Swift Programming for Android
Almost two years back,
Swift was designed to make it easier for developers to create apps for Apple’s mobile platform. Usually developers write complete app code and then compile it to see output, but Swift helps them see results in real time instantly while writing code.
Now, reports have been emerged that the search engine giant is also considering making Swift programming language a “first class” language choice for programmers making apps for its Android platform.
In between an ongoing legal battle with Oracle over Android, Google is planning to bring Swift into the Android platform with at least two major third-party developers — Facebook and Uber, reports The Next Web.
Around the time when Apple officially made Swift an open source language, executives from Google, Facebook and Uber attended a meeting in London to discuss the Apple’s very popular Swift programming language.
The move is very likely due to Google’s ongoing legal dispute with Oracle. The dispute started when Oracle sued Google for copyright in 2010, claiming that the search engine improperly used its Java APIs and baked them into its Android mobile OS.
However, Google argued that the Java APIs in question were necessary for software innovation, allowing different apps to talk to each other, and, therefore, could not be copyrighted.
Google almost won the initial lawsuit in 2012, but a Federal court reversed the decision in 2014 in Oracle’s favor. Google then reached out to the US Supreme Court to take the case, but Supreme Court declined to hear its appeal.
Most recently, Oracle announced its intent to seek $8.8 Billion in damages from Google.
Although the final decision is yet to be made, which could possibly prohibit Google from using the copyrighted APIs, the company has started planning a shift towards other open source languages.
Last year, Google announced that the future Android builds (from Android N) will not use Java API, rather will make use of OpenJDK – an open source version of Oracle’s Java Development Kit (JDK).
OpenJDK is still controlled by Oracle, but at least, Google is legally cleared to implement it.
So, any official implementation of Swift into Android would not replace Java immediately, though. Google would make it easier for developers to build their Android apps with Swift, right alongside Java most often used for Android apps today.