iOS development

Should We Use Swift or Objective-C to learn iOS Development?

Apple introduced Swift in 2014 as a modern, safe, interactive, and fast programming language for iOS, OS X and WatchOS. In December 2015, Apple made Swift open source, and revealed a roadmap and API design guidelines for Swift 3 which will be released in fall 2016. But the company still allows developers to create iOS apps using Objective-C. Thus, each iOS app developer now has option to choose from Objective-C and Swift. However, there are a number of reasons why first time iOS app developers must learn Swift instead of Objective-C.

Why Beginners Must develop iOS Apps using Swift instead of Objective-C?

1) Influenced by Several Programming Languages
The design and syntax rules of Swift are influenced by several modern programming languages. For instance, object-oriented programming (OOP) feature of the programming language is identical to Python OOP. Likewise, the options in Swift are similar to nullable types in C#. So the programmers familiar with other modern programming languages can easily switch to Swift. Apple has further made the syntax rules of the programming language simple and easy-to-learn by focusing on readability.

2) Does not require Developers to write Additional Code
Unlike Objective-C, Swift does not require programmers to write additional code for string manipulation and repetitive statements. For instance, it allows developers to add two strings simply using the “+” operator. Likewise, it simplifies code statements through a new type system. Inline support for text strings and data manipulation provided by Swift further helps developers to write error-free code. So the beginners can always use Swift to reduce the amount of time required for building complex iOS applications.

3) Improved Performance
Many programmers have highlighted how the legacy conventions affect the performance of Objective-C adversely. Despite being influenced by several modern programming languages, Swift has dropped legacy conventions. A number of studies have also indicated that Xcode 6.3 contributes towards enhancing the speed of the new programming language drastically. Thus, Swift runs app logic much faster than Objective-C.

4) Simplifies Defect Turnaround Process
The developers can easily make the iOS apps safer and more secure by identifying and fixing all errors in their code. Swift handles pointers in a completely different and more efficient way than Objective-C. For instance, each time the programmers use a nil optional variable, Swift triggers a runtime crash. Further, it stops the runtime crash on the specific line of the code where the nil optional variable is used. The runtime crash will compel developers to fix the errors in their code and ensure consistent behavior of the application.

5) Supports Dynamic Libraries
Unlike Objective-C, Swift supports dynamic libraries. While developing apps for latest version of iOS, the developers can use the dynamic libraries to add executable chunks of code to the application. The feature will allow developers to link apps written in the current version of Swift to chunks of code written in newer versions. The programmers also have option to make changes to the dynamic libraries, and link the updated libraries to the iOS app in Apple App Store. As the external code is added to the app at the time of usage, it becomes easier for developers to reduce the initial size of the iOS app at the time of loading.

6) Facilitates Interactive Coding
Swift comes with a new feature called Playgrounds that enables developers to test new algorithm or graphics routine without building the iOS app completely. The inline code execution option included in Playgrounds will allow developers to write and test an algorithm or a piece of code simultaneously. The feature will make programmers more productive, while enabling them to focus on the application’s key functionality without worrying about the irrelevant issues imposed by conventional compilers.

7) Simplifies App Maintenance
While using Objective-C, developers have to maintain two distinct code files. The two code files make it difficult for developers to maintain the iOS apps. In addition to dropping the two file requirement, Swift also combines the Objective-C header (.h) and implementation files (.m). Thus, the programmers can use a single code file (.swift) to maintain the applications without putting extra time and effort. Swift further reduces the workload of developers by making Xcode and the LLVM compiler perform the background tasks.

The beginners can use Swift for creating new iOS applications and updating existing iOS apps written in Objective-C. Apple further allows programmers to combine components of these two programming language seamlessly. But it is always important for first time iOS app developers to learn and use Swift to ensure accurate performance of the application in the longer run.

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