In years past Apple has announced their new operating systems, developer tools, and environments at WWDC and then in the fall final versions would be released to the entire developer base. Today, it is a whole new world in that the Swift language has mostly diverged from this pattern and is released on a community driven time schedule. This is excellent development as it means that the community has a lot more influence on the availability and schedule of the language rather than letting the schedule be dictated by other platform release cycles. This also means that the Swift community is in charge of their own destiny! To me this shows a strong forward progress in the language and the community that Apple is starting to take very seriously. And that is why I wanted to write this post, to describe the news that was broke this week on the Swift 5 release schedule and how this improves the languages and the community as a whole.
Swift 5.0 🚀
Today, you can view the changes going into the Swift 5.0 branch on Github here. And on September 25th, Ted Kremenek, the Swift project's lead, posted on the Swift blog describing what the release process would look like for cutting a Swift 5 release. In this post Ted estimated that on November 16th, final branching from the Swift master branch would take place and be merged into the 5.0 branch and a release would be cut for Swift 5.0. From there exceptions would be made as they come up, but essentially November 16th is the estimated date as of now. Below you can see the fixes that are going into the 5.0 branch posted on Github.
What can be expected from Swift 5.0? ABI and module stability, strong backwards compatibility with Swift 4.2 and a much more stable language, runtime, and interface going forward. One important item to note is that Swift 3 compatibility mode will not be supported in the Swift 5 compiler. Swift 4.2 is the last release of Swift to support Swift 3 mode. So if you are using Swift 3 mode in your projects, the release of Swift 5.0 is something you will want to pay attention to.
To get regular snapshots of Swift 5.0 builds, check out the Jenkins build system Apple has setup here. Snapshots should also start being posted on the Swift downloads page here as they become available. Swift 5.0 will be a major step forward in compatibility and I am very happy to have done my part in making the language better!
In Summary ⌛️
To read the full post describing the release of Swift 5.0, please visit the Swift blog here. To get involved with the development of the Swift language, please visit the Github repository here. Thank you very much for reading and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.