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As presented at KCDC 2017:
Swift was originally released in 2014, and Open Sourced by Apple in late 2015. The Open Source release generated an explosion of community interest and support, resulting in ports to other platforms and significant language changes. Swift version 3, which reflects the results of much of this work, was released in September of 2016, bringing with it some significant refinements to the core language and a new package manager.
Swift is a multi-paradigm language, supporting imperative, functional, and object-oriented programming styles. The language is strongly typed but has extensive support for type inference and substantial tooling available in XCode to identify and in some cases automatically fix common programming errors. Swift uses a memory management strategy called automatic reference counting (ARC), freeing programmers from the tedium of manually managing memory allocation. This combination of strong typing, maximal type inference, automatic reference counting (ARC), and excellent tooling results in an experience that can be described as "the Macintosh of programming languages".
This talk will present some of the history of the development of Swift with emphasis on how the Open Source release of the language kick-started activity, review the basic syntax of Swift (with comparisons to similar languages that attendees may be more familiar with), and describe what tools are available to help learn the language, including XCode, the Swift REPL available from XCode, and the new Swift Playgrounds for iPad that debuted with Swift 3 and iOS10. After attending this talk, an attendee with no previous Swift experience will understand exactly why they should be excited about this relatively new programming language and be up to date on exactly what they need to do to dive into Swift coding for themselves.