March 28, 2023
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Software development

Swift vs Objective-C: What is the Best Language for iOS Development?

So, if your project requires the support of lower platform versions – welcome to the Objective-C world. One more minor improvement is that you will not find the division into interface and implementation anymore. It reduces the number of files in a project which allows you to navigate more easily through the project. In such a rapidly growing industry as IT, there are always a variety of hot topics for developers to argue about. The release of Swift language in 2014 and Apple’s great expectations for this language was not exceptional and became the topic for numerous Swift vs Objective-C discussions.

Swift has simplified coding patterns as well as coding interface vs Objective-C. Swift was originally created for Apple platforms and was further expanded to Linux. Its creators understood the fact that to build a remarkable modern programing language, it should be available for everyone. Swift helped to develop many third-party frameworks & tools and has resulted in a growing community. To start, the code in Swift more closely resembles English, making it easier to read and requiring less time to check the code. As well, in general, it requires far fewer lines of code for the same feature.

Partially to fulfill our needs, partially due to our urge to share this knowledge with you. It was 2014 when Apple introduced a new easier way to build iOS apps – Swift. However, in 2020 IT managers and CTOs still struggle to choose between Objective-C and Swift. To dispel any doubts we compared them and prepared this guide. That greatly improved the performance of our app and helped avoid tons of bugs.

Both Objective-C and C++ support compile-time polymorphism , with Objective-C only adding this feature in 2015. With ARC, the compiler inserts retain and release calls automatically into Objective-C code based on static code analysis. The automation relieves the programmer of having to write in memory management code. The introduction of the two letter prefix also became a simplistic form of namespaces, which Objective-C lacks.

Your App will Occupy Low Memory Space

Mac OS X v10.5, released in October 2007, included an Objective-C 2.0 compiler. Even though Apple has equipped Objective-C with a garbage collector, it still isn’t as efficient as well written Swift code. Simpler syntax and performing type checking at compile-time, help Swift to outperform Objective-C.

Advantages of Objective-C

Swift also became backward compatible with its previous versions. The list of languages that it is interoperable with now includes Ruby, Python, and JavaScript. Remaining supreme to Objective C, Swift was ranked 20th among the most popular programming languages of and 8th among the most loved languages.

Also Read: iOS App Development Trends to Watch Out in 2023

This coding language uses the object syntax of Smalltalk and non-object-oriented operations from C. It’s popular for its maturity because it has been tried and tested for decades. Having worked for 6 years on Objective-C improvements, Apple Corp has to admit the fact that it might not be the best coding language for writing mobile apps. So, it was decided to arrange another challenge for developers by introducing a new iOS coding language called Swift.

Advantages of Objective-C

C++ is a middle-level language that is being operated on different cross-platform operating systems such as Windows, UNIX, Macintosh OS, etc. In contrast, Objective C is general-purpose, and object-oriented programming language employed by Apple in its operating systems and APIs Cocoa etc. Swift, however, drops this two-file requirement, combining the Objective-C header (.h) and implementation files (.m) into a single code file (.swift). In Objective-C, you have to manually synchronize method names and comments between files. While with Swift, programmers can spend more time creating app logic and improving the quality of their code, comments, and features that are supported.

It’s high time to make the switch to the more approachable, full-featured Swift for iOS and OS X app dev

The biggest change in Swift that hasn’t received enough attention is the switch from static libraries, which are updated at major point releases , to dynamic libraries. Dynamic libraries are executable chunks of code that can be linked to objective c vs swift an app. This feature allows current Swift apps to link against newer versions of the Swift language as it evolves over time. You should be aware that the threshold for entering the programming environment with this language is quite high.

However, subsequent releases yield increasingly faster performance, and developers can simply adjust project settings or code to improve build times. Objective-C has a huge and active development community as well. Objective-C, one of Apple’s oldest programming languages, has a large and active developer community that shares expertise, tools, and best practices. This implies that when working with Objective-C, developers may quickly discover answers to issues and solutions to difficulties.

This gives developers more time to focus on the app’s performance without reducing its CPU or memory allocation. Since Apple has made its programming language available for wide use, it does not require a license, which means the development environment can be deployed on any machine. Another distinctive feature is advanced functionality, memory management, and support for dynamic libraries. During the use of this programming language, millions of lines of code have been written. When developing code using Objective-C, you can be sure that you will not encounter unexpected or incomprehensible errors.

  • When the amount of memory used is just too much during a memory leak, the app becomes shut down by the operating system.
  • As a result, developers employ the practice of prefixing class names with ‘NS’ to avoid conflict.
  • Python and JavaScript are two standouts for novices, according to developer experts.
  • This is especially useful for big projects that are being updated as more features are added with Swift, which are then placed into Objective-C’s codebase.

