Objective-C is a programming language that essentially allows developers to interact with Apple products by writing code. It was developed to write apps for Apple’s iPhone. Objective-C was first launched and owned by NeXT Computer Inc., created by Steve Jobs in the 1980s after he returned from his adventures as an entrepreneur. Even though NeXT had not been in business by the early 90s, Objective-C continued to be used as the underlying foundation for much of Apple’s software development.

Objective-C has its roots in two other frameworks – C and Smalltalk. Objective-C’s object syntax was taken from Smalltalk, while its syntax for non-objects comes from C. This gives the language ample time to mature and allows developers to test and improve upon it as many times as possible before coming up with a final version.

Apple’s Swift programming language is one of the newest development languages, first released in 2014 by Apple. At a glance, Swift appears almost identical to Objective-C in functionality and thus mistaken for a template change rather than an entirely new language. However, Swift has many features that were never available on the Objective-C platform.

Since Swift was introduced, iOS developers have heated debate over which language is better. Thankfully, Swift is so powerful it can come across as unforgettable! The newest and easiest way to build apps has become the fastest-growing programming language of all time – delivering our brightest minds on a new horizon.

Why should you compare Objective-C vs. Swift?

Objective-C vs. Swift

Source: Konstant Infosolutions

Swift and Objective C are both languages that Apple has created to help developers build apps to run natively on iOS devices. These programming languages work together seamlessly but with a different emphasis for each one.

Swift is not an official successor of Objective-C despite gaining popularity. Each language has its strengths, and developers often use them side by side while developing iOS or Mac OS apps.

As a developer, project manager, or enterprise, you must have had a tough time deciding which language to go for? Which is better, and why does Swift beat Objective-C when app development with Swift?

As a product manager, one of your responsibilities is to evaluate different platforms. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list outlining 8 reasons why app development with Swift is a perfect choice:

Readability

Unfortunately, Objective-C programming carries all the burdens intrinsic to a language built on C. With a view of differentiating keywords and types from C types, Objective-C offers new methods prefixed with a few lines of code, creating smaller yet equally structured programs which in turn compile easier and faster.

As for Swift, it’s a newer programming language designed to bridge the gap between functional and object-oriented paradigms. It implements features from both models, making it easier at times to code in ways that may be more reminiscent of Objective-C or pure object-oriented languages like Java.

One of the best parts about Swift is that it can let go of some outdated conventions that computer programmers have been accustomed to for years. As a result, developers no longer need to include semicolons at the end of each line of code they write. Things like this make routines, in many cases, much more straightforward to follow. If you ever find yourself in brackets-heaven, all you need to do is start up your text editor and type away!

Function calls and method calls in Swift are readable and straightforward. With Swift’s use of standard comma-separated parameter lists within parentheses, syntax and grammar are easier to read, leading to more expressive code.

Apple’s Swift programming language is something to note because the syntax has been made so easy that even anyone with limited coding knowledge can understand it.

Ease of Maintenance

One disadvantage that has hindered the progress of Objective-C is its legacy. A significant gap between C and Objective-C includes controlling which files are included during build time, making the process potentially dangerous if code alterations have been made.

Swift ios development immediately scores over Objective-C by dropping the two-file requirement. Swift 1.2 sports Xcode and the LLVM compiler, which can figure out dependencies and perform automatic incremental builds. This means that the rote task of separating header files from implementation files is no longer a requirement.

In Swift programming, Xcode and the LLVM compiler work behind the scenes to synchronize method names and comments to eliminate redundancy in code. The result is that developers need less time writing boilerplