It has only been a few days since the announcement of Swift going open source and the activity around the project has been incredible. When Apple revealed that Swift would be open source at WWDC earlier this year, I do not think anyone anticipated a release like this.

Swift

Expectations

No one really knew what to expect. Was Swift going to be dumped on opensource.apple.com and grow stale with the other projects? Would it be put on GitHub like ResearchKit? Not only is Swift on GitHub, but the Swift team will be working completely in the open. Apple did a spectacular job with the release. Not only do we have the source code, but we have the entire commit history for each project, a very detailed view into the Swift team’s development process, and access to the Swift evolution process. Everything you need to know is on Swift.org.

Swift in the open

For the past few days I have been watching the repositories on GitHub and the Swift mailing lists. It is fascinating. The question is, what will Swift development look like moving forward? Here are some of the interesting things I have seen so far.

  • Chris Lattner’s first commit was on July 17, 2010.

  • The main Swift repo surpassed 10,000 stars in the first 24 hours. It now has more than 19,000 stars along with over 2,000 forks. As of this writing, it is still in the #1 spot on GitHub’s trending page.

  • There has been close to ~400 pull requests across all of the repos. Many of them accepted and merged.

  • After the initial Swift announcement at WWDC 2014, I think we all noticed how active the Swift team was on twitter, answering questions and more — Chris Lattner, Joe Groff, and Jordan Rose to name a few. Turns out some tweets resulted in immediate bug fixes! 😄

  • Remember that partnership with Apple and IBM? Then it should not be a surprise that IBM seems to be very invested in server-side Swift. It looks like there is growing momentum behind using Swift on the server.

  • Chris Lattner is merging pull requests at 10pm on Saturday. 😆

  • We know exactly what to expect for Swift 3.0! No more keynote surprises.

  • The ++ and – operators will be removed from Swift 3.0. And thanks to Erica Sadun, so will C-style for-loops. She submitted this proposal on day two! 👏

  • Chris Lattner commits “Pull some ancient history off an internal wiki page for possible historical interest.” What?! Yes please! Nerd alert.

  • The collection of swift-compiler-crashes from @practicalswift has been part of the repo since September 2014.

  • It looks like there’s a good chance that typealias will be replaced with associated for associated type declarations.

  • Jacob Bandes-Storch has submitted two pull requests that fix a total of over 400 crashes. 😲

  • The Swift team seems very keen on getting the community involved. No contribution is too small!

  • Much of the swift-corelibs-foundation framework is currently unimplemented. There seems to be a lot of low hanging fruit. I wonder if this is intentional to encourage contributions, or if it is the result of a tight deadline?

  • The initial checkin from 2010 was actually revision 4 and imported from an internal SVN repo. “Swift SVN r4”. You will notice the following in the header comments: “This source file is part of the Swift.org open source project. Copyright (c) 2014 - 2015 Apple Inc.” I have three theories: 1. Commit history was edited and cleaned up before being published on GitHub. 2. In 2010, the Swift team’s deadline was “2014-2015”, no matter what. This seems like a very Apple thing to do and explains Swift’s “rough around the edges” arrival. 3. Chris Lattner is a wizard.

I think we’re definitely off to a good start. The community is strong and excited, and Swift is already greatly improved in only three days. As Lattner says, the revolution will be Swift!

That’s all I’ve got for now! If you enjoyed this article, let me know. Maybe I’ll keep creeping and sharing what I find.