[swift-evolution] Learning from SE-0025, a breeding group for Swift proposals

Chris Lattner clattner at nondot.org
Tue Apr 18 23:51:28 CDT 2017

> On Apr 18, 2017, at 12:00 AM, David Hart via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Hello community,
> I'm happy to see that SE-0169 got accepted and that we've patched the issues of SE-0025. But it's been a difficult process. And I can't stop asking myself if it could have been avoided. The crux of the problem is that source-compatibility is now becoming a very strong requirement. But at the same time, Swift is still missing some very big systems: reflection, property behaviours, a concurrency paradigm. How can we continue to push Swift boldly forward with very little leeway to correct our mistakes?
> Then I listened to the latest episode of the excellent [Swift Unwrapped podcast](https://spec.fm/podcasts/swift-unwrapped <https://spec.fm/podcasts/swift-unwrapped>) where they talk about the access control "saga" and ask themselves the same questions as above. One interesting idea got my attention: JavaScript has a natural breeding ground for future language features with Babel. For those who don't know, it's a transcompiler that compiles bleeding-edge JavaScript into versions supported in browsers. Perhaps Swift could also benefit from a similar experimentation time for each new proposal.

I listened to the same podcast (which is generally great btw, even if it doesn’t get all the details right), but they miss an important fact: Swift *does* have an important beta cycle (typically started at WWDC) for major releases of the language.  One very important thing with Swift 4 vs Swift 3 is that hopefully there is no feature work for Swift 4 after WWDC, meaning that the only changes are those that are responding to developer usage experience with the new stuff.

Also, it remains to be seen, but I strongly believe that we’ve ended up in a good place with access control.  The process was painful, but worthwhile to reach a great result.


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