IBM Stops Work On Server-Side Swift
Written by Alex Denham   
Tuesday, 07 January 2020

IBM has stopped work on server-side Swift. The news was announced to the Swift forum, with members being told IBM team leader Ian Partridge and technical architect Chris Bailey will leave the Swift server workgroup.

Swift was launched by Apple in 2014 as an easier alternative to Objective C. It incorporates some of the best ideas from languages such as C# and JavaScript, and aims to be easy to use. It was made open source by Apple in 2015, and a Linux build was added at that point. IBM then worked on porting the major foundation libraries in Swift to Linux.
IBM went on to develop Kitura, a server-side framework written in Swift, with the aim of giving Swift developers a way to create server components, APIs or web applications. Kitura has continued to be developed with the most recent release in October 2019, and commercial support being offered by IBM. No announcements have been made regarding the future of Kitura, but it seems likely that IBM will no longer be funding work on Kitura given the two IBM developers Ian Partridge and Chris Bailey were the main designers and drivers behind Kitura. Other server-side frameworks have been developed for Swift, including Vapor, and the Smoke-Framework developed by Amazon. Of the three, Vapor seems to have been more popular than Kitura, and there is speculation that this is behind IBM's decision.
The Swift community is understandably worried about IBM's decision to step away from Swift server-side development, but some have pointed out that Chris Lattner, the original creator of Swift, now works for Google, and Google is already doing some experimental work on using Swift, so there may be a way forward.


More Information

Swift Org

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