This means it becomes the programmer’s responsibility to handle memory management when working with the Core Graphics APIs and other low-level APIs available on iOS. The huge memory leaks that a programmer can have in Objective-C are impossible in Swift. Optional types make the possibility of a nil optional value very clear in Swift code, which means it can generate a compiler error as you write bad code.

2021 — support for Linux and Windows, concurrency, and actors

In December 2014 Primate Labs published a report on Swift and C++ performance. To make the long story short, Swift 1.2 was a bit slower than its competitor. VSCO Cam chose Swift to build the latest version of their photography app for iOS. For instance, the developers were faced with messing up the order or using the wrong string token. At the same time, the interaction with both Objective-C and C is maintained.

Advantages of Objective-C

Using Swift, you can prevent a large number of crashes and speed up the development. Obj-C is used to code applications for any Apple device, be it an iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, or even CarPlay. So, Objective-C developers will be in great demand for at least another five years or more.

The advantages of Swift

Hence, it is possible to change the structure and purpose of classes during the development process. In this article, we compare Objective-C vs. Swift to help you realize which language suits better for your mobile app development project. There are a few options when it is more preferable to use Objective-C instead of a new iOS programming language- Swift. First, if an app has already been written in Objective-C and has a huge codebase (100,000+ code lines). Second, if you plan to build an SDK, Objective-C is a better option. At last, it is better to use Objective-C if C or C++ third-party frameworks are used extensively in software.

Is Swift the future for iOS development?

The construction of Swift has been designed to exclude and avoid mistakes with the help of its features – generics, optionals, and type interference to achieve app stability. Therefore, apps developed in Swift are less prone to bugs and crashes. It can be complicated to find a proper Objective-C developer. Their number is modestly decreasing as new developers are learning mostly Swift and others are switching from Objective-C to Swift.

Poor interoperability with third-party tools and IDEs

Apple has done a great job and implemented big changes in the new iOS coding language. These innovations have removed unsafe pointer management and introduced powerful new features. Since the new iOS app programming language has been launched, disputes about Swift’s advantages and disadvantages continue to simmer till now. The feature in Swift, which makes it safe is – Type interface. By making use of the feature, coders are able to cut the coding length down. Type Interface make use of the default setting until specified by special keyword.

The Next Web sources say that Google is considering making Swift the main language for Android, while Facebook and Uber also intend to give Swift a central role in their developments. This crash enables consistent behavior, which makes easier the bug-fixing process because it forces the developer to fix the problem immediately. This gives the possibility to fix the bug sooner or completely avoid it in code.

This creates a short feedback loop and allows programmers to code with intention. Problems can be fixed as code is written, which greatly reduces the amount of time and money that you will spend on fixing bugs related to pointer logic from Objective-C. Again, because Swift is young, it doesn’t support versions earlier than iOS 7.0 and macOS 10.9. Therefore, it’s impossible to create universal apps that will be able to support all platforms.

Objective-C was extended at NeXT to introduce the concept of multiple inheritance of specification, but not implementation, through the introduction of protocols. This is a pattern achievable either as an abstract multiple inherited base class in C++, or as an “interface” (as in Java and C#). Objective-C makes use of ad hoc protocols called informal protocols and compiler-enforced protocols called formal protocols. Once an Objective-C class is written, it can be instantiated. This is done by first allocating an uninitialized instance of the class and then by initializing it.

This, of course, influences the productivity of work positively. According to some sources, the speed of its algorithms’ implementation is 3.9 times faster than that of Python, the most popular and high-performance programming language. This means that the developer will need less time to create a product. This point is very important, especially when speaking about the cooperation between programmers building the same app on different platforms. Apple’s modern programming language is easier to understand for non-iOS developers and minimizes the time taken for additional explanations and clarifications. Objective-C is an object-oriented programming language introduced in 1983 as Apple’s C programming language for its operating system known as “A/UX” (i.e., Advanced Unix).

Its syntax and language constructions exclude the several types of mistakes potentially possible in Objective-C. This stability means fewer crashes and cases of unexpected behavior. It does not prevent from writing bad code, of course, but a developer is more protected from making unwanted mistakes. After Swift had been announced a new programming language from Apple, it caused a lot of surprise and confusion in the community. There were various predictions about its future and the developers’ feedback left a great deal of room for further discussions. Have you faced the dilemma of choosing between Swift and Objective-C for building your iOS mobile app?

This includes the compiler, the standard library, and the core libraries . Below we have presented the main differences between the two languages for creating iOS and macOS applications. Many of the world-famous applications that we use almost daily are created with the help of Swift.

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