The final version of Swift 3.0 will be released alongside iOS 10 and macOS Sierra in the fall, but the fact that Apple develops Swift out in the open now means that we know more about its progress than we do about Apple’s operating systems. Chris Lattner, a senior director of the Developer Tools Department at Apple, today posted a lengthy note to the Swift mailing list that looks back at the development of Swift 3.0 and sets some expectations for Swift 4.0 next year.
The note is worth reading in its entirety for those interested in programming in Swift and in contributing to the language itself—the Swift 3.0 retrospective focuses mostly on the benefits and drawbacks to going open source. Lattner describes the “vibrant community” as “fantastic,” though he does note that open-source development “is slower and less predictable than ‘closed design.'” Lattner says “the end result is significantly better, and therefore the tradeoff is worth it,” even if “it is impossible to make everyone happy.” The latter sentiment should ring true to anyone who has ever worked on any open source project.
Apple plans to release two major Swift updates between now and fall of 2017—Swift 3.1 in the spring and Swift 4.0 in the fall, along with whatever other minor bugfix releases are necessary. For Swift 4.0, Apple would like to focus on source and ABI stability first, and move on to other features once work on those two things is complete. After that, Lattner outlines a number of goals that the team would like to accomplish if time permits:
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