Google mulling deep Android support for Apple's Swift language - report

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple's nascent Swift programming language could have a bright future ahead with one of the company's chief competitors, as Google is reportedly considering bring Swift to Android as a "first-class" language.




Google discussed the idea of bringing Swift into Android with at least two major third-party developers -- Facebook and Uber -- according to The Next Web. Those talks are said to have taken place late last year in London, though they remain preliminary.

The search giant is thought to be feeling out potential long-term replacements for Java, over which it is embroiled in a long-running legal spat with Oracle.

Any official Android implementation of Swift would not replace Java immediately, though. Nearly every user-facing piece of the operating system would need to be rewritten from the ground up, as well as a huge portion of Android's core.

Such a move could prove attractive for developers, who would be able to more easily create native cross-platform apps.

Also under consideration for Google is Kotlin, a language designed by Java-focused development company JetBrains and designed to be interoperable with Java. Google is said to have concerns about Kotlin's speed, however, preferring Swift's "upside" over both Kotlin and Java.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Embrace, Extend, and... Fork. (Like they did with WebKit)
    moreck
  • Reply 2 of 36
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    Embrace, Extend, and... Fork. (Like they did with WebKit)
    WebKit was a fork, wasn't?
    staticx57adonissmuafrodri
  • Reply 3 of 36
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,943member
    Apple made it open source for wide adoption but must keep control so it doesn't become like fragmented android. For Google, this is much better way out from under Java. Universities curriculum and enterprise IT development will embrace it in big way. IBM is an example. .
    edited April 2016 nolamacguy
  • Reply 4 of 36
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,756member
    This could be a huge, massive feather in the cap for Swift.   If Google adopts the energy behind Swift will just continue to grow, I can see Swift lasting for decades replacing many of today older languages.   No programming language is perfect but Swift is good enough to attract a lot of interest from many domains as it firms up.  
  • Reply 5 of 36
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 434member
    Win, win for all but Oracle (claimed Java owner).  While it would be nice to think that Apple would have "control" over Swift, it is now open source and available for modifications.  Ideally the "glue" that will keep Swift mods from fragmenting is the interoperability, but with time all companies want their products differentiated so there will be some mods that will break this.
  • Reply 6 of 36
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member
    I don't get why Apple bothered open sourcing it. It just gives competitors a helping hand IMO. 
    It's not like Apple needs Swift endorsed by Google for the language to be a success, it's going to have widespread adoption within Apple's own ecosystem.  

    Though I do look forward to being able to use Swift for server side code.
    edited April 2016 cali
  • Reply 7 of 36
    irelandireland Posts: 17,571member
    I don't get why Apple bothered open sourcing it. It just gives competitors a helping hand IMO. 
    Rest assured if Apple open-sourced it they want this kind of adoption. They open-sourced WebKit for similar reasons. Apple makes money on hardware.

    Reminds me, I still say Apple need to make iMessage cross-platform. In the grand scheme of things people staying with Apple for iMessage is a small portion, and having it cross platform similar allows those Android users who become familiar with iMessage over the top the risk free opportunity to try out iOS.

    Cross-platform iMessage would be an attempt to own the future of messaging vs the short term gains of keeping some users on iPhone.

    Apple just need to figure out a more elegant signup process first. Something akin to how WhatsApp does registration may be a better idea.
    jony0argonaut
  • Reply 8 of 36
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    What's the point in Swift being open source?

    can anyone give a good explanation?


  • Reply 9 of 36
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    wood1208 said:
    Apple made it open source for wide adoption but must keep control so it doesn't become like fragmented android. For Google, this is much better way out from under Java. Universities curriculum and enterprise IT development will embrace it in big way. IBM is an example. .
    Google wouldn't benefit by forking it. They would benefit more by allowing app developers to port their iOS apps to Android with less ground up code rewriting than is required now. Google would still have to provide their own proprietary frameworks / classes as Apple's wouldn't port but they would save a tremendous amount of time and money by letting the community support and evolve Swift with Apple taking the lead while Google could contribute their enhancements to the project at large for everyone.

    They actually have a history of this in the past. Google let Apple do most of the work to port WebKit to Windows. Without Apple's contributions Chrome for Windows would not be possible (or extremely delayed) Now, since Google has been moving ahead with a fork of Webkit called Blink all the chrome specific code from Webkit has been removed keeping it pure on all platforms while Blink supports vendor specific code like Google but retains backwards compatibility to WebKit. 
    jony0adonissmuboopthesnootargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 36
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,286member
    ireland said:
    ...
    Reminds me, I still say Apple need to make iMessage cross-platform. In the grand scheme of things people staying with Apple for iMessage is a small portion, and having it cross platform similar allows those Android users who become familiar with iMessage over the top the risk free opportunity to try out iOS.

    Cross-platform iMessage would be an attempt to own the future of messaging vs the short term gains of keeping some users on iPhone.

    Apple just need to figure out a more elegant signup process first. Something akin to how WhatsApp does registration may be a better idea.
    Too late for that, we already have WhatsApp.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    ireland said:
    I don't get why Apple bothered open sourcing it. It just gives competitors a helping hand IMO. 
    Rest assured if Apple open-sourced it they want this kind of adoption. They open-sourced WebKit for similar reasons. Apple makes money on hardware.

    Reminds me, I still say Apple need to make iMessage cross-platform. In the grand scheme of things people staying with Apple for iMessage is a small portion, and having it cross platform similar allows those Android users who become familiar with iMessage over the top the risk free opportunity to try out iOS.

    Cross-platform iMessage would be an attempt to own the future of messaging vs the short term gains of keeping some users on iPhone.

    Apple just need to figure out a more elegant signup process first. Something akin to how WhatsApp does registration may be a better idea.
    theres a clear in-road from Swift devs on other platforms to building for iOS/Apple. but i dont see that in-road with cross-platform iMessage -- as a consumer using an android handset, why/how would i be dipping a toe into the Apple ecosystem just by sending messages to iOS users? the android user would never need to even touch apple device, and thats where the money is.

    and now that Apple is the known champion of encryption and is labeled as the most secure device to own, theres even less reason to put it on android. 
  • Reply 12 of 36
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    cali said:
    What's the point in Swift being open source?

    can anyone give a good explanation?
    i think apple said in their presentation it behooves them to have more developers walking the earth who are good at writing software that apple devices can leverage. more talent.
  • Reply 13 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,506member
    cali said:
    What's the point in Swift being open source?

    can anyone give a good explanation?


    Wider adoption than just Mac, iDevices, Apple Watch and AppleTV.

    Any developer familiar with Swift is, by definition, a potential developer for Apple products.

    Swift enables developers to write both the device (client-side) and the cloud (server-side) portions of the app in one language.

    For example, I suspect that the IBM/Apple partnership is integral to this open-sourcing.


    ... Or, more succinctly -- why wouldn't you develop in Swift?


    edited April 2016 caliRayz2016argonaut
  • Reply 14 of 36
    Herbivore2Herbivore2 Posts: 362member
    Android already has been forked a number of times. Rewriting Android using Swift code is going to force Android developers into making additional changes again. 

    Since the majority of mobile development is occurring for iOS, moving to Swift would seem logical. However, such a move will strand a very substantial number of current Android users. 

    Perhaps this is Samsung's opportunity to push Tizen again. 
  • Reply 15 of 36
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    I don't get why Apple bothered open sourcing it. It just gives competitors a helping hand IMO. 
    It's not like Apple needs Swift endorsed by Google for the language to be a success, it's going to have widespread adoption within Apple's own ecosystem.  

    Though I do look forward to being able to use Swift for server side code.
    you can already do that with Perfect.org
  • Reply 16 of 36
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member

    cali said:
    What's the point in Swift being open source?

    can anyone give a good explanation?


    More people to write code for Apple computers in particular the Linux community. 
  • Reply 17 of 36
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    adonissmu said:
    I don't get why Apple bothered open sourcing it. It just gives competitors a helping hand IMO. 
    It's not like Apple needs Swift endorsed by Google for the language to be a success, it's going to have widespread adoption within Apple's own ecosystem.  

    Though I do look forward to being able to use Swift for server side code.
    you can already do that with Perfect.org
    Check out what IBM has been doing with swift. I'm certain before long they'll have replacement for WebSphere. 
  • Reply 18 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,782member
    adonissmu said:

    you can already do that with Perfect.org
    I've been reading about that for a couple hours now. That is one hell of a learning curve. You need to learn Swift, then install and learn Mustache Templates, and then compile Perfect Server and learn how to implement it with compiled executables through Xcode. It is like starting web development 101 from scratch. Everything you knew about traditional web development is out the window. Well your JS/CSS/JSON skills are still useful.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 19 of 36
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member
    volcan said:
    adonissmu said:

    you can already do that with Perfect.org
    I've been reading about that for a couple hours now. That is one hell of a learning curve. You need to learn Swift, then install and learn Mustache Templates, and then compile Perfect Server and learn how to implement it with compiled executables through Xcode. It is like starting web development 101 from scratch. Everything you knew about traditional web development is out the window. Well your JS/CSS/JSON skills are still useful.
    Yes, my thought exactly. I took a peek at it a week or so ago, and couldn't justify the time (at this point in time).
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 20 of 36
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,202member

    cali said:
    What's the point in Swift being open source?

    can anyone give a good explanation?



    Any developer familiar with Swift is, by definition, a potential developer for Apple products.

    And vice versa don't forget. Apple has the most talent when it comes to developers, so has more to lose. Currently when a client asks me to write an Android version of an app, I tell them to politely jog on. But if I could write it in Swift, on occasions I might lower my standards ;) So the winner in that scenario is Android, not Apple.
Sign In or Register to comment.