We'll Always Have Paris
January 17, 2017
I love the dotSwift conference in Paris.
They were kind enough to invite me to speak at the inaugural edition in January, 2015. I talked about the state of Swift and the community in The Ugly American Learns Swift. I think it's still a good talk and holds up fairly well modulo the fact that some of the Swift features I talked about have changed in the past two years.
Also, be warned, somehow in post production they added quite a few pounds to the speaker and seemed to remove some hair from the top of my head.
The Swift Programming Language was new. It had only been released four months earlier.
Some developers were crabbing about it because it was released too soon - way before it was ready. Other developers complained that it was released too late - we should have had more input into what it would become.
There were blog posts arguing that Swift wasn't OO enough, it wasn't Functional enough, and many other issues that boiled down to not likeing that Swift wasn't like other languages. Meanwhile, other tweets and posts complained of just the opposite - that this feature of Swift clearly copied from this other language.
Just months before people had filled up my RSS feed with articles about how Objective-C was a dinosaur and Apple better replace it with something modern. Now people were suddenly nostalgic for Objective-C and wanted a language with many of the features that they had railed against just months before.
All of the complaints were true and none of them were true.
Since then we've seen amazing additions to and removals from the Swift Language and the Swift Standard Library. The language was open sourced and the team actually listened to the community.
The Swift 3.1 branch is being cut today and the main branch will be used for Swift 4 development. The language still needs to evolve, grow, and improve - but it's come so far and I feel great about its future.
Chris Lattner has credited so many for leading the efforts in how far the language has come - but he's been a thoughtful leader for Swift and the tools and platform that support it. I wish him well at Tesla and have high hopes and expectations for Ted Kremenek as he officially steps into a role that Lattner says he's occupied for a while now.
One thing that open-sourcing Swift has done is it has made the community nicer.
People don't complain so much about what Apple is doing with Swift. People make suggestions. Other people advocate for those positions or push back. Every once in a while the conversation gets out of hand, but for the most part the world of Swift feels like a friendly place to be.
I don't know that I'll still be living in this world when I retire, but it's a great place to live right now.
Kim was in the audience for my talk. She laughed at the right places - I heard her from the stage. We returned last year when I was invited to serve as the MC for the conference.
This year I'm back again to MC and to deliver Swift training right before the conference.
The speakers are again great this year. I've learned so much from them already as we prepare for the conference.
At other conferences the speakers will whine about this or that feature of Swift. But, as they say in the movie "Casablanca", "it doesn't take much to see that the problems of [these] little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
As for me, I smile and think back to past dotSwift conferences and think, "we'll always have Paris."