Top 10 Features of Swift 5 to Consider During iOS App Development

From this article, you will discover:

  • 10 new and advanced features of Swift5 
  • In detail explanation and examples of Swift 5 features

If you are a startup owner or entrepreneur of any business with a plan to develop iOS app for your business, then have a quick look at this blog. Herein we have covered 10 new and advanced features of Swift 5 programming language that can be the right choice for your iOS app development. So, let’s explore 10 features of Swift with in-detail information and examples.

A brand new version of the Swift programming language is here. Swift 5.0 brings a number of changes as well as some new features to make the development even simpler and better for swift app developers. 

Today, we’ll have a look at some of the major changes and new features in Swift 5. We’ll also discuss how the process of making changes to the Swift language actually works, and why every iOS developer should know about it.

The Swift programming language was initially released in 2014 and was open-sourced at the end of 2015. As a result, more than 600 contributors have joined and are actively improving the language for seamless iOS app development. 

After the Objective-C, Swift was originally the ‘second’ languages for apps in the Apple ecosystem. But as Swift is open-source, it can be used on a number of other platforms, especially Linux. 

This also led to the development of server-side Swift so that it can be used as a back-end language for web services. But why are we discussing all this? It’s important to realize that Swift is bigger than just building iOS apps. So, without any further ado, let’s come straight to the topic and learn Swift programming features with an updated process.

What’s the Update Process of Swift Programming Language?

  • First, all the changes to the Swift programming language are proposed and discussed in a GitHub repository called Swift Evolution.
  • Anyone interested in the language can propose the changes, but they need to follow a process. You’ll find many proposed changes which are discussed first, in the Swift Forums, and then in communities.
  • After that, each proposed change is publicly reviewed by the Swift core team, which consists of Apple engineers like Ted Kremenek and Chris Lattner. You can find a list of current and past proposals in the proposals directory of  Swift Evolution. 
  • A typical proposal usually includes source code and technical designs. If the proposal is accepted, the given source code is merged into the Swift source code. 

Swift Evolution is more than just creating a good programming language. It also rejects proposals to ensure the integrity and robustness of the language. If you are interested, check out this SE – 0217, a rejected proposal about the bangbang operator !!

New Features in Swift 5.0 Programming Language for Efficient iOS App Development

1. ABI Stability

The major highlight of Swift 5.0 is ABI stability. ABI stands for Application Binary Interface, which is a binary equivalent of an API, an Application Programming Interface. 

iOS app developers use various API of libraries to write code for your apps. For example, The UIKit framework provides API to interface with buttons, labels and view controllers. 

With ABI, when a user downloads and installs your app, they won’t have to download all the code your app requires. Most of those codes are already present on their iPhone, as part of iOS, its frameworks and libraries. Your app will just have to use the binary code already present. This will make future apps smaller and easier to build.  

2. Integer Multiples With “isMultiple(of:)”

There are a lot of use cases in practical programming. One of the most common is checking if a number is divisible by another number. As it again requires checking if a number is even or odd, the default approach is to use the remainder operator %. 

Swift 5 comes with a new function isMultiple(of:) for checking if a given integer is a multiple of another number. This function improves the readability of the code and also discoverable by the auto-completion of XCode. 

Sample Usage:

let number = 42
if number.isMultiple(of: 2) {
    print("(number) is even!")

3. The Result Type

Swift introduces a new type called Result for iOS app development. This type works with two states of a passed result: success and failure, and due to its high popularity, it’s now available in the Swift standard library. 

Result type encapsulates possible return values and errors in one object. It leverages the power of enumerations and helps you write more meaningful code.

Sample Usage:

dataTask(with: url) { (result: Result<Data, Error>) in 
    switch result {
    case let .success(data):
        handleResponse(data: data)
    case let .error(error):

4. Filter And Count With “count(where:)”

You might be already familiar with collection functions like map(_:), reduce(_:) and filter(_:). The problems with the above functions are — they make the code too verbose and wasteful. Though we only want to count, we first need to filter, and this is where ‘count(where:) comes in. This function allows us to filter and count in one function call seamlessly.

Sample Usage:

let scores = [1, 3, 8, 2, 5, 6, 2, 10]
let count = scores.count(where: { $0 > 5 })

Output = 3

5. Flatten Nested Optionals With “try?”

Though it’s not wrong to use nested operators, they are confusing and seems unnecessary. Sometimes they need a larger number of operations for even doing a simple task. Does Swift flatten the nested optional resulting from try? giving them the same behavior as? and optional chaining. This also helps the developer keep code neat and clean. 

Sample Usage:

if let engine = (try? bike?.getEngine()) as? Engine {
    // that's it

6. The New “compactMapValues()” Function For Dictionaries

The standard Swift library comes with two important functions for arrays and dictionaries. 

map(_:) – It applies a function to array items and returns the resulting array.

compactMap(_:) – it discards array items that are nil.

On the other hand, The mapValues(_:) function does the same for dictionaries except it doesn’t discard the nil array items. Swift 5 bring compactMapValues(_:) function for dictionaries. 

It basically combines the compactMap(_:) function of arrays with the mapValues(_:) function of dictionaries for effective mapping and filtering values. 

7. Standard Library Updates

The standard library in Swift 5 includes many new features which help Swift programmers to manage their libraries well. Some of the major ones are as follows:

  • Improved Raw Text support for string literals.
  • SIMD and Result vector types are now available in the Swift Standard Library.
  • String revamped with UTF-8 encoding for the performance boost. 
  • Added more flexibility to construct text from data by enhancing String interpolation. 
  • Performance improvements to Dictionary and Set

8. Package Manager Updates

Swift 5 brings a number of new features in Swift Package Manager. It includes target-specific build settings, customized deployment targets,  dependency mirroring, etc. 

Furthermore, you can now import libraries in a REPL using the swift run command without any need to build an executable.

9. Additional Language and Compiler Updates

Swift 5 comes with Exclusivity Enforcement by defaults and allow exclusive access to memory for both debug and release builds. it now supports dynamic callable types and helps improve interoperability with languages like JavaScript, Python, and Ruby. 

Swift also added Literal initialization via coercion, Identity key path, and other proposals as a result of Swift Evolution process.

10. Migrating to Swift 5

Finally, if you are impressed by the Swift 5 features and looking for migration. There’s nothing to worry about. Swift 5 is compatible with Swift 4, Swift 4.1 and Swift 4.2 when it comes to efficient iOS app development. 

You just need to use the Apple Xcode 10.2’s code migrator and many of the changes will be automatically handled by the code migrator itself. You can also use the migration guide available on the official website. 

Final Words

Swift 5 comes with lightweight syntax and combines powerful type inference and pattern matching. The new version not only allows Swift developers to express complex ideas in a clear and concise manner but also improves the readability of the code during the iOS app development. 

So, if you have any idea on iOS application development that you want to develop with Swift 5, share it with us. We are a leading iOS app development company based in India, Canada, and the USA and have experience of developing over 2500 iPhone apps that you can check and explore. However, in our portfolio section, we have mentioned those iPhone apps that are not under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).

In case, if you have any query or confusion related to Swift programming questions, iOS app development cost, how to hire iPhone app developer, iPhone app development timeline, get in touch with us through our contact us form. One of our sales representatives will get back to you shortly. The consultation is free of cost. 

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This page was last edited on June 3rd, 2020, at 1:27.

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