Three reasons companies are investing in Swift now

By John Ponzo, on


Companies looking to invest in Swift can take advantage of the new, IBM-supported Bluemix runtime for Swift. Available for public, dedicated and local cloud deployments, this one-of-a-kind runtime unlocks the value of the cloud for Swift developers using the latest IBM Swift buildpack along with Kitura, IBM’s popular open web framework for Swift developers.

The IBM Bluemix Runtime for Swift enables enterprises to build Swift apps extending across the client and the server. This is the culmination of many months of work by a number of IBM engineers enthusiastically working with the community to bring Swift to the server.

Increasingly, companies are recognizing that the level of maturity combined with the server enablement offered by IBM are the right combination to leverage Swift for competitive advantage. Now we are getting asked, not about ad hoc app development, but about standing up entire in-house “Swift practices.” The questions are coming in from enterprises, digital agencies and system integration alike. Let’s explore why this makes sense.

By standing up a Swift practice today, your enterprise can:

  • Grow your ability to deliver better apps, faster.

Swift is an easy-to-learn, high-performance language. One reason it’s easy to learn is that its syntax is designed for optimal utility. It’s a type-safe systems language that catches many errors at compile time, it significantly reduces lines of code in comparison to Java and Objective-C and it provides an elegant scripting-like syntax.

This means that enterprises will benefit from readily available developer skills and these same developers will be able to deliver high-performance apps faster. At IBM, with each Swift release, we are consistently seeing high performance and low memory profiles with Swift. Over time, this combination will help companies get more apps built faster but also, optimize both development and compute resources at a lower cost.

  • Accelerate your enterprise’s digital transformation.

While digital transformation may begin with investments in new mobile apps, today, too many mobile projects are ad hoc, without any real investment strategy. This creates integration and scalability issues down the line. Both can be expensive to address. One way to think of digital transformation is that it’s about changing how we engage and empower people across our workflows using the latest innovative digital technologies.

Today, enterprises are rapidly investing in digital applications using Swift on the client side. The expressiveness of the language makes for engaging apps that help deliver on their ROI goals. Up to now, there hasn’t been a clear choice for a technology bridge that links client- and server-side capabilities. Now, as the language’s benefits expand to the server side, there is.

As the performance characteristics continue to improve and the community adds more libraries and packages, Swift becomes the logical choice for a modern, extensible back-end environment. The combination of the Swift 3.0 release and the IBM runtime for Swift enable integrators and app dev shops to start using Swift for end-to-end hi-fidelity experiences, expanding their own competitive value add.

  • Unlock the potential to capitalize on market-leading cognitive and IoT opportunities, first.

By ramping up efforts to deliver hi-fidelity apps using Swift end-to-end, development teams unlock even more potential. Today, Swift developers working within the iOS ecosystem are driving unprecedented innovation in the areas of home automation, health management, automotive and wearables. Tapping into these efforts, market leaders will be able to extend the value of their own offerings.

We are sitting on the cusp of innovations that will combine new areas of digital automation with IoT and cognitive capabilities. These will define the new wave of digital economy investments. Swift libraries and SDKs are key to unlocking this capability, and every day more and more innovative packages are being introduced. The IBM Swift Package Catalog, which brings together Swift’s modern package management technologies with best-in-class search and discover capabilities for developers, has surpassed 2000 packages in less than six months.

How do you get started now?

As one of the world’s largest creators of Swift applications for enterprises, we’re seeing the demand for Swift end-to-end first hand. When IBM began the effort to extend Swift the server in December of 2015, we were asked to speak about the “Swift trend” because it’s the fastest growing programming language today. All that has changed.

We’ve delivered hundreds of industry apps for our MobileFirst for iOS clients, and we are as excited as they are to extend that value using Swift end-to-end. There are three ways you can begin exploring Swift for your enterprise:

  • Use the IBM Bluemix Runtime for Swift combined with Kitura and the IBM Swift Package Catalog to get started standing up cloud services with Swift end-to-end.
  • For iOS mobile developers looking for an xCode-like experience, the IBM Cloud Tools for Swift simplify back-end integrations to cloud.
  • And if you just want to try Swift on the server and see what all the buzz is about, I encourage you to try the popular IBM Swift Sandbox. Developers around the world are sharing code and insights daily, already topping two million code runs.

All are available on the Swift@IBM devCenter on developerWorks.

About The Author

John Ponzo

IBM Fellow, Mobile Chief Technology Officer

John is an IBM Fellow, Vice President and CTO for IBM MobileFirst.

Articles by John Ponzo
See All Posts