Objective-C is the primary programming language that you can use for developing software for iOS. This language is a superset of the C programming language. It provides object-oriented capabilities and a dynamic runtime. While, in 2014, Apple launched Swift programming language for iOS mobile apps. This language is an alternative to Object C, an object oriented superset of the C programming language. Swift programming language is designed to be compatible with all existing iOS development tools—xCode, Objective-C, and the Cocoa framework. It is safe to use and has improved features, so it is replacing Objective C.
Disadvantages of Objective C-
- As Objective-C is built on top of C, it lacks namespacing. All classes in an Objective-C application should be globally unique. So to avoid collision there is a convention of prefixing the names of classes. This is the reason we have the ‘NS’ prefix for the class in the Foundation Framework and the ‘UI’ prefix for the classes in UIKit.
- The ability to send a message on a nil object without crashing and the lack of strict typing lead to bugs that are hard to trace and fix.
- The language is syntactically verbose and complex, but this is expected given that it is a fairly old language.
- Explicit pointers.
Advantages of Swift of being more popular-
- It is an open-source programming language.
- Swift has a huge development community
- It is faster, safer and easier to read and write
- It supports dynamic libraries
- Swift has better memory management.
Here we will see the reasons why one should use Swift for next iOS app development.
1. Swift is Faster-
New technologies need high speed of performance, and Swift is totally fulfilling this need. According to test analysis, it shows the same performance as C++ for the FFT and Mandelbrot algorithms. Swift is more young language so many improvements are going to be done in the future.
The reason why everyone is buzzing about the future of swift is simple that Swift is rapidly developing language.
2. Easy to read and write-
3. Swift is Safer-
Remember the nil pointer variables (uninitialized) in Objective-C turning the expression to no-operation and leading to app crashes? Just forget about this issue when using Swift. Swift was designed with safety in mind. It produces a compiler error, whenever you write wrong code. This implies all the bugs can be fixed at development stage without assessing the whole code a while later.
4. Better memory management-
One of the problems at Objective-C is ARC (Automatic Reference Counting), that is supported within the Cocoa API and object-oriented code. However, the code is not available for procedural C code and such APIs as Core Graphics. That prompts the immense leakage of memory. Swift has solved this problem by making ARK complete with the procedural and object-oriented code paths. Due to this programmers can focus on the app logic and its features instead of managing memory within an app.
5. Dynamic Libraries-
As per above discussion, Swift is a fast developing language. It also allows you to update your apps as soon as the new Swift version arrives. This is possible due to the use of dynamic libraries, presented together with iOS 8. Previously, the static libraries updates were performed together with such major updates like the new iOS version. Dynamic libraries for their part, allow connecting pieces of code directly to the app. This helps to keep your project updated, reduces the initial size of the app, and also speeds up a load of external libraries and minimizes the time needed to load new content.
Migrating from Swift to Objective-C is easy, too. Developers can take advantage of Swift’s advanced features by replacing chunks of app code written in Objective-C with Swift.
Swift is designed to work with the Cocoa Touch framework; you’ll just need to set up a Swift development environment in Xcode. Then, import Cocoa frameworks, APIs, and Objective-C code modules to get started.
Disadvantages of Swift:
- Higher compile time.
- No direct way of using C++ libraries.
- Module format stability is still not achieved and is required for developers who want to share their code as a binary framework.
Apple offers great interoperability between Objective-C and Swift. Also it is not dropping support for Objective-C in future. It is better for programmers to start migrating parts of their Objective-C code to Swift because it is ABI Stable now. Swift is now officially ABI stable and can be considered to be a mature language. The future updates in Swift would not break the current code written from now on in Swift 5.
- If you are developing a binary framework, you should suggest waiting for Swift to achieve Module Format Stability.
- Also, if you are dealing with C++ and Objective-C++ codebase or framework, then you would need a mix of Objective-C and Swift. The Objective-C part can interface directly with the C++ or Objective-C++ parts of your code and the Swift part can then use Objective-C classes to interact with the C++ or Objective-C++ code.
You can also get the details of Swift 3 migration at our blog- Swift 3 migration for IoS app.
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