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IBM And Apple: A Match Made For The Mobile Enterprise

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

IBM announced a few new enhancements in its efforts to bring Swift, Apple's programming language, to its PaaS.

It's not hard to be relevant when you're IBM, but it's a bit more difficult to be one of the cool kids in the vast mobile expanse. So you work hard doing the dirty and necessary work in your core enterprise bailiwick, and you partner with companies like Apple to leverage its foothold in user experience.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, IBM showcased a number of enterprise customers who have taken advantage of the IBM-Apple alliance, and announced some new details about its efforts to make enterprise mobile development more accessible to the existing Apple-centric developer community.

Specifically, IBM announced a preview of a runtime and package catalog for Swift, Apple's programming language for iOS, OS X, tvOS and watchOS. The company aims to bring Swift to the IBM cloud (Bluemix). A few months ago—shortly after Apple open sourced Swift—IBM released the Swift Sandbox for server-side programming in Swift, and the company claims that more than 100,000 developers have already used it.

The idea here is to create an environment where a single language is used to create both front-end user experiences and back-end business logic. Developers can experiment in the Sandbox, build applications on Bluemix, IBM's PaaS, and share code through the Swift Package Catalog on Bluemix. IBM is also contributing a web server framework, called Kitura, to the Swift open source community.

Certainly some of the customers IBM put on stage at Mobile World Congress seemed excited about what they've accomplished with IBM and Apple, although the deployment stories were not necessarily related to the Swift/Bluemix announcements discussed above. Still, those journeys reflected the nature of a partnership between a company like IBM, which understands enterprise scale applications, and Apple, which gets how individuals interact with devices and applications.

The companies IBM showcased included a mobile carrier, an international bank, a European utility company and a major European airline. These companies discussed the importance of user experience when building applications for external customers and internal employees, so much so that in project workshops with Apple and IBM, some of them sent actual employees to Cupertino for design discussions.

IBM said that it has worked with more than 5,000 enterprise customers on these mobile initiatives. Learn more about IBM's Swift runtime and the Kitura framework for Swift.