Apple developers now have a new tool in their toolbox.
Today, the company announced Switft, a new programming language that can power all of its devices. Swift is the successor to Objective-C, the venerable language that Apple has used to build apps for the Mac and iOS. Swift includes full support for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, so developers can build apps for the iPad and iPhone.
Apple has been using Objective-C for the past 20 years, and although it has treated the company and its developers well, the venerable language is starting to show its age.
Swift uses the same LLVM compiler that Apple uses for Objective-C, so developers can run Objective-C, Swift, and C code all in the same program, and brings a number of improvements.
Swift also gives users live feedback as they code using “Playgrounds,” so it’s possible to test exactly what will happen inside an application. Users can also control time inside a Playground, so it’s possible to see what happens moment-by-moment.
The news comes alongside a number of other developer-friendly announcements, including new tools that allow developers to build extensions for other iOS applications, and system-wide support for third-party keyboads like Swype.
Developers will be able to download a guide to the new language from iBooks today, and they’ll be able to submit apps using the new language on the day Apple launches iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.