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Introducing the IBM Swift Sandbox (ibm.com)
246 points by julianozen on Dec 4, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 59 comments

It's on Bluemix!!!

Here is my experience with Bluemix:

1. We needed to get bills to send to our accounting department. There is no way to get this out of Bluemix. We needed to contact 5 different people and send 2 different support tickets.

2. At one point we couldn't log into our accounts, the authentication server was down.

3. The docker container doesn't always get internet. Also it sure as hell is guaranteed to not have internet if you restart it.

4. If you use their SAAS databases, then some of them you can connect to from the outside world, but some you can't. And there is no way of knowing which.

5. Just because IBM makes a product available doesn't mean it works. We used NodeRED together with the IBM developed database connectors for DashDB. That connector will timeout after ~24 hours and then not throw any errors when you keep writing to it. Took 3 days to figure this out and fix it.

6. Their deploy system is nice, pity it brings down your service for 5-10 minutes even for deploys that are literally 100 lines of java code.

7. It's painfully slow to push images to their docker hub. Took 3 hours to upload an image with ubuntu and java. And our uplink is 50mbit.

Hi hmottestad!

I am one of the people working on the IBM container service that's available as part of Bluemix. I am not here in any official capacity, just as someone who wants to understand what the pain points of our customers.

Let me start by saying that I understand your pain. As every product on the market, we have issues occasionally, such as the authentication one you mentioned or the networking. However, these are only exceptions and rarely affect our users, at least as far as we are aware. Did this happen repeatedly or was it a one time occurrence?

With regards to the ticketing system, I believe you are correct. Things are not as smooth as you or I would like them to be. I will pass this on to the management chain.

For the uploading speed of images, I also believe this may be quite rare, since I cannot remember hearing complaints about it. Did this happen on separate occasions?

With that being said, please send us tickets when something is not going the way you'd expect.

Thank you for your feedback!

The authentication one came right when we were going to shut down our use of bluemix. We reported it directly to IBM here in Norway.

The networking issue in docker happened for a few days. The "fix" from IBM (after a ticket) was for us to add a 30 second sleep to our containers. Needles to say this wasn't a fix we were happy with.

Tickets were also a huge hassle in the beginning. It was a 10 step process just to submit a ticket. It got better after a while.

We didn't file a ticket about the upload speed for images. I just remember sitting in a meeting realizing that the container had crashed, and when I restarted it it had no internet. So I thought, that while I was at it I would just push a new image with some bug fixes. That worked fine and I got a new container with internet, but pushing the image took more time than the meeting lasted without there being large changes to the image.

Thank you for providing detail into the stench of your experience.

This might help with the deploy downtime (works on Bluemix , PWS, etc):


Nice, Testsuite As A Service, I like it!

Buy some of the stock, you'll feel better :)

Shouldn't he "short" the stock instead? ;)

I'm also planning on adding support for Swift to https://repl.it once I figure out how to implement a proper REPL with it.

We also just added Swift support over at https://coderpad.io for anyone that wants to run swift during interviews.

Amjad, I got started filing some issues against codemirror for better Swift support :) https://github.com/codemirror/CodeMirror/issues/3680

Just wanted to say that coderpad is fantastic. :)

There has been http://swiftstub.com for a long time.

There's already a repl?

Can you call it programmatically?

Very cool, can't wait!

Swift is gaining momentum fast. It has a big advantage because it's arguably the best way to write iOS apps. It'll replace Objective C as a top 5 used language.

In fact, a quick check of Tiobe shows Objective C heading down fast with Swift about to pass it on its way up:


Looks like we're finally seeing the fruits of the Apple-IBM global partnership.

This is really cool to see. Really hoping to see something similar appear for Swift on Azure or AWS. Also really hoping to see Swift web frameworks begin to appear, now that Swift is open-sourced & running on Linux.

Absolutely. Two days ago (before the open source announcement), I begrudgingly started learning Swift for a school project in iOS development. Now I'm itching to dive into the language.

How funny the server is down. This shows IBM cloud quality somehow.


503 Service Unavailable

No server is available to handle this request.

This seems to be down. I'm getting 500 errors or a blank/blue page. I hope this wasn't supposed to be a demonstration of IBMs scalability prowess.

just worked for me...i ran my hello world app http://swiftlang.ng.bluemix.net/?cm_mmc=developerWorks-_-dWd...

the service took off faster than expected

Same here. If only it were a brighter shade of blue!

Yup 503 for me

If you're looking for something similar for other programming languages too, check out https://bit.run/. It supports Ruby, JS, Go, Python, Rust, PHP and many more.

Would it be alright for me to embed bit.run in a Swift tutorial site I'm making? My contact info is in my profile.

glot.io just added swift support as well https://glot.io/new/swift

I am looking for a new language to learn, preferably more PC style platform focused, would this be a good language to learn?

What do you want to do with the language?:

Here are some choices I think are interesting as new languages:

Elixir : interpreted / scalability / concurrency / fault tolerance/ friendly community

Rust : compiled / close to C speed / memory safety / concurrency

TypeScript : compiles to Javascript but with types / runs in the browser

Elm : compiles to Javascrtipt / functional / runs in the browser

I'm not even remotely a front end guy but Elm looks so interesting. I really want to play with it

You can probably include Go alongside Rust.

Or TypeScript? Rust and Go are not much alike.

It should be noted that there are some caveats to TypeScript, namely that it's type-safety is only compile-time and not at run-time. It is best-effort type-safety.

That said, the edge cases are few and far between. TS is a fantastic language to work with.

I think the issue you're mentioning isn't so much that TS only enforces type safety at compile time, because that's true of Haskell, OCaml, C++, etc. as well, but that by its nature it can't enforce any type contracts with the large quantity of dynamically-typed JavaScript you're probably going to be dealing with. Of course, this is also an issue when safe Haskell, OCaml, etc. code interacts with compiled C code at runtime as well.

If you're writing iOS apps, Swift is the language to learn.

If you're writing server-side code for Linux/OSX, probably not quite yet. The language is nice, but it's only been available as open-source for a day now... the ecosystem you'd need to be productive in Swift isn't there yet.

(On the other hand, if you'd like to be involved in building that ecosystem, now's probably the time to jump in.)

At the moment, it seems like it would be really nifty to use in hobbyist or small data-crunching projects to get C-like performance [1] with a saner syntax, less memory management issues, etc.

I wouldn't want to use it for anything substantial, but if IBM's already hopping on the bandwagon it seems like a good language to learn for heavier use later on.

[1]: http://www.primatelabs.com/blog/2014/12/swift-performance/

Is this IBM link the best first starting point to learn swift -- or should one look to something else as a first entry to swift?

Official documentation is here [1], with additional documentation and resources (that are more iOS and OSX specific) available here [2].

In particular, the Swift Programming Language ebook isn't a bad starting point. The IBM Swift Sandbox looks like a nice little interactive environment to complement it, though, if you don't have access to a Mac to run Xcode.

[1] https://swift.org/documentation/ [2] https://developer.apple.com/swift/resources/

Look into F#.

It's open source. Works on Linux, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. It has a good ecosystem and tooling built around it already but you can also tap into the C# ecosystem, if necessary.

It compares really well to Swift: http://www.slideshare.net/ScottWlaschin/swift-vslanguagex but even without that comparison, it's worth a look on its own.

I've looked into F# a few times. It's not ready on Mac. I wish people would quit suggesting until it's really baked.

Does it really work on iOS sans xamarian?

Have you tried kotlin? It is developed by jetbrains, works in the JVM and you can mix java code and kotlin code in the same project. It is still in beta but it has been developed for more years than swift and both look quite similar. Jet brains said they wanted to release the version 1.0 the the end of this year... Plus it is fully integrated in intelliJ idea

They're approximately the same age, but regardless, it shouldn't factor into your decision.

Better than Kotlin is Eclipse Xtend aka Swift for Android, which compiles to Java: http://xtend-lang.org

I would recommend learning Julia. It is an easy, fast, powerful general purpose programming language: http://julialang.org

If you plan to do native iOS and Mac OS X applications, yes.

I wonder if this was announced as a reaction to Swift going open source. I could see some IBM team working on this system as a POC, and suddenly being given an urgent deadline to coincide with the license change.

Gain from the momentum and maybe turn a pet project into something bigger. I guess that's the benefit of having tens of thousands of developers...

Apple and IBM are fairly close nowadays. Because of that, I got the impression this and Apple's announcement are coordinated actions.

I think that you are right on this, when looking at one of the examples (server.swift) it seems that people are paid by characters typed and they forget (or never heard of) the mantra DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself):

func fdSet(fd: Int32, inout set: fd_set) {

		let intOffset = Int(fd / 16)

		let bitOffset: Int = Int(fd % 16)

		let mask: Int = 1 << bitOffset

		switch intOffset {

		case 0: set.__fds_bits.0 = set.__fds_bits.0 | mask

		case 1: set.__fds_bits.1 = set.__fds_bits.1 | mask

		case 2: set.__fds_bits.2 = set.__fds_bits.2 | mask

		case 3: set.__fds_bits.3 = set.__fds_bits.3 | mask

		case 4: set.__fds_bits.4 = set.__fds_bits.4 | mask

		case 5: set.__fds_bits.5 = set.__fds_bits.5 | mask

		case 6: set.__fds_bits.6 = set.__fds_bits.6 | mask

		case 7: set.__fds_bits.7 = set.__fds_bits.7 | mask

		case 8: set.__fds_bits.8 = set.__fds_bits.8 | mask

		case 9: set.__fds_bits.9 = set.__fds_bits.9 | mask

		case 10: set.__fds_bits.10 = set.__fds_bits.10 | mask

		case 11: set.__fds_bits.11 = set.__fds_bits.11 | mask

		case 12: set.__fds_bits.12 = set.__fds_bits.12 | mask

		case 13: set.__fds_bits.13 = set.__fds_bits.13 | mask

		case 14: set.__fds_bits.14 = set.__fds_bits.14 | mask

		case 15: set.__fds_bits.15 = set.__fds_bits.15 | mask

		default: break



Given the unfortunate way fd_set apparently got imported, how else would you do this? The only alternative I see is to throw UnsafeMutablePointer at it, but that brings in the ugly specter of undefined behavior. Note that in Swift you cannot use a variable to address a tuple, so there's no way to use intOffset to access the corresponding field of set.__fds_bits.

For me is hard to understand how a language with a behavior/constraints like you describe get so much noise about "been easy to use/learn".

I do not like it but at least be DRY as much as possible:

case 0: set.__fds_bits.0 |= mask

What you're seeing here is a result of an unfortunate interaction with bridging to C APIs. fd_set is a C struct which contains a fixed-length array. Swift doesn't have fixed-length arrays, so those get translated to tuples instead.

This is not ideal, but it comes up almost never.

As for your suggestion, that seems like an entirely stylistic thing. DRY is about not copy/pasting large chunks of code, not minimizing individual lines by using compound mutate/assign operators. I've never seen anyone say (before!) that something like `x = x + 1` violates DRY.

More importantly nothing about DRY overwrites the ideal that making the intent of your code explicitly clear is more important then fixating on micro optimisations. I feel like the code as it is less easy to misunderstand while skim read.

We also added support for swift in https://codepad.remoteinterview.io/

Collaboration enabled REPL is there too (enter 'swift' in the shell).

Seems a lot slower...

There was a half-joke on Wednesday that we should do a Swift buildpack for Cloud Foundry.

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