Musings and comments about our common interest
I have installed in my Mac the latest version of Xcode. Not that I am doing any programming; and I will be very much limited in testing the output of it, since I am not paying the Apple developer fees; but I just wanted to know all the fuss about Swift, the programming language that is taking the It world by storm. I wanted to know how it feels, what it looks like, and whether HP should have used it instead of the sort of Basic that is now being used in the HP Prime.
Well, the initial impression is very satisfactory. But the best thing of all is the simultaneous interpreter, that shows you the result of whatever you’re programming in real time (not when you run the program, but as you write it: it tries to make sense of the current sentence meaning, and shows you any possible error along the way. It is something I have never seen before, and it speeds up programming like never before. If, in addition, you read in the included documentation the file called “The Swift Programming Language - a Swift Tour”, and paste in the development windows the different examples, and do the exercises as proposed in said document, you’ll probably get the same feeling as I did.
As a first observation, it is less stricter in syntax than C+ or any of its siblings; but also much more powerful, it that you can say many things in a small space; the inferences the interpreter makes about what you’re doing are very intelligent, and sufficient most of the time; and the by-side result and clever error warning as you write, helps a lot in developing fast.
Of course, such power is very much above what is required for a calculator like the HP Prime - but it is a pity that we cannot have the leading programming language in the HP Prime. Someone willing to write an interpreter for it?