Anybody keeping up with the ongoing debacle between Google and Oracle won’t be surprised to learn that the search giant is investigating alternatives to Java as the ‘first class” language for Android. The Next Web is reporting that Google is currently studying Swift to take this role, but if that is the case, it’s going to be a long road to Swift dominance.
Swift is a language that has its roots in Apple, where it was developed to replace Objective C. The language has rapidly garnered an avid fan base who laud its ability to cut to the code more quickly and cleanly than other languages. Since it has gone open-source, it’s gotten the attention of not just Google, but major players like Facebook and Uber.
So what would an Android adoption of Swift look like? Well, it would be an undertaking that would last longer than a Catholic wedding feels. Right off the bat, Android would need to create a runtime for Swift, and that’s just to get the ball rolling. The entire standard library would have to be made Swift-ready, and APIs and SDKs would also need the support added. To make things more complicated both low level APIs – some of which use C++, which Swift cannot bridge to – and higher, Java APIs would have to be rewritten. In effect, Google would need to redo everything they’ve done with Java for its usurper.
The Next Web’s source is quick to note that Google isn’t looking to entirely replace Java, rather it wants the future core of Android to be more Swift-driven than Java-driven. Other interested companies like the aforementioned Facebook and Uber seem to be waiting around to see what Android does with the language first before jumping in full force.
Are you a developer who has worked with Swift before? What do you think about it becoming the main support pillar of the Android operating system sometime in the distant future? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned to Android Authority for all the latest changes coming to your favorite mobile OS.