[swift-evolution] Three questions about a more "dynamic" Swift for InfoQ

sergio zergyo at gmail.com
Mon Sep 26 15:29:30 CDT 2016

HI all,

a debate has recently taken place within the Objective-C/Swift dev community concerning the lack in Swift of something “equivalent” to Objective-C runtime programming. When using Swift exclusively, there seems to be no easy equivalent for Cocoa fundamental design patterns such as the Responder Chain, NSUndoManager, KVC/KVO/Bindings — and in general for code that leverages Objective-C's dynamic features (i.e., runtime programming). 

According to some developers, dynamic features in Ocjective-C grant easy coding and high decoupling and there are concerns that Swift might make harder a number of common Objective-C tasks (e.g., by increasing boilerplate code, lowering readability, making high use of switch, etc.) and eventually increase development time.

In this context, is interesting to know how those concerns are viewed within the Swift dev community and how they could be tackled. Thus, I would like to ask three questions that will be the base for an InfoQ article on the topic:

1.     Do you envision a more dynamic Swift? Should some level of dynamism be added at the language or framework level (e.g., to make dynamic dispatch or some form of message passing possible, while ruling out trickier features such as method swizzling and others) possible ? Should Swift be dynamic at all?

2.     What is the challenge of making a more dynamic Swift (or adding features to it to help solve the same kind of issues that are solved in ObjC through dynamism)? How could that be achieved without making Swift a less safe language? [e.g., reflection, macros, etc.]

3.     Are you aware of any work that has been/is being done in Swift development (Swift 3/Swift 4) to make Swift more capable of addressing the above mentioned concerns?

Thanks a lot in advance!


Sergio De Simone
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