Forum: Why doesn't Swift have an active bioinformatics community project like rust-bio, Biogo and BioJulia?
gravatar for stevin
11 months ago by
stevin0 wrote:

I am a molecular genetics graduate student with some experience in Python and C++ programming (99% of my work is in the wet lab). Recently, I came across the Github pages of bioinformatics packages being built using newer languages like Rust, Go and Julia. I am curious about why there is no interest in doing the same with Swift considering that Swift can theoretically run on as many platforms as these other languages. From a beginner's perspective, Swift seems to be powerful and yet have a simpler syntax than Rust and Go without sacrificing much on execution speed. Please feel free to correct if I have made any incorrect statement in this post. Thank you.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 11 months ago by igor7.1k • written 11 months ago by stevin0

There's often nothing rational about uptake of programming languages. It's usually down to a few individuals writing tools in their favourite language and convincing others to follow. If you like Swift then get the ball rolling and start giving it bioinformatics packages. Others may then follow.

ADD REPLYlink written 11 months ago by Jean-Karim Heriche17k

Edited post from Question to Forum, as it is too open-ended and prone to personal opinions.

ADD REPLYlink modified 11 months ago • written 11 months ago by h.mon22k
gravatar for igor
11 months ago by
United States
igor7.1k wrote:

Swift itself is a very young language and is actively evolving. For example, the developers are still working on ABI stability (compatibility across future Swift versions) and source stability (Swift 5 compiler may not support code written in Swift 3). It is a lot of work to develop and maintain some sort of a specialized ecosystem when the foundation is unstable.

Additionally, although Swift is relatively popular now, most of Swift usage is among iOS/macOS developers. Thus, I would guess its usage among bioinformaticians (or academia in general) is very low. Even though Objective-C is relatively old and popular, it was never big in the bioinformatics community. For the same reason, I don't expect Kotlin to be a big hit either. Another example is C#, which is mature and extremely popular in the real world, but did not make headway in the bioinformatics community.

P.S.: There was an earlier discussion here about some of these hot new languages if you are interested: Yet Another Programming Language

ADD COMMENTlink modified 11 months ago • written 11 months ago by igor7.1k
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