Apple’s iOS programming language could offer ‘Swift’ approach when made open source

A startup company just north of Toronto is hoping Christmas comes early with a gift from Apple Inc., and it’s not an iTunes gift card or an iPad Pro.

Newmarket, Ontario-based PerfectlySoft Inc. is waiting for Apple to deliver on a commitment the company made earlier this year to completely open source Swift, the development language for iOS, so that it can evangelize its Perfect Framework for server-side Swift.

Apple first created the development language 18 months ago to provide a better way to build applications for the iPhone, and the company has already announced plans to open source Swift, which is expected to happen within weeks.

PerfectlySoft CEO Sean Stephens said the company has already invested a lot of time and money on the basis of the Swift language becoming open source. As part of a previous venture, Lassosoft, he brought Lasso up to Canada in 2010. It was one of many products owned by Apple in the 1990s that were cut off by the company when Steve Jobs took the helm again in 1997.

Stephens said PerfectlySoft has leveraged many of the tools built by Lassosoft within the Perfect Framework with additional capabilities needed to deploy and run Swift on the server. “We have a codebase that goes back many years,” he said. “We understand the Apple server side.”

In fact, Stephens realized quite a while ago that he was a good position to go to market quickly if ever someone came up with a Swift for back-end applications because of his experience with Lasso, which is closed sourced and deployed for applications where security is critical, such as the defence sector. “You can’t really open source it,” he said. “The Perfect framework is built on the same metaphor of Lasso, which since 1994, has never been hacked. That’s why it’s used on aircraft carriers.”

The Perfect Framework is a “prolonged intellectual experiment,” said Stephens, and it would allow developers building mobile applications in Swift right now to reuse code for server side operations.

“It could save developers 60 to 70 per cent of the code they have to write on the back end,” he said, and from a resource perspective mean having one developer that can write for the client side and the server side. “The vision is that Perfect will save companies huge amounts of money.”

A visualization of communications using the Perfect Framework. Click for the full-sized image.

The framework could also help get products to market more quickly, Stephens added. PerfectlySoft has already prototyped a dozen applications; the Perfect Framework is particularly suited for any application that sends data back to a central location or has a login/authentication process. He said once Apple makes the formal announcement, PerfectlySoft will initially focus on gaining traction in the Linux market.

Meanwhile, Stephens predicts someone will soon release a Swift compiler for Android, and sees a great opportunity for the entire Apple ecosystem, including the new Apple TV, which has a gaming focus.

“All of this has to have a back end,” he says.

Might as well be Perfect Framework.

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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