Swift Without Xcode
February 14, 2018

I spent a bit of time over the last couple of days looking into the options for Swift without Xcode, aka Swift on Linux.

What it seems to boil down to is: there’s not a lot out there for free.

I’m quite happy (for now) with the Swift Package Manager as the basic build tool, so all I really want is syntax colouring, auto-completion, and debugging support. I can live with lldb if I have to, but…

For the first two, there are some options, but if you want any kind of symbolic debugging then good luck with that.

The main choices seem to be:

The Atom option is very basic, but could be improved quite a bit I suspect, for not a vast amount of effort.

For VS Code, vscode-swift looked promising, but I don’t think it works on Linux and in any case it’s currently moribund as Mr Owens has been assimilated!

As yet I’ve not tried the CLion option. It’s JetBrain and commercial, so could well be good, but won’t be cheap.

I’m wondering if I’m missing something else here. Is non-Mac Swift support really so bad? Is Swift-on-other-platforms really just a fantasy?

I’m sorely tempted to start hacking on something of my own for Atom. Monumental Yak-shaving will ensue no doubt, and I’m not really sure I want to learn enough about making Atom plugins to be able to do a decent job. Something, however, needs to be done…

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