Swift vs Objective C: Which one is better for iOS App Development?
Apple launched Swift, a new programming language in 2014. This language can be used for mobile app development and has given iOS developers an alternative to the existing and age-old language that is Objective-C, an object-oriented superset of the C programming language that has been the core of iOS development thus far over the years. Swift has been designed from the ground up to be compatible with the existing iOS development tools- XCode, Objective-C, and the Cocoa framework- but because of its ease of use and improved features mean that it is quickly starting to replace Objective-C. In this article, we are going to explore some of the few reasons why you should get on-board with the Swift language for your next iOS app development (Swift vs Objective C) project if you haven’t already.
Swift is Faster, and easier, lets developers become more productive during work
Much of what OS X operating system is based on is developed and comes from the inherited technology that dates back to Apple’s humble beginnings, and OS X’s new components have all been based on the Objective-C that includes mobile apps. Objective-C strengths lie in its stronger graphical user interfaces and feature rich frameworks. But when you compare it with the newer Swift language- it is a clunky one to write.
As the hardware and software of the iOS operating system has evolved over the years and improved with better memory and processors. Apple has been successful in developing a streamlined language that was far better suited for fast-paced app development, and also to solve and address some of the Objective-Cs disadvantages. By unloading some of the Baggage that comes with the 30+- year old language like C, Swift has been designed to make the iOS developer’s life easier and more productive.
Compatibility with the Cocoa Touch Framework as well as The Objective-C Language
Frameworks are nothing but libraries of coded modules that makes developing applications faster and much more streamlined for developers. The frameworks that are associated with Apple’s operating system are Cocoa(for OS X) and Cocoa Touch( For iOS). When the modules are written in Objective-C language, Cocoa Touch is specifically designed and geared towards touch-based devices such as iPhones and iPads. So what should this mean for a newer language like Swift?
Swift is fully compatible with Objective-C and when it comes to developing apps in Cocoa Touch, for the mobile framework for iOS. It works along with Objective-C so that developers can interface with the two languages, create mixed-language apps, and it takes advantage of Cocoa Touch classes with Swift, and Swift classes with Objective-C. The interchangeable classes, design patterns, and APIs have thus made it easier for the developer to pick and choose.
Migrating code from Swift to Objective-C is easy too, and vice versa. Developers can take advantage of Swift’s advanced features by replacing chunks of app code written in Objective-C with Swift.
Swift has been designed from the ground up with the Cocoa Touch framework, you only need to set up a Swift development environment in XCode and then import Cocoa frameworks, APIs and Objective-C code modules in order to get started.
Advantages of Swift:
1. Swift Runs Faster, almost as fast as C++, And with the newer versions of Xcode released in 2020, it is much faster than before.
3. Unified files make code easier to maintain: Again, an age-old standard is holding the C language holds Objective-C back. This is the two file requirement. This means that programmers and developers need to update as well as maintain two separate files of code, compared to Swift, this becomes one. That means less work for programmers and developers, but this does not come at the cost of speed for the front end.
4. Better Compilers means a better coding experience for developers and programmers: Swift is built-in with a Low Level Virtual Machine(LLVM), this is a compiler that is used by languages like Scala, Ruby, Python, C# and Go. The LLVM is smarter and faster than previous C compilers, so more workload is transferred from the programmer to XCode and the compiler.
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5. No pointer means Swift is more secure: Objective-C similar to C language makes use of pointers, a method that exposes values more directly to data. The problem with using pointers is that it makes and causes vulnerabilities in security. They also create a barrier for finding and fixing bugs. However using Swift, your code’s pointer is missing a value(a nil value) instead of continuing to run the app, it causes the app to crash and allows you to find and fix the bug on the spot. You will also have cleaner code and you will spend less time looking for bugs down the road, as time passes by.
6. Better management of memory: Memory leaks can occur in object-oriented programming, and apps and they are known to decrease the available memory for an app to run causing the app to fail. Typically, Cocoa Touch APIs are used to support Automatic Reference Counting(ARC). This is a streamlined way to handle memory management. But when looked upon in the context of the core graphics API, ARC is not available, it is up to the developer. This is a common pitfall when an app is using big data buffers, video or graphics. When the amount of memory being used is just too much during a memory leak, the app can be shut down by the operating system. In order to fix this Swift supports ARC across APIs and this stability means that programmers have to spend less time focusing on memory management.
The future of Objective-C
While many existing apps that are written in Objective-C will need to be maintained and this means that Objective-C will not be obsolete any time soon. Apple’s existing APIs require a bit of code adaptation in order to work with Swift. Xcode updates have caused this to change along with newer releases as well.
There is no doubt that Swift is the future for iOS apps development. It is time that Objective-C took a back seat and enjoyed the show being put up by its successors. If you liked this Swift vs Objective-C article, then do check out our other blogs as well. If you are looking to hire Swift developers or looking to develop an iOS app then do contact us at email@example.com. We have talented developers ready to onboard your project in the best budget for you.