About Swift

Swift is a general-purpose programming language that’s approachable for newcomers and powerful for experts. It is fast, modern, safe, and a joy to write.


Tools are a critical part of the Swift ecosystem. We strive to integrate well within a developer’s toolset, to build quickly, to present excellent diagnostics, and to enable interactive development experiences. Tools can make programming so much more powerful, like Swift-based playgrounds do in Xcode, or a web-based REPL can when working with Linux server-side code.


Swift includes features that make code easier to read and write, while giving the developer the control needed in a true systems programming language. Swift supports inferred types to make code cleaner and less prone to mistakes, and modules eliminate headers and provide namespaces. Memory is managed automatically, and you don’t even need to type semi-colons. Swift also borrows from other languages, for instance named parameters brought forward from Objective-C are expressed in a clean syntax that makes APIs in Swift easy to read and maintain.

The features of Swift are designed to work together to create a language that is powerful, yet fun to use. Some additional features of Swift include:


Swift was designed from the outset to be safer than C-based languages, and eliminates entire classes of unsafe code. Variables are always initialized before use, arrays and integers are checked for overflow, and memory is managed automatically. Syntax is tuned to make it easy to define your intent — for example, simple three-character keywords define a variable (var) or constant (let).

Another safety feature is that by default Swift objects can never be nil, and trying to make or use a nil object results in a compile-time error. This makes writing code much cleaner and safer, and prevents a common cause of runtime crashes. However, there are cases where nil is appropriate, and for these situations Swift has an innovative feature known as optionals. An optional may contain nil, but Swift syntax forces you to safely deal with it using ? to indicate to the compiler you understand the behavior and will handle it safely.

Platform Support

One of the most exciting aspects of developing Swift in the open is knowing that it is now free to be ported across a wide range of platforms, devices, and use cases.

Our goal is to provide source compatibility for Swift across all platforms, even though the actual implementation mechanisms may differ from one platform to the next. The primary example is that the Apple platforms include the Objective-C runtime, which is required to access Apple platform frameworks such as UIKit and AppKit. On other platforms, such as Linux, no Objective-C runtime is present, because it isn’t necessary.

The Swift core libraries project aims to extend the cross-platform capabilities of Swift by providing portable implementations of fundamental Apple frameworks (such as Foundation) without dependencies on the Objective-C runtime. Although the core libraries are in an early stage of development, they will eventually provide improved source compatibility for Swift code across all platforms.

Apple Platforms

Open-source Swift can be used on the Mac to target all of the Apple platforms: iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Moreover, binary builds of open-source Swift integrate with the Xcode developer tools, including complete support for the Xcode build system, code completion in the editor, and integrated debugging, allowing anyone to experiment with the latest Swift developments in a familiar Cocoa and Cocoa Touch development environment.


Open-source Swift can be used on Linux to build Swift libraries and applications. The open-source binary builds provide the Swift compiler and standard library, Swift REPL and debugger (LLDB), and the core libraries, so one can jump right in to Swift development.


Open source Swift can be used on Windows to build Swift libraries and applications. The open source binary builds provide C/C++/Swift toolchains, the standard library, and debugger (LLDB), as well as the core libraries, so one can jump right in to Swift development. SourceKit-LSP is bundled into the releases to enable developers to be quickly productive with the IDE of their choice.

New Platforms

We can’t wait to see the new places we can bring Swift—together. We truly believe that this language that we love can make software safer, faster, and easier to maintain. We’d love your help to bring Swift to even more computing platforms.

Swift.org and Open Source

On December 3, 2015, the Swift language, supporting libraries, debugger, and package manager were published under the Apache 2.0 license with a Runtime Library Exception, and Swift.org was created to host the project. The source code is hosted on GitHub where it is easy for anyone to get the code, build it themselves, and even create pull requests to contribute code back to the project. Everyone is welcome, even just to file a bug report. There are excellent Getting Started guides available here on the site as well.

The project is governed by a core team of engineers that drive the strategic direction by working with the community, and a collection of code owners responsible for the day-to-day project management. Technical leaders come from the community of contributors and anyone can earn the right to lead an area of Swift. The Community Overview includes detailed information on how the Swift community is managed.


The Swift language is managed as a collection of projects, each with its own repositories. The current list of projects includes: