The significant launch doesn’t imply the death of Objective-C, while it will become the de-facto language for iOS app development for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple watch and more devices.
The language which was illustrated as Objective-C without C by the apple is safe, modern, faster, compiler optimized and packed with a high level of interactivity that enables responsive and consumer-facing application development a breeze.
However, the release introduced a dilemma of deciding between the two OOP languages- Swift and Objective-C. It brought a lot of confusion to the development shops and created room for the discussions.
On a concluding note, the Swift was declared as a winner in the years to come and when leveraged for iOS application development, it will bring lots of benefits to the top of the table.
Take a quick look at how the Swift can get you ahead of the game:
1) Less coding required
In Objective-C, the string manipulation, string concatenation or class division needs more coding and involves writing repetitive statements. In Swift, the length of coding is reduced to half with the addition of new operators.
Also, the need to memorize the token gets alleviated with string interpolation where variables can be directly inserted inline to the string. The likelihood of app crashes due to order mess up is reduced with a type inferencing system.
2) Dynamic library support
The dynamic libraries’ support to Swift began after the release of iOS 8. Before this, just static libraries were there, although Mac is enjoying the dynamic library support for a long time.
Dynamic libraries are the executable code that allows the latest Swift apps to link the changes or updates that new versions of Swift language bring overtime in an automated fashion. Dynamic libraries are included within the app bundle during download, but they are external to the app executable, which mitigates the app size because the external code is linked only when the language evolves.
3) Easy to read
With clean syntax, Swift has become easier to read and write the code and look a lot like plain English. The removal of all the legacy conventions like parenthesis for conditional statements, @ symbol, semicolons to end lines, nesting of method calls inside square braces and pretty more has made the language expressive and the code cleaner.
In Swift, the comma-separated list of parameters within parathesis is used for function and method calls to simplify the syntax, due to which the Java, C#, C++ or Python programmers can easily read and adopt the Swift.
For executable app creation, maintaining two code files is mandatory in the Objective-C to enhance the build time and efficiency. But, the legacy of two code file requirement was dropped by Swift with X-code and LLVM compiler.
The two compilers find out the dependencies, perform incremental builds and combine the implementation files (.m) and Objective-C header (.h) in one code file (.Swift) automatically. This way Swift minimizes the repetitive tasks, bookkeeping and workload thereby the programmers will get more time to focus on logic creation, and code quality improvement.
5) Faster and safer
In Objective-C, the null pointers reduce the app crash probability but introduce lots of bugs that eat away a good amount of time of the programmers to find and fix them.
On the other hand, in Swift language, the optional value is very clear as compiler error is generated for the bad code, which enables the programmer to fix the code quickly that saves them time and money. Also, during the run time crash, Swift triggers by stopping at the line of code where nil optional variable is used so that the error can be fixed off the bat.
6) Unified with memory management
In Objective-C, the Automatic Reference Counting is supported within object-oriented code and Cocoa APIs, but not available for core graphics and procedural code, which in turn make the programmers responsible for memory management.
Instead, in Swift, all the memory management at the compile time is handled by the ARC as it works across both object-oriented code and procedural code, and won’t require programmers to do any context switches. Additionally, the need to run a garbage collector to clean up the unused memory is not required.
7) No more name collisions
The unavailability of namespaces support leads to code file name collisions, which is a linker error and won’t let the app to run. In Swift, the implicit namespaces based on the target where code file resides are given, that’s why the same code file for multiple projects can exist without letting the build to fail.
With name-space identifiers, the classes or values can be easily differentiated and the open-source libraries, frameworks or projects can be implemented on-the-fly, which relieve the stress of the same code file name collision during open-source project integration.
Under the hood, the changes are constantly made in Swift to improve the speed at which the app logic is run. The improved performance of the GEMM algorithm by a factor of 1.4 and the FFT algorithm by a factor of 8.5 are the great instances of it. The speed up development helps in saving huge bucks.
With playground feature, the programmers get the space for experiments by writing code or creating an algorithm and view its results on hand without having to wait until the project to completely built or emulator to test it.
It’s more like an editor window where the code gets compiled and run as soon as it’s written, which aids in data visualizations. All the changes made during processing, from simple images to graphs to the finite control elements can be viewed in real-time.
A year later after the release, the modern programming language Swift was declared as open source. The announcement made the language more popular, and highly used across various platforms or as a back end infrastructure.
Besides, the feedback from the community and developers’ support has made an invaluable contribution to the improvements in the language.
In 2015, in the “Most loved programming language” nomination, Swift language top the stack due to the myriad of benefits it offers over Objective-C. The language was released by Apple keeping the future iOS application development in mind. The host of features has made the iOS app developers implement the Swift code during app development.
What are your thoughts? Do you also find the language equally significant for iOS development? If so, don’t hold fire and set off the next project leveraging Swift.