Apple developers be part of the broader and richer community outside of the Apple bubble.

He’s right that Swift is geared specifically to developers writing apps for Apple platforms, but deeply misunderstands Apple’s motivations and needs. Apple succeeds by creating great products. To be better necessarily means to be different.

(Via Marco Tabini.)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014