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Need to tailor Swift for servers? Software upstart claims to have 'perfect' assistant

Backend apps become a bit more manageable, in theory

A screenshot of Perfect Assistant

Deploying server-side Swift applications isn't necessarily as fast as the programming language's name suggests.

To hasten the process, Toronto-based PerfectlySoft has released a beta of Perfect Assistant, which isn't as perfect as its name suggests but nonetheless can make life a bit easier for those writing Swift code.

"Really it's a set of convenience tools for developers," said Sean Stephens, CEO of PerfectlySoft, in a phone interview with The Register last week.

Integrated with Apple's Xcode, the software allows developers to pull Swift libraries and manage project dependencies with the help of the Swift Package Manager, Stephens explained.

Through Xcode, Perfect Assistant can create local Docker deployment builds. According to Stephens, "It will automatically, in the background, build against a Linux Docker container."

And it's integrated with AWS, to enable Swift applications to be deployed remotely through a menu-driven interface. "AWS was the easiest to get working and was what our developers were asking for," explained Stephens, who added that support for Microsoft Azure is coming soon.

Perfect Assistant complements Perfect, the company's web server and toolkit for Swift application development.

Swift is a relatively new programming language. Created by Apple as a replacement for Objective-C and to address some of that language's usability shortcomings, Swift debuted in June, 2014 and was released as an open source project in December, 2015.

It is currently the 12th most-popular programming language as measured by TIOBE's index. In June, Redmonk rated Swift as the 17th most-popular programming language.

PerfectlySoft's Perfect framework is one of several toolkits for creating Swift applications. Others include Kitura (a framework developed by IBM), Vapor, and Zewo.

Stephens contends that Swift makes sense for server-side development because it outperforms server-side JavaScript, in the form of Node.js. A benchmarking test performed independently, more or less, by iOS developer Ryan Collins and funded by PerfectlySoft suggests as much.

Apple's Swift.org website states the programming language "is intended as a replacement for C-based languages." For that to happen, however, Swift applications have to prove their efficiency at scale and their superiority to C-based applications on Linux and Windows. What's more, the set of Swift-related development tools needs to mature. ®

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