Facebook built a Swift SDK for iOS developers (sort of)

Facebook built a Swift SDK for iOS developers (sort of)
Credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

Facebook is getting serious about Swift. A full two years after the language was launched, Facebook now has an SDK (in beta) for Swift.

Downloadable via CocoaPods, Carthage or GitHub, the Facebook Swift SDK uses Swift versions 2.2.1 and 2.3. Facebook says it will update to Swift 3 once that version is out of beta and reached Gold Master status this Fall.

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Included in the SDK are Facebook’s login and share options, as well as the Graph API for curating personal experiences for users and Facebook Analytics for apps.

It’s not Facebook’s first foray into Swift, though. Earlier this year, the company distributed code for Bolts, a collection of low-level libraries, onto GitHub. While very basic, Bolts libraries nonetheless made some boilerplate functionality much easier to integrate.

In a blog post announcing the Swift SDK Beta, Facebook’s Nikita Lutsenko wrote “We believe it is important for us to grow and diversify our developer ecosystem by extending our platform capabilities to Swift app developers on iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS.”

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IBM, Facebook an beyond

Facebook isn’t the only company glomming onto the Swift train. IBM made a huge play from day one, picking up where Apple left off with a focus on the enterprise space. It even created a cloud-based Swift developer environment so developers could toy with Swift.

Facebook’s beta SDK could do the same for non-enterprise users. It’s tools are among the best in the industry, but it’s not immediately clear how serious it is about Swift yet. In its blog post, Facebook openly admits it’s beta SDK “provides native Swift frameworks that wraps our existing Objective-C SDK for iOS.”

It didn’t actually create the SDK from the ground-up; it wrapped legacy code with Swift to make it presentable and usable for developers. A safe play, we’ll have to wait for Swift 3 — which will bring stability to the language — to see if Facebook is really ready to turn the corner.

It may not be off on the right path, but Facebook’s play is still important here. While it feels like the company is testing the waters a bit, it’s still a big move towards Swift, and that’ll pay dividends moving forward.

Introducing the Facebook SDK for Swift Beta on Facebook Developer News

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