Android maker is debating including support for Swift programming language in to future apps
Apps running on the Android platform could be set for a significant transition after it was reported that Google is considering a major change in its development guidelines.
The company is set to approve usage of the Swift programming service, developed by Apple, as a “first class” language for Android apps.
The move would lessen app developers’ reliance on Java, which has been dogged by security and reliability issues for some time, and potentially allow the creation of cross-platform native apps across iOS and Android.
Although created by Apple, Swift is an open-source platform, theoretically giving developers much more scope to create new and exciting offerings for mobile users.
Along with Google, Facebook and Uber are also interested in getting Swift involved in the programming needs, according to sources speaking to The Next Web.
However the report says that Android won’t fully replace Java with Swift, but is rather looking to have the two platforms running together to give more freedom of choice.
This is a tad surprising, given that the parent companies of both Android and Java are currently engaged in a bitter court battle that recently saw Oracle demanding $9.3bn from Google.
If it wanted to introduce support for Swift, Google would also need to overcome several technical issues, including the need to create a runtime for Swift. This would then be needed to be built in to the APIs and SDKs within existing apps, some of which are written in C++, which poses a major issue as Swift cannot currently bridge to C++ and would need to be rewritten.
Apple has released an updated version of Swift and its Benchmarking Suite in recent months after deciding to make the entire platform open-source.
The original Swift programming language was introduced in 2014, combining the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.
Swift 2.0 was later introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2015 as an updated version of the language. Swift builds on the best of C and Objective-C, without the constraints of C compatibility, according to Apple. The language adopts safe programming patterns and adds modern features to make programming easier and more flexible.
The updated Swift 2.0 version provided improved performance with a new error handling API and improved support for availability checking.
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