The programming world never stops developing. Whether it be from the early stages of Binary to the era of C++ and the eventual emergence of Python and PHP, a scientific historian can look back and marvel at the majestic evolution of coding throughout the past decades. With so many new languages and libraries being developed around the world, it can be easy, even as a programmer, to lose track of all that is going on. Often, a curious developer is faced with an alphabet soup of terms, libraries, and languages—which can be both marveling and perplexing. Below are seven massive and curious new innovative developments that everyone, especially programmers, should know about.
2. Swift: Launched recently, Swift stirred up quite a buzz at the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference). Apple, a commonly understood competitor of Google and Android, describes their new language as “interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and apps run lightning-fast.”
Swift’s architecture appears to live up to that bold statement. Not only is Swift dedicated to working on iOS and OS X, allowing developers to more efficiently create apps, but it is also equipped with interactive playgrounds, allowing programmers to create code seamlessly and view results instantly. As one of the most popular OS systems for mobile phones, iOS has a legacy of being the birthplace of the modern phone “app.” The app field remains a hot market, which only indicates that Swift is a critical development in the programming sphere.
What is the technical infrastructure? Swift is based on an Xcode environment that has been lauded by many developers (but, for Android lovers, not all) as significantly easier to use than Android’s counterpart, Eclipse. While Apple in popular media has been previously mocked for easy mobile “jailbreaks” to access free content, Swift is established in Objective-C and C infrastructure, which has a reputation of being more secure from general piracy. This brings up another comparative advantage: Objective-C has such a strong learning curve, and with Swift’s more concise infrastructure, novice iOS developers may be motivated to diversify their projects.
What’s so cool about it? Swift is built for programming safety. Memory is managed automatically, the syntax is easily readable, and arrays and integers are screened immediately to prevent potential overflow. View Swift’s beautiful and dynamic page here.
3. Julia: Launched in 2012, Julia is a high-level dynamic computational programming language that has a main goal of getting and fixing the problem fast. While Matlab and Wolfram Alpha’s alternate Mathematica 9 dominate the computational world throughout, a new successor may be viable. Julia has many peculiar aspects, such as multiple dispatch, when a computer function could be called based entirely on the run time of other parts of the object in question. Multiple dispatch could make solving algorithms easier, yet what makes Julia really interesting is its build. You can access, in basic terms, the bare bones of the language without leaving the interface of the language: it is like speaking English while immediately understanding the Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon roots of the words you use.
What makes it important? Julia might not be for everyone, given that it is primarily a mathematical language. Since many users of Matlab have relatively simple and less aggressive problems, the diverse literature on the topic may make the old dog the better choice. But for experimental programmers that want to have dynamic and complex tools at their side while undertaking high level calculations, Julia may prove a better investment to Matlab. One awesome thing is that it includes infinity as a data type and can undergo complex number mathematics straightforwardly without deferring to intricate arrangements.