Craig Federighi unveils Swift at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference
Craig Federighi unveils Swift at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference

Any developer who wants to take a crack at Apple’s new Swift programming language can have a go at it, now that the company has opened the beta for its Xcode 6 development environment to any registered Apple developer.

People who want to try it out will have to sign up for a free developer account with Apple, but they won’t be required to sign up for one of the company’s paid developer programs. The app does only run on Macs, so Windows PC users are unfortunately out of luck.

Swift was one of the announcements that had every developer talking when Apple unveiled it at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference this year. Developers were excited by the language’s features, which are designed to make it quicker and easier for people to build apps for iOS and OS X.

People who want to build and release Swift apps for iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite will have to sign up for the iOS or OS X developer program, which costs $99 a year. The apps also won’t be accepted into their respective App Store until after Apple releases the next major update to the relevant operating system.

In addition to the open beta, Apple also launched a blog today that’s devoted to discussing the development of and roadmap for Swift. The blog will feature posts from the team that built the language. It’s an interesting move for the company, which is well-known for its secrecy.

Today’s post contains an important tidbit about Swift’s compatibility with Apple’s previous operating systems, too. Developers will be able to build apps using Swift that are backwards compatible with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, because Xcode will embed a version of the Swift runtime library into every app.

People interested in picking up the Xcode 6 beta can do so here.

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