Apple’s Newest Language: How to Use Crowdsourcing to Innovate in Swift for iOS8

June 13, 2014 Clinton Bonner

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Pace. It’s an intriguing word for one critical reason. Typically, you don’t start at a blistering one; you rather work your way up to one, sometimes, painfully slowly. You know you want to achieve a quick pace, but a very traditional “walk before you run” mentality persists, and with good reason. To experiment in something brand new – whether that be skiing a double-black diamond or attempting to bring innovative digital solutions to life in a brand new developer technology – without proper ramp is risky, or at least it used to be.

Just last week at Apple’s annual WWDC, the Apple team announced Swift for iOS8, described as an innovative new programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. With so many new features and upgrades being presented within the unveiling of this updated operating system, it was amazing to see the reaction Swift received right out of the gate from the developers themselves. This small snippet from Mashable covering iOS8 captures the sentiment nicely.

“Of all the new features and tools announced by Apple, the one getting the most buzz is undoubtedly Swift. . . . No one was expecting Apple to release a new programming language at WWDC. So the announcement of this new language, designed to be more modern and efficient, was a big surprise — and a welcome one at that.”

Apple’s Swift Surprise, Your Opportunity to Innovate Swiftly

In this era of quickly crowdfunded multi-billion dollar products and the acceleration of software-based disruption into all facets of industry, we shouldn’t be surprised when things change, and yet here we stand again saying, “Wow, we did not see that coming!?” With all change there is both destruction and opportunity.

If you lead an organization or enterprise that develops many assets in iOS, or are looking to begin to do so, then you understand how this change feels right now. In one regard, you’re probably excited at the possibilities elegantly written code will procure in Swift. On the other hand, you might also be scratching your head, trying to figure out how you will successfully ramp its team, or perhaps more harrowing still, how your outsourced partner will successfully ramp their team, in order for you to sprint ahead and create amazing new code and applications written in Swift.

For a moment, take off the blinders that are all things traditional development and look at this from a different angle.

Using Community and Crowdsourcing Competitions to Create Swift iOS 8 Applications

Instead of focusing on ramp, re-training, and hiring of new talent that can potentially help you create new applications in Swift, what if instead you solely focused on what you’d like to accomplish and see created? Removing ramp and shedding the need for retraining isn’t based in some mythical pixie dust-laden elixir, but instead it simply requires you to look at digital innovation from a new angle; one powered by crowdsourcing.

Less than two weeks after the announcement of the new developer language Swift, our team at Topcoder launched a series of open developer challenges focused on illuminating this new language to our community. The Swift iOS8 series is topped-off by a virtual hackathon with prize monies totaling $20,000.

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Because the Topcoder methodology is focused on competition, those within Topcoder who choose to register and compete have the opportunity to gain an incredibly valuable and brand new skill set, career-promoting recognition, while potentially winning some handsome prize monies.

If you are on the Topcoder platform, as our community gains brand new skill sets – like learning Swift for iOS8 – you also gain the ability to create assets in Swift via access to global expertise, paired with a competition methodology focused on outputs and results.

You can scour the Earth for top technical and creative talent, court them, train them, attempt to retain them, all while hoping they produce for you, or you can use the non-traditional methodology mix of community and crowdsourced challenges and get going at an extraordinary pace, right out of the gate. Going from zero to one is traditionally the hardest part of any new engagement. But what if you never had to start at zero ever again?

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