Created by Apple and for Apple, Swift is the most rapidly growing programming language nowadays. As an alternative to the well-known Objective-C, Swift has the significant pool of advantages putting it to the leading positions in iOS development. Here are the most crucial of them:
- Swift is an open source project and has a huge development community
- it is faster, safer and easier to read and write
- Swift has better memory management, and
- it supports dynamic libraries
But before we dive right into the details, watch this video from Apple WWDC 2014 were Swift programming language was introduced.
Are you already convinced that Objective-C is the past and Swift is the future? We bet you are, but let’s take a closer look at Swift so you can see its difference with Objective-C and understand why it wins in the battle of Objective-C vs Swift.
Reasons to choose Swift for your next iOS development project
Swift is faster
Modern technologies require high speed of performance, and Swift is totally covering this need. According to numerous tests, it shows almost the same performance as C++ for the FFT and Mandelbrot algorithms. It has been also discovered back in 2015 that Xcode 6.3 beta has raised the performance of the GEMM algorithm. Taking into consideration that Swift is still a young programming language, more and more enhancements are going to be presented soon. The reason why everyone is buzzing about future of this tool is simple fact that Swift is rapidly developing language. It’s potential is undeniable, while Objective-C shows worse results.
Objective-C vs Swift speed according to Apple’s research
Swift is safer
Remember the nil pointer variables (uninitialized) in Objective-C turning the expression to no-operation and leading to app crashes? You can forget about this issue when using Swift. It was designed with safety in mind and produces a compiler error, everytime you write a bad code. This means all the bugs can be fixed at development stage without reviewing the entire code afterward. No bad surprises for customers.
Swift is easier to read and write
One of the reasons why Swift is becoming so widespread is the simple syntax of this programming language. This fact makes code easier both to read and write. On the other hand, Objective-C requires numerous symbols, semicolons to end lines, parenthesis surrounding conditional expressions inside “if” or “else” statements, etc. Swift does not have any of those. Instead, it utilizes comma-separated list of parameters within parentheses. Moreover, implementing any option is Swift requires writing fewer code strings than on Objective-C language, allowing to avoid additional mistakes, which keeps the code cleaner. As a result, developers require fewer hours to complete the task comparing to Objective-C.
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Swift has better memory management
One of the Objective-C problems 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 leads to the huge leaks of memory. Swift has solved this problem by making ARK complete with the procedural and object-oriented code paths. Now coders can focus on the app logic and its features instead of managing memory within an app.
Swift supports dynamic libraries
As we mentioned above, Swift is quite fast developing language, but it also allows you to update your apps as soon as the new Swift version arrives. That is possible due to the usage of dynamic libraries, presented together with iOS 8. Previously, the static libraries updates were conducted 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 feature helps to keep your project up-to-date, reduces the initial size of the app, speeds up a load of external libraries and minimizes the time needed to load new content.
Implementing dynamic libraries into Swift is another example of how Apple is focused on making iOS ecosystem more responsive and offer its users the extended performance.
Swift is an open source project
As an open source project, Swift proposes additional advantages to its users and one of them is reducing name collisions that were common in Objective-C.
Another winning point of Swift is huge development community, ready to enhance iOS development language. Apple managed to bring the best customer experience to developers, who use Swift as the main language for iOS development, by giving the possibility to influence its future.
Photo by Climate KIC on Unsplash
And what about Objective-C?
Objective-C was a widely used programming language before 2014 when Swift was released. Sad, but true, now it is going nowhere, and specialists predict it would not receive any significant updates. The reason is simple: Swift language already includes all solutions that Objective-C has. Plus, numerous advancement that Objective-C lacks. Though Objective-C might borrow some of the Swifts’ new features, it would never be that edge cutting.
Another weakness Objective-C has is the level of its security. As mentioned, Swift is considered much safer. And since data protection is a number one concern most users have, developers cannot ignore that too.
On top of that, unlike with Swift, it’s impossible to develop an app interactively with Objective-C. This is a great disadvantage for every software engineer and it can influence the development process rather negatively.
Since Apple released Xcode 6.3, fixing numerous irritating bugs from the Apple Bug Report utility, there are no chances that Objective-C can chase after Swift.
While most of existing iOS apps are written in Objective-C, it’s time to think about moving them to Swift. When it comes to updates, Swift allows iOS developers to deal with any changes in a short period of time. All thanks to its more approachable and responsible nature. It’s not a surprise, that even Android programmers put an eye on Swift and already use it for Android development!