More than a blank space: What Swift design has in common with Taylor Swift

By Jonathan Hassell

There’s more than one Swift in the headlines these days, whether it’s the Swift design language or singer/songwriter Taylor Swift. As unrelated as these two may seem, Taylor actually has a presence in the context of IT. On that note, it’s actually fun to do a little comparison and explore what the country and pop queen and Apple’s newest iOS-oriented programming language might have in common.

Both have had a massive amount of success at a young age relative to their peers

Taylor is obviously a superstar, even though she’s only in her mid-20s. Her career began when she was just a teenager, and her music subsequently took off from its country roots and crossed over into pop, giving her a much deeper fan base. The Swift design language was designed only about two years ago, but it is quickly becoming the de facto choice for programming within iOS. Additionally, it has gained server-side support to make it even easier for developers to begin running with the language and building both the front-end and back-end pieces. Swift design is an attractive option to begin training as a developer, and many resources exist to attract teenagers and those still in school into choosing a career in programming by offering it as a first programming language.

Both attempt to be more accessible to people

As mentioned, Taylor crossed over into the realm of popular music from a more limited country audience, thus opening an opportunity for a number of new listeners to appreciate her music and become fans. Swift was designed to make it simpler to develop apps for the iOS platform, both by being more approachable in syntax and complexity and offering visual views into how code changes work by providing a live preview within the integrated development environment. Apple even introduced Swift Playgrounds, a utility that runs on iPads to create an environment that helps users learn the language by completing puzzles that demonstrate its key features and capabilities.

Despite their stardom, both have some insecurities

Taylor is famous for her short-term relationships, even nodding to critics in her hit “Shake It Off” with the line “I go on too many dates, but I can’t make ’em stay / At least that’s what people say.” A reasonable person might conclude that a song entitled “Shake It Off” might refer to shaking off both criticisms and her insecurities over failed relationships. Swift the language has also had challenges with insecurities: It was initially vulnerable to several standard threats, including SQL injections, reflected cross-site scripting, buffer overflows and stored cross-site scripting. However, no language can be absolutely secure, and recent security updates have mitigated many of these vulnerabilities. Like Taylor, the Swift language has continued on its path to programming fame despite the obstacles it has had to overcome.

As Apple’s programming language becomes increasingly mainstream, it must compete with the other big “Swift” people know about: Taylor. Both of these Swifts have come so far in such a short time, and it will be exciting to see what they’ll accomplish in the near future.

Written By

Jonathan Hassell

President, 82 Ventures

Jonathan Hassell runs 82 Ventures, a technical writing and consulting firm based in Charlotte, NC. He centers his focus around network administrator, security, the cloud, and mobile technologies.

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