Apple allows mobile app developers to choose from two official programming languages for iOS – Objective-C and Swift. Objective-C is a mature and general purpose programming language, whereas Swift is a new age programming language. Apple has designed Swift specifically for iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS platforms. It has been upgrading Swift regularly to help developers build better apps for the latest version of these applications.
According to the updated TIOBE Programming Community Index, Objective-C is still more popular than Swift. The number of developers switching from Objective-C to Swift has been increasing consistently. Many developers these days prefer Swift to Objective-C while building new iOS apps and updating existing iOS apps. However, it is always important for iOS app developers to keep in mind the major differences between Swift and Objective-C to select the right programming language.
Swift has a more expressive syntax than Objective-C. It helps programmers to write clean and readable code. At the same time, the programming language does not require programmers to write additional code to perform common coding tasks like repetitive statements and string manipulation. It even enables developers to take advantage of a new type system to simplify code statements. Likewise, they can manipulate strings easily by using the “+” operator and inline support for text strings. The language features and syntax rules help developers to accelerate iOS app development.
Interactive Coding Implementation
Often developers experiment with innovative app ideas and out-of-box functionality to make their iOS app standout in the crowd. Objective-C requires developers to put extra time and effort to evaluate new algorithms and graphics routines. But Swift makes it easier for programmers to test new algorithms and graphics routines through a feature called PlayGround. PlayGround even allows developers to write a piece of code and test the algorithms simultaneously. The feature makes programmers more productive and accelerates the development of iOS apps with innovative features.
Defect Turnaround Time
While writing a new iOS app, programmers explore ways to improve its security by identifying and fixing coding errors. Unlike Objective-C, Swift makes it easier for programmers to identify and fix the errors in their code. For instance, Swift triggers a runtime crash each time a programmer uses nil optional variables. Also, it stops the runtime crash exactly on the line that contains the nil optional variable. Hence, it becomes easier for programmers to deliver high-quality iOS apps by identifying and fixing all errors in the code in the development phase.
App Maintenance and Updates
Unlike Objective-C, Swift enables programmers to build iOS apps without writing additional and complex code. The concise and simple code base makes it easier for programmers to maintain and update the iOS app. Also, Swift, unlike Objective-C, does not require developers to maintain header and implementation files separately. The programmers can simplify iOS app maintenance by combining the header and implementation files into a single code file during development. They can even take advantage of Xcode and the LLVM compiler to perform a variety of background tasks without putting extra time and effort.
Both Objective-C and Swift allow iOS app developers to choose from many libraries, frameworks, and development tools. But Swift, unlike Objective-C, supports dynamic libraries. The programmers can take advantage of dynamic libraries to add executable chunks of code to the iOS app. They even have the option to link the code written in the current version of Swift to the code written in upcoming versions of Swift. The developers can further reduce the app size during initial loading by adding external code to the iOS app when a user needs it.
Execution of Multiple Instances of a Program
Unlike Objective-C, Swift allows programmers to run multiple instances of a single program simultaneously. The developers can use the programming language to run a million instances at a time without increasing performance overheads. They can further use Swift as a parallel programming language to build a variety of iOS apps. Swift, like Objective-C, enables developers to write iOS apps pertaining to various fields – computer science, social science, physical sciences, biological science, humanities, and education.
App Performance Optimization
In addition to accelerating iOS app development, Swift also helps programmers to improve the app’s performance and user experience. While writing an iOS app in Objective-C, programmers have to address legacy conventions to improve its performance. Unlike Objective-C, Swift does not contain legacy conventions. Several studies suggest that an iOS app written in Swift runs much faster than an iOS app written in Objective-C. The programmers can further improve the app’s performance significantly by using the latest version of Xcode.
Overall, Swift is a modern programming language, whereas Objective-C is a general purpose. Unlike Objective-C, Swift comes with robust language features to simplify and accelerate the development of apps for various Apple platforms. Each new version of Swift comes with several new features and enhancements that help developers to build apps for the most recent versions of to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS.