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IBM Furthers Server-Side Swift Development in the Cloud

After launching a sandbox playground for the newly open sourced Swift programming language last December, IBM today announced a runtime preview as the next step in its effort to advance server-side development with Apple's new dev darling.

Under a developer agreement with Apple, IBM put the Swift playground into its cloud right after the language was open sourced, giving developers an opportunity to try the language out in a Linux server environment. The sandbox provides two panes, with source code in the left pane generating results in the right pane's Output window.

Today, IBM said it's putting a preview of a Swift runtime into its Bluemix cloud, along with a new Swift Package Catalog.

"IBM is committed to maturing the use of Swift as a server-side language for enterprise development," the company said in a statement today. "Traditionally, different technologies are used to develop the application on the client and the business logic on the server. By bringing Swift beyond the client to the server, IBM is breaking down barriers between front-end and back-end development, which can provide enterprises a single language to build rich experiences and back-end business logic."

The open source runtime, based on the Cloud Foundry buildpack for Swift, helps developers deploy Swift code to the Bluemix cloud. It provides a starter application -- not ready for production use -- described as "a simple Swift app that you can use to learn about the types of server applications you can develop by using the Swift programming language. This sample app creates a basic server that returns an HTML greeting to the client."

To help with further explorations of server-side Swift development, the new package manager lets coders create, share and find new resources, such as libraries, modules and other packages that have been created since the language moved to open source.

It can be used to discover Swift packages to include in a developer's own projects, explore package dependencies -- including finding links to associative GitHub projects -- and submit one's own packages for use by the community.

IBM also announced an associated project, Kitura, which provides an open source Web server running on OSX and Linux to provide Swift-written Web services.

That, the company said, now gives Swift developers three ways to play with the language in the IBM cloud: the sandbox, the package manager and Kitura, for development and deployment. The company is now working on further efforts to enrich the open source community around Swift, focusing on concurrent programming leveraging multi-core hardware.

Since the sandbox was launched a little more than two months ago, IBM said, more than 100,000 developers around the globe have used it, with more than 500,000 code runs. "It is already the most starred, forked, and watched open source language on GitHub, said Patrick Bohrer in a blog post today.

"Modern digital apps require a modern programming language," said IBM exec Michael Gilfix. "Swift is easy-to-learn, reliable, fast and interactive, the key traits that CIOs look for when building the next generation of enterprise mobile apps. Swift on the cloud is an opportunity for enterprises to radically simplify the development of end-to-end applications and therefore reach new levels of productivity."

IBM made the announcement at its InterConnect 2016 conference in Las Vegas.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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