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Why Swift over Objective C ?


Android vs IOS

IT industry is going rapidly. For mobile app development, the variety of programming languages are used. From a long time, Objective Cwas a primary programming language used for creating OSX and iOS applications. As Wikipedia states, Objective C is a general purpose, object-oriented programming language. Objective C programming language was originally developed in the 1980s. To develop iOS app, Apple brought revolution in 2014. Apple introduced Swift as a new programming language in 2014’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Because of Swift, developers found an alternative to Objective C. Swift is a powerful and intuitive language for iOS, OS X, tv OS, watchOS. Swift became a good replacement of Objective C as Apple removed the unsafe pointer management and introduced powerful new features. Thanks to many key features such as closures, generics, and type interface that made it much easier to use.

According to RedMonk, Swift is taking over Objective C. In 2018, Swift ranked higher in top 10 programming languages. Gradually Swift became the love of the developers. Swift is fast, safe, modern, and enables a level of interactivity in development. Swift has potential to create engaging, flexible, consumer-friendly application. After Apple has introduced Swift, many arguments took place in the iOS world. Swift has been the center of discussion among many organizations. Whether to choose Objective C or Swift became the never-ending debate for developers.

Swift is an effective programming language. In order to understand Swift is better or Objective C – we need to identify key features between Swift and Objective C. There is no doubt that Swift has taken care of many disadvantages of Objective C. Even according to Upwork, Swift is the fastest growing skill for startups and freelancers. Let’s get into why Swift is better than Objective C.

Reasons for using Swift over Objective C

1 Less code

Swift is more compact language for programming. With Objective C, there are many issues that cause app crashes. Swift reduces the amount of code that is required for repetitive statements and string manipulations. When in working with Objective C, you will need to combine two strings which make it lengthy. Moreover, classes aren’t divided into two parts: interface and implementation. This cuts the number of files in the project in half which makes it much easier to handle. Because in Swift, programmers don’t have to update and maintain both files. Let’s take an example of the famous app – Lyft.  This app was rewritten in Swift. You will be surprised to know that the app codes went from 75000 lines to 25000 lines. Ultimately Swift makes your work easier compare to Objective-C’s lengthy coding.

2 It is faster

Along with C++, Swift is the fastest programming language for programmers. Swift’s speed will help you to save cost. For example, a complex object will run 3.9x faster than an implementation of the same algorithm in Python. It is actually better than Objective C, which is only 2.8x faster than the Python. In December 2014, Primate Lab published a report on Swift and C++ performance. Swift’s performance clearly indicates Apple’s dedication to improving the speed at which Swift can run app logic.

Apple is applying best practices to produce amazing results such as an 8.5 – fold boost for FFT algorithm performance. (Compared to C ++ with only a 1.1- time performance).  Swift has also outperformed C++ for the Mandelbrot algorithm by a factor of mere 1.03. In comparison to Swift, Objective C is much slower as it contains C API legacy. Swift accelerates the app development process.

3 Swift is open - source

Swift was declared open – source in 2015. It open ups the language to the potential to be used across a variety of platforms and for backend infrastructure. Open-sourcing Swift means that Apple will be able to get feedback from the community to make improvements on a consistent basis as independent developers contribute to the success of the language. The Swift code will be more portable to other platforms than Objective C could ever be. Swift is well designed and structured so it is becoming popular among millions of developers. There is also an initiative to make Swift Android-compatible. Swift was initially created for Apple platforms. It slowly expanding to build on Linux.

4 Swift supports dynamic libraries

The biggest change Swift has made is to switch from static libraries to dynamic libraries. Dynamic libraries are executable chunks of code that can be linked to an app. This feature allows current Swift apps to link against the newer version of the Swift language as it evolves over time. Dynamic libraries are external to the app executable but are included in the app bundle downloaded from the app store. In Swift, dynamic libraries are directly uploaded to the memory, cutting down on the initial size of the app and ultimately increasing app performance.

5 Swift is interactive

Swift provides “Playgrounds” feature. It enables programmers to test out a new algorithm without having to create an entire app. Playgrounds visualize data and programmer can quickly check and correct everything. A special panel on the right side is capable of displaying anything from single lines to the finite control elements. Apple has added inline code execution to Playgrounds so that programmers can create a chunk of code or write an algorithm while receiving feedback along the way. Swift playgrounds have introduced new opportunities to developers.

6 Swift is a safer platform

In the competitive mobile app market, Swift was designed with safety in mind. Swift brings in an all-inclusive security framework that comprise many APIs which are used to handle certificates, trust policies, apply cryptography encryption on the messages. Swift’s syntax and language constructions remove many mistakes possible in Objective C language. With Swift you can fix the errors while writing the code. It will reduce the amount of time and money that you will spend on fixing bugs related to pointer logic from Objective C. To provide predictable behavior Swift triggers a runtime crash if a nil optional variable is used. This crash provides consistent behavior, which eases the bug-fixing process because it forces the programmers to fix the issues immediately.

7 Swift’s memory management

ARC – Automatic Reference Counting in Objective C is supported inside of the object-oriented code itself, as well as Cocoa API but it can’t access C code and such APIs as core graphics. In Swift, the support for Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) is complete across the procedural and object-oriented code paths. When too much memory is used during a memory leak, an app can get shut down. To fix this issue Swift supports ARC across all  APIs, so that programmers can spend less time focusing on memory management. They can focus on core app logic along with the new features. The huge memory leaks are impossible in Swift. ARC handles all memory management at compile time and works across both procedural and object-oriented code.

8 Swift is easier to maintain

Objective C can’t evolve without C evolving first. C requires programmers to maintain two code files in order to improve the build time and efficiency of the code. Swift drops two file requirement by combining the Objective – C header (.h) implementation files (.m) into a single code file (.swift). In Objective C, you have to manually synchronize method names and comments between files. Xcode and LLVM compiler can reduce the workload of the programmer. So that programmer can spend more time on creating app logic and improve the quality of their codes, comments, and features that are supported.

9 Readability

Because of Swift’s clean syntax, it’s easier to read and write. You no longer need semicolons to end lines or parenthesis to surround conditional expressions inside if/else statements. The number of code lines needed to implement an option on Swift is a lot fewer than Objective C. Also method calls are not nested inside each other resulting in a bracket mess. Method and function call in Swift use the comma-separated list of parameters within parenthesis. The result is a cleaner, more expressive language with a simplified syntax and grammar. Swift code more closely resembles plain English. Swift’s readability makes it easier for existing programmers from Java, Python, C++, JavaScript to adopt Swift into their toolchain.

10 Swift is future

Swift 4.1 – the latest version is officially released now. There are improvements in the standard library. Swift 4.1 has come up with new features such as smart key paths and serialization. Most popular applications like Linked in, Khan Academy, Lyft, Clear, Skyguide, Strava and Yahoo weather were built on Swift.

Swift is innovative. Because it includes the best features of all the existing languages. Apple is focused on providing the best customer experience and building only those features worthy of attention. The Apple team is very much interested to know how the language can be improved to support development community that builds app and systems using Swift. Swift ensures that the app is approachable and comfortable to use. You will be surprised to know that the popular game 2048 is written in Swift, not in Objective C. Moreover, according to Stack overflow report, Swift developers have brighter future as they will be paid well. In 2015 Swift won the first place in the nomination of “Most loved programming language”. Most prestigious companies like Google, Uber, and Facebook are also considering Swift as a core language of programming and thinking about shifting to Swift for their projects.

Conclusion

We can say with complete confidence that Swift is the future of mobile app development. No matter how good and promising Swift is, developers should not overlook Objective C entirely. As TIOBE 2018 report states, Swift ranked No.15 at 1.53% share, losing 0.75% from its 2.28% share.

Still, you might have a question which language to choose? Let me tell you there is no universal answer for it. So whatever you decide to go with, make sure it’s a better option for your business model for this specific market industry and features you have picked out for your future product. Because programming languages don’t die easily, but companies that cling to old languages will definitely. Still, if you have any questions we will be happy to answer all your questions. We would love to help you to make an astonishing project on Swift.

Author Details


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Gaurav Patel

Gaurav Patel is Founder of thirstyDevs InfoTech
thirstyDevs InfoTech is a Web solutions company offering innovative web solutions. Our company focuses on providing the best web solution for our customers.




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