Every time Apple releases a new Swift update, developers imagine including more robust features that let them better control the iOS app development process. This time Apple has come out with a new Swift 5.5 update for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS to its open-source programming language. The latest release boasts improved performance and better usability. Let’s go through the content and see what is new in the Swift 5.5 update to give developers an edge when they begin using the language.
Unique features that will entice reluctant developers
Apple announced the Swift 5.5 release with headline features titled ‘Swift Concurrency’ for asynchronous and concurrent programming. It also promoted the release with other features like standard library packages and improved package management and distribution. The following features of the new Swift 5.5 update will give iOS developers an edge in iOS app development. These include:
• Actors and async/await
• Allow interchangeable use of Double types and CGFloat
• Async let bindings and async sequences
• Codable synthesis for enums with associated values
• Continuations for interfacing async tasks along with synchronous code
• Effectful read-only properties
• Extend property wrappers to clouser and function parameters
• Extending static member lookup in generic contexts
• Global actors and structured concurrency
• if for postfix member expressions
• Lazy now works in local contexts
• Sendable and @Sendable closures
What is in the Swift 5.5 update for developers?
All mentioned-above features of Swift 5.5 can solve some of the weird issues that developers confront while using the language. “The Swift team is working extraordinarily hard to deliver an astonishing collection of changes in a relatively short time,” said Paul Hudson, an award-winning Swift programmer. “Not only are these changes providing major new language features that deliver power and safety for Swift developers, but they have also received extensive community input through Swift Evolution—the actors proposal alone went through seven pitches and two proposals before finally being approved,” he added.
Now, developers will be able to grab packages from a search screen in Xcode, an Integrated Development Environment that offers tools for building software products. Selected lists of packages or “package collections” make things easy when it comes to distributing and consuming package collections for specific uses. Moreover, it is Swift 5.5’s package manager that adds support for package collections.
Swift language inventor Chris Lattner says, “Because they are embodied by an (internal) queue abstraction, you communicate with actors asynchronously, and actors guarantee that the data they protect is only touched by the code running on that queue. This provides an ‘island of serialization in a sea of concurrency’.”
“We envision educators and community influencers publishing package collections to go with course materials or blog posts, removing the friction of using packages for the first time, and the cognitive overload of deciding which packages are useful for a particular task,” he added.
Concurrency interoperability with Objective-C is another highlight of the new release. It links Swift’s concurrency features with Objective-C. Swift 5.5 also comes with improved memory management and changes in Xcode 13. With “Actors” or a reference type, the newer version of Swift protects access to its mutable state.
Companies looking for highly functional iOS apps for their projects can get help from professional iOS app development with expertise in Swift. It will be great to find a company that uses the Swift 5.5 version for app development projects.
It is expected that the Swift 5.5 update will influence more developers with new and enticing features.