IBM Focused on 3 Major Languages: Java, Node.js and Swift

As Swift has come on strong for mobile app dev, IBM has committed to three primary programming platforms: Java, Node.js and Swift.

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As a software development organization, IBM said it is looking at three primary programming languages/development environments for enterprise use going forward: Java, Node.js and Swift.

Java is ubiquitous in the enterprise and IBM has amassed a cache of Java talent over the years. IBM has been active in the Node.js and JavaScript community, acquiring resources and talent.Node.js a server-side JavaScript development environment. Through its MobileFirst for iOS partnership with Apple, IBM has developed a keen interest in the Swift programming language that Apple recently open-sourced

“At IBM we believe there are really three key languages that are going to be needed for the future around cloud and mobile: Java, Node.js/JavaScript and Swift,” Phil Buckellew, vice president of enterprise mobile for the IBM Software Group, told eWEEK. “Those three areas are key. We know we need to be able to process transactional workloads and that’s where Java has a huge history and will remain and continue to be a great language for that purpose. Node.js has tremendous popularity today – JavaScript is the language of the Web. And Node has been a very popular way to build APIs for various web back-ends. That’s what IBM’s acquisition of StrongLoop was all about. And we think Swift will appeal to companies that need workloads that are backing many of their mobile apps and it has good properties as a systems language that we think many developers will want to use.”

Buckellew said IBM will continue to support many programming languages for a variety of different purposes. On the company’s Bluemix Platform as a Service there are many runtimes – Python, Ruby and others. “But those three: Java, Node.js and Swift are the three that we believe are the most strategic going forward,” he said.

Emphasis on Swift

Yet, Swift has been of particular interest lately at IBM, said Buckellew, noting that the open-sourcing of the language could be a game changer, especially for developers. Apple's open- sourced Swift will now enable developers to build enterprise class mobile apps across multiple platforms. Moreover, building on their enterprise mobility partnership, Apple selected IBM as its Swift developer of choice in building enterprise apps. This is key because IBM has one of the largest, if not the largest, Swift development teams focused on enterprise development, extending Swift on the IBM Cloud platform to broaden adoption with enterprises, educators and researchers to build the next generation of enterprise apps. And IBM has thousands of developers using Swift.

“We view Swift as the next great modern programming language because it represents the best of modern programming languages,” said Dr. Angel Diaz, vice president of cloud architecture and technology at IBM, in a blog post.

Better yet, as a powerful and widely used language for enterprise mobile apps, Swift will now be extended to the server and IBM will lead work driving server side enablement. With Apple’s contribution to the open source community, developers will now have the tools they need to build apps using Swift and preserve compelling user experiences across devices with only minimal effort. This would allow development teams to focus more on creating compelling user experiences and valuable features, rather than on porting code from platform to platform.

“Apple published Swift with a Linux compiler, and we are adding to the value and the capability so that the Swift language can not only be used on the client side, but so that it can also be used for cloud services on Bluemix and the IBM Cloud,” Buckellew said.

“We think that when we do that developers will be able to use their skills in many more environments – in multiple client-side environments and to the server as well," he added.