Swift vs. Objective-C: Which Language is Preferable for iOS Apps

Swift vs Objective-C

Objective-C is an approved language for iOS development but it has been gradually superseded by Swift by the businesses that focus their strategic efforts to deliver the highest quality products. The right technology stack always plays a major role in selecting programming languages for iOS app development.

Although Objective-C has been subtle and stable overall, Swift inherits all its features and comes with a modern coding approach. Objective-C used to be the main language for Apple’s major software like macOS, iOS, etc. just before it moved to Swift. The decline in the popularity of Objective-C and the rise in the popularity of Swift have been simultaneous. Swift has replaced Objective-C as the main language for the development of Apple-related software and applications. It is supported and promoted by Apple so there is an increase in popularity since its inception and as Apple is going to continue with it so if someone is looking for an Apple-specific development platform then Swift is going to be a must-know programming language. Swift is mostly a vendor and product-specific language with very little usage outside Apple's eco-system.

Why Apple.Inc chose Objective-C as their default programming language earlier?

Objective-C was chosen for reasons like:

  • It was an object-oriented programming language
  • The complete power and functionality of Cocoa Frameworks can only be delivered through objective-oriented techniques.
  • Existing C programs can be adapted to make use of the software frameworks without losing any of the work as Objective-c is an extension of standard ANSI C. Swift is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language developed by Apple Inc. for iOS, tvOS, MacOS, etc. It is designed to work with all apple Frameworks like Cocoa and Cocoa touch.

Objective-C: Advantages and Disadvantages

Features that go in favor

  • Well-Tested
  • Stable
  • Easier usage of private API’s
  • Compatible with C++

Features that go against

  • Difficult to learn
  • Difficult to find skilled Objective-C developers

Swift: Advantages and Disadvantages

Features that go in favor

  • Faster
  • Safer
  • More Readable
  • Has less code
  • Less error-prone
  • Integrates with memory management
  • Open-source
  • Interactive coding
  • Closer to other platforms
  • Has become Apple.Inc’s core programming language

Features that go against

  • Slow compilation speed
  • No API stability
  • Absence of C++ import

Differences: Swift vs. Objective-C

Features

Objective-C

Swift

Syntax and grammar

Precompiled in C programming language and is therefore difficult to use.

Swift syntax is clear and brief, therefore it makes APIs easy to read and maintain. Swift is a more readable code which reduces considerably the number of code lines, type and function definitions that are more intuitive like Java as an example.

 

Maintainability

Object C requires a programmer to implement .h (interface) and .m (extended) files.

Swift avoids making use of such files.

Memory Usage

There is no certain mechanism to manage memory in Objective-C.

Swift incorporates the use of Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) improvements that help reduce the time the developer could spend in avoiding frequent memory leaks in the app.

Support

It is often difficult to trace a bug while coding in Objective-C as the compiler avoids the app crash because of the ‘null' value. This results in showing false-positive results.

Swift forces developers to add variables and any object type validations to avoid app crashes. If the developer forgets to add a required validation, it becomes easier to detect a failure when the app runs, since an unexpected ‘null’ could cause a failure which can be easier read in the stack trace exception printed in the XCode IDE console.

 

Open Source

Objective-C is not an open-source language and it remains limited to Apple.

Swift is an open-source programming language created by the Apple platform that can be expanded to build on Linux.

Easy to Understand

No

Yes

Interactive Code

No

Yes

Easy to Learn

No

Yes

Safety

Objective-C is not as safe as swift.

Swift is designed for ensuring safety. Syntax and language constructions avoid several types of mistakes and bugs.

Usability of Framework

Objective-C can be compiled into static libraries and dynamic frameworks.

 

Swift can be collected only into dynamic frameworks. It can inherit Cocoa APIs as it supports Objective-C files, within the same project.

Memory Management

Objective-C doesn't have interference and other things.

 

Swift provides safe memory management, type interference, optional and simple but has strict inheritance rules.

Development Origin

Objective-C is established, Stable and well tested.

 

Swift development is ongoing.

Swift is Faster than Objective-C

For the following reasons:

  • Read and Update in Array happens faster in Swift.
  • Dictionary and Set can be pre-initialized with a maximum number of elements.
  • Swift can do Insert and Contains operation better as compared to Objective-C.

Compendium

Swift has proven to be a smooth programming language that has quickly overtook Objective-C to create iOS applications. It has enabled a level of interactivity and has further helped develop a meaningful connection between brands, users and developers. Being extremely compatible with Objective-C, it inherits all object-oriented features. The performance and coding solutions in Swift are far ahead than those being represented by Objective-C and similar languages. It allows creating flexible, lightweight classes, the code is clean, memory management is safe, typing is strong, and follows strict inheritance rules. All this has lead Apple.Inc to promote Swift as their de-facto programming language for their major applications.

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