Swift Finally Comes to Windows

Posted on September 23, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows with 30 Comments

Apple’s Swift programming language is available now on Windows for the first time, six years after it debuted on Apple’s platforms and about a year after work on this port began.

“The Swift project is introducing new downloadable Swift toolchain images for Windows,” Swift.org’s Saleem Abdulrasool writes in the announcement post. “These images contain development components needed to build and run Swift code on Windows.”

The toolchain noted above includes the Swift compiler and standard library, of course, but also the “full Swift ecosystem,” with core libraries like dispatch, Foundation, XCTest, and so on. “With these core libraries and the flexible interoperability of Swift with C, it is possible to develop applications on Windows purely in Swift while taking advantage of the existing corpus of libraries on the Windows platforms,” Abdulrasool notes.

To demonstrate this capability, Swift.org provides the source code for a native calculator application written in Swift with those core libraries. But the real goal of this project is to help developers using Swift on Apple’s platforms port their work to Windows.  Swift.org cites Readle as an early adopter, and it’s seen great success, it says.

“We released Spark for Android[,] which uses Swift to share core code with iOS/macOS, and the opportunity to extend to one more platform was really tempting,” Readle says of the port. “Despite some functionality being unready as of yet, Swift on Windows turned out to be fully satisfying our needs … After all initial concepts were proved, it was mostly routine day-to-day work to bring it alive on Windows.”

Swift.org says that it will continue updating Swift for Windows, and that this week’s milestone is just the first that it felt was ready for use. Next up is more the ecosystem support, including bringing lldb and the Swift Package Manager to Windows.

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