For a long time, Objective-C was the only programming language for building iOS and macOS applications. Objective-C is a superset of C programming language with added object-oriented and dynamic runtime features. Initially, it was a primary language for custom iPhone app development and macOS app development.
But, in 2014, Apple Inc. introduced a new language called Swift, described as an Objective-C without C. Swift is a modern programming language that supports faster and safer coding and enables interactivity in app development. In addition, its cutting-edge features like closures, generics, and type references make the language much easier to use and simplify the common patterns used in Objective-C.
Swift combines C and Objective-C features, but it does not have direct compatibility with C and all the constraints that come with it. And, in addition, with the support of Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, Swift has completely redefined mobile app development for Apple products.
How is Swift Better?
After Swift’s grand launch, the developer community was surprised and confused as Apple claimed the language would be better than Objective-C. However, for the same reason, Swift has been a topic of discussion among many organizations. Since Swift was launched, it has proved to be an exceptional programming language. The language can establish a direct connection between iOS app developers, companies, and end users.
Some Important Statistics About Swift
- In 2019, Swift was ranked 8th as the most well-known programming language. Moreover, it ranked 4th as the popular programming language among developers.
- Swift is also a highly-paying language. Swift developer’s annual salary is around $55,000.
- According to the PYPL and TIOBE index, Swift’s popularity is increasing every year.
These are some important statistics regarding Swift, indicating why you should choose it as your next programming language for iOS app development. Further below, we have listed 8 benefits of Swift for your iOS app development services.
8 Advantages of Using Swift for Your iOS App Development
Swift is predicted to be the future of iOS app development for not one but many good reasons. The language is developed keeping contemporary and future app development changes and requirements in mind. This makes Swift the most relevant for app building. Below are some advantages you would receive incorporating Swift into your app development tech stack.
Swift has clean syntax, making it easier to read and write code. In addition, Swift code resembles the English language; this makes writing code more natural and detecting bugs from problematic code much easier.
Moreover, as compared to Objective-C, Swift requires less number of lines of code to implement a feature because it has emitted many legacy programming conventions like semicolons at line-ends and parentheses to start and end conditional expressions.
Furthermore, Swift’s method calls do not reside inside each other, which often results in a bracket mess. Instead, method and function calls use comma-separated lists of parameters within parentheses. This makes code much cleaner.
When it comes to improvability, Objective-C can’t evolve without the evolution of the C language first. On the contrary, Swift does not have such dependencies, making the language much easier to maintain. C language requires programmers to maintain two separate code files to improve the build time and code efficiency. And this convention is also inherited by Objective-C.
However, Swift has eliminated this requirement. It has merged the Objective-C header files (.h) and implementation files (.m) into a single file (.swift). In Objective-C, you must manually synchronize method names and comments between those two files. And with Swift, programmers can focus on creating app logic and improving the code quality, comments, and supported features.
Nowadays, businesses focus more on security for a reason and expect developers to offer secure iPhone app development services. And in terms of safety, Swift has better conventions than Objective-C. For example, Swift syntax and construction eliminate several mistakes possible in Objective-C.
This stability ensures the app has fewer crashes and problematic behaviour instances. Nonetheless, this doesn’t prevent programmers from writing low-quality code, but it makes it less likely to make mistakes, adding an extra layer of quality control during iOS app development.
Swift takes the nill code, producing compiler errors when developers write bad code. In addition, Swift allows you to write and compile code to fix errors simultaneously, which is unattainable in Objective-C. As a result, Swift performs efficiently when bug testing. And all these things make Swift a safe and secure language.
Using Objective-C in your project, you might face many issues that cause app crashes. Swift’s code is less error-prone, thanks to its inline support for manipulating text strings and data. Moreover, classes are not divided into two parts; the interface and implementation. So this also shortens the number of files the project needs in half, making it much easier to handle.
Eventually, Swift requires less coding effort when writing repetitious statements or causing string manipulations. Moreover, in Objective-C, you are required to combine two strings, making the code more lengthy. In contrast, With Swift, you only need to add the plus sign (+) to join two strings.
Swift also offers many speed advantages during development, which in turn, saves you costs. For example, a complicated object sort runs 3.9 times faster than Python when the same algorithm is implemented. And this is also better than Objective-C as it is 2.8 times faster than the Python version.
Swift performance is closer to C++, which is revered as the fastest algorithm calculation arithmetics. Apple has made it clear that they are committed to improving the speed at which Swift can run app logic.
Support of Dynamic Libraries
Dynamic libraries are executable code pieces which can be appended to applications. This feature allows current Swift applications to link against newer versions as it evolves over a period. In Swift, dynamic libraries are directly uploaded to the memory, which cuts down on the initial size of the app and eventually increases app performance. And this allows developers to offer exceptional iPhone and iPad app development services.
In Xcode, Playground is a feature that gives programmers a platform where they can play with the code and test out a new algorithm without having to create an entire app. Apple has to include inline code execution to Playgrounds, helping programmers generate a chunk of code to write an algorithm while receiving feedback.
And this feedback loop can improve the speed of writing code with the help of data visualizations. This feature, along with Swift, highlights Apple’s efforts to make app development easier and more approachable.
New Approach to Error-Handling
Unlike the conventional try-throw-finally-catch approach to handling errors, Swift employs a fundamentally new approach. In Swift, enum (enumeration), which processes the outcomes of success and failure, is used. This algorithmization process enables programmers to carefully track potential errors, reducing the likelihood of faulty application operations after the launch.
Highly Interactive Language
Swift can be used in an immersive experience, where developers can see the results as they code. This allows developers to detect and correct any issue in the coding phase. You can find any loops in code you’re writing in the timeline window, where variables are computing.
Swift allows developers to create cross-platform applications, as it can be used to build apps for Linux as well apart from iOS and macOS. The significant opportunity is to use it in the Linux environment where Objective-C is not available.
Higher Order Functions
Higher order functions reduce the amount of code to be written. Swift has anonymous and nested functions, idioms, closures, and many other features, which allow writing of single-line statements.
API Availability Check
The API availability check function is a real helper to novice programmers. This feature of Swift allows developers to use only those APIs available for a specific deployment target.
Apple made Swift an open-source language, enabling language to have the potential to be used across a wide variety of platforms and infrastructures. Furthermore, making Swift an open-source language means Apple would be able to receive feedback from the community to improve the language consistently as independent developers keep contributing to the betterment of the language.
As a result, Swift has become a successful project, not only because of its well-structured design but also because many developers provided their support.
Modern problems need modern solutions, and that is what Swift is all about in the mobile app development world. Since its launch, Swift has received immense praise and acceptance from the developer community. It has become the talk of the town among business and software development organizations that have already included Swift in their development services. Considering this, it would be good to hire a remote iOS developer with Swift knowledge for your iPhone or iPad app development services to harness the potential of the language for your business.
Is Objective-C obsolete now?
Swift is steadily taking the place of Objective-C in iOS app development. However, Objective-C won’t die any time soon because, in 20 years of its existence, it has a large code base, several apps maintained, and third-party frameworks with objective-C. These apps and libraries are challenging to rebuild from scratch with a new language.