SSWG 2024 Annual Update

In this annual post, the Swift Server WorkGroup (SSWG) reflects on the community, ecosystem-wide accomplishments and the workgroup’s focus areas for the year ahead.

Since our previous update, Swift on the Server has continued to grow in many ways. Let’s start with a look at the progress made in 2023, then look ahead and next steps for 2024.

2023 in Review

Server Community Survey

For the first time ever, the SSWG ran a developer community survey aimed at collecting feedback and information about the shape and breadth of the Swift server ecosystem. We received a great response, and we’d like to thank everyone who participated!

We’ve analyzed the responses to help direct the workgroup’s efforts, as well as provide visibility into how the ecosystem is doing. For example, while the majority of respondents already use Swift Concurrency, there remain challenges in some areas with adoption. We also learned that there is a lot of interest in standardized tooling such as swift-format and sourcekit-lsp, and interest in building out support for various IDEs.

You can read the full SSWG Community Survey 2024 Report over on the Swift forums.

Continued Focus on Growing the Ecosystem

The SSWG has continued to focus on growing the ecosystem by incubating packages and providing guidance to package authors. We’ve seen a lot of new, in-development, and improved packages in the last year.

By participating in the Google Summer of Code, we were able to provide swift-memcache-gsoc, which makes it easier to communicate with Memcached servers. The wire protocol and higher-level connection APIs are done, with connection pools and key sharding on the roadmap.

Adoption of Structured Concurrency

We’ve seen a lot of progress on the adoption of Structured Concurrency. Most new libraries are adopting it, and we’re working on a guide to help existing libraries adopt it as well.

Two big drivers of Structured Concurrency in the ecosystem have been SwiftNIO’s introduction of NIOAsyncChannel and the ServiceGroup in the rewritten ServiceLifecycle package. Together they are foundational pieces for higher-level libraries like Hummingbird and gRPC to build logic using Structured Concurrency.

Tooling Improvements

Tooling has seen some tremendous improvements in 2023 with the introduction of Swiftly, Dependabot for Swift, and Chiseled Containers.

In addition, thanks to the introduction of Package Plugins, we’ve seen the OpenAPI Generator make an entry. This plugin allows you to generate Swift boilerplate code from an OpenAPI specification. This is a great way to build both HTTP clients and servers.

New Members

Since our update post of 2023, Sven A. Schmidt has joined the workgroup. Sven has already been involved with the documentation workgroup and is known for his work on the Swift Package Index.

Ecosystem

Last year, we saw seven new packages enter the SSWG incubation process. A tremendous amount of work has been done on these packages, showing how rapidly the ecosystem is expanding:

  • Swift Distributed Actors (Cluster) was accepted in January 2023. This package enables writing peer-to-peer clusters in Swift using distributed actors.
  • Cassandra Client was accepted in February 2023, providing a Swift client for Apache Cassandra.
  • SQLiteNIO was accepted in September 2023. This package provides an SQLite driver for Swift, and is commonly used through Vapor’s Fluent ORM.
  • Swift Service Context and Swift Distributed Tracing were accepted in October 2023. These packages enable distributed tracing for Swift, rounding out the “three pillars of observability”.
  • DiscordBM was accepted in October 2023. DiscordBM is a Swift client for Discord’s Bot API, and is the foundation of Vapor’s Penny bot.
  • Swift OpenAPI Generator was also accepted in October 2023, providing a Swift code generator for OpenAPI specifications, enabling generating both servers and clients.

In addition, MongoKitten was pitched and approved at the start of 2024. MongoKitten is a popular MongoDB driver for Swift.

Goals for 2024

Preparing for Swift 6

In preparation for Swift 6, we’ll be looking at the impact of strict concurrency checking across the server ecosystem. We are planning to enable strict checking on every incubated package and make each package compile warning-free under the strict checking rules.

Adoption of Structured Concurrency

Adoption of Structured Concurrency has been going strong but the journey isn’t finished. In the coming year, we’ll be focusing on adopting Structured Concurrency in even more libraries, with the goal of making SwiftNIO an implementation detail of more and more libraries.

In addition to working on libraries, we are also planning work on more guides for developers of libraries and applications, describing how to adopt Structured Concurrency and the benefits it brings.

Standardized HTTP Server and Middleware

In 2023, we’ve extensively prepared for a standardized HTTP server and middleware. The in-progress, Hummingbird rewrite is already taking advantage of the new HTTP types. The goal for 2024 is to produce a low-level, general-purpose HTTP server package.

Marketing Swift on the Server

Marketing Swift on the Server is a big focus area for 2024. With the introduction of the redesigned navigation of the Swift.org website, we’ll be better able to showcase Swift on the Server.

We’re looking to create more content for the ecosystem, such as integrated example projects and showcases of existing server-focused projects.

In addition, we’re looking to connect developers by organizing online user group meetings. We’re currently planning the first Swift Server User Group meeting, with a goal of 3-4 meetings per year.

Finally, we’re excited to see the return of the ServerSide.swift conference in 2024, hosted in London.

By: Joannis Orlandos, Konrad ‘ktoso’ Malawski, and Franz Busch
Originally published at: Swift Blog

Source: cyberpogo.com



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