SlideShare, LinkedIn’s platform for presentation sharing, just became one of the first apps built entirely in Apple’s new programming language, Swift.
Swift is the in-house programming language Apple built to be a simpler, safer, faster-to-run alternative to veteran Apple-compatible language Objective-C, while still working seamlessly with existing Objective-C code.
Apple unveiled Swift at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, which gave the LinkedIn team approximately three months to learn it and build an app.
“This is our first iOS app for LinkedIn,” Andri Heiðar Kristinsson, project lead, told ReadWrite. “We began working in Objective-C for two weeks, and then when WWDC came around, we heard about the new language and decided to go all in on Swift and start from scratch.”
Kristinsson and his team had Objective-C experience, but like any new language, Swift was a learning experience. Stack Overflow was a staple tool, as were, unexpectedly, Swift tutorials located on SlideShare itself. The team continulously rewrote older Swift code, Kristinsson said, as they continuously learned better and faster ways to do it.
The most surprising part of the development process, however, is that one of Swift’s built-in features influenced and enhanced a key part of the SlideShare app’s user experience.
“Swift’s size class allows you to customize the way things scale. It’s like Auto Layout on steroids,” Kristinsson said, referencing Apple’s system for scaling apps. “It sounds simple but for an app with presentations that have multiple ratios, size classes made that beautiful on every device.”
SlideShare launched Thursday because Kristinsson and his team wanted a week to test it on Apple’s latest hardware. The app also takes advantage of iOS 8’s Notification Center, which displays two slideshows a day in widget form based on a users’ interests.
To see what an app built completely in Swift looks like, you can download SlideShare from the app store on iTunes.
Photo courtesy of LinkedIn