Swift 3 API Design Guidelines
The design of commonly-used libraries has a large impact on the overall feel of a programming language. Great libraries feel like an extension of the language itself, and consistency across libraries elevates the overall development experience. To aid in the construction of great Swift libraries, one of the major goals for Swift 3 is to define a set of API design guidelines and to apply those design guidelines consistently.
The effort to define the Swift API Design Guidelines involves several major pieces that, together, are intended to provide a more cohesive feel to Swift development. Those major pieces are:
Swift API Design Guidelines: The actual API design guidelines are under active development. The latest draft of Swift API Design Guidelines is available.
Swift Standard Library: The entire Swift standard library is being reviewed and updated to follow the Swift API design guidelines. The actual work is being performed on the swift-3-api-guidelines branch of the Swift repository.
Imported Objective-C APIs: The translation of Objective-C APIs into Swift is being updated to make Objective-C APIs better match the Swift API design guidelines, using a variety of heuristics. The Better Translation of Objective-C APIs into Swift proposal describes how this transformation is done. Because this approach naturally involves a number of heuristics, we track its effects on the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, as well as Swift code using those frameworks. The Swift 3 API Design Guidelines Review repository provides a way to see how this automatic translation affects Swift code that uses Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. Specific Objective-C APIs that translate poorly into Swift will then be annotated (for example, with
NS_SWIFT_NAME) to improve the resulting Swift code. While this change primarily impacts Apple platforms (where Swift uses the Objective-C runtime), it also has a direct impact on the cross-platform Swift core libraries that provide the same APIs as Objective-C frameworks.
Swift Guideline Checking: Existing Swift code has been written to follow a variety of different coding styles, including the Objective-C Coding Guidelines for Cocoa. By leveraging the heuristics used to import Objective-C APIs, the Swift compiler can (optionally!) check for common API design patterns that don’t meet the Swift API Design Guidelines and suggest improvements.
Swift 2 to Swift 3 Migrator: The updates to the Swift standard library and the imported Objective-C APIs are source-breaking changes. This effort will involve the creation of a migrator to update Swift 2 code to use the Swift 3 APIs.
All of these major pieces are under active development. If you’re interested in following along, check out the Swift API design guidelines, the Swift standard library changes, the Objective-C API importer changes proposal and corresponding review repository, then join the discussion on the swift-evolution mailing list.