The iOS Developer Community Survey

How do people feel about Swift?

This page contains analysis and opinion by Dave Verwer.

Adoption of Swift is going exceptionally well, and that answers this question on some level. But it’s more subtle than that, and the survey included a couple of questions that asked about people’s feelings towards the language more directly:

An average satisfaction of 8.3 is obviously very high, even more so when you think of how critical we developers can be about the languages we use! There’s still more to it though, and the next question dug a little deeper:

I expected to see high numbers of people say that Swift was becoming more capable. It clearly is, and almost 70% of respondents agreed. I also expected the community not to care very much about Objective-C compatibility, and again there were no surprises there.

But I believe there are some slightly worrying signals revealed by this question. Only ~66% of people think that Swift is in good hands at Apple? Only ~59% of people believe that the evolution process is working well? Only ~50% think the evolution process is guiding the language in the right direction? Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they’re also not great, and I expected them to be higher given the average satisfaction with the language.

There are voices in this community (including mine, sometimes) expressing negative opinions about the direction that the Swift language is heading in recently. Part of the reason I made this survey was to get a broader view on things like this. The negative narrative may be influencing these numbers, but I hope it wouldn’t affect them to the extent that we see here, so I think there’s something a little more significant happening.

So, after seeing these results, I wondered how they affected the numbers for how satisfied people are with Swift? Would we see a low average for people who think that the language is becoming more complex? I sliced the data from Question 8 to find out. Here is the average satisfaction with Swift, sliced by the people who answered each of the options in Question 9:

The Swift language is in good hands at Apple.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (1,494 people)8.7
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (750 people)7.6
The Swift Evolution process is working well.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (1,347 people)8.7
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (897 people)7.7
The Swift Evolution process is guiding the language in the right direction.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (1,157 people)8.8
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (1,087 people)7.7
Swift is becoming easier to use as the language matures.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (930 people)8.8
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (1,314 people)8
Swift is becoming more capable as the language matures.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (1,592 people)8.7
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (652 people)7.5
Swift is becoming more complex as the language matures.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (1,157 people)8.1
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (1,087 people)8.6
If I could write all code for every purpose in Swift, I would.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (1,264 people)8.9
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (980 people)7.6
First-party library/framework code should be compatible with Objective-C.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (465 people)7.4
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (1,779 people)8.6
Third-party library/framework code should be compatible with Objective-C.
Average satisfaction for people who selected (313 people)7.2
Average satisfaction for people who did not select (1,931 people)8.5

As you’d expect, the average satisfaction is affected (either positively or negatively) depending on the option, but not by very much! For example, even people who said that Swift was not in good hands at Apple had an average satisfaction of 7.6/10. I think that’s a testament to just how good the language is, but I do wonder if we’ll see satisfaction numbers drop next year if the evolution process and the direction of the language isn’t slightly adjusted.


Was there anything that could have been improved in this article? Let me know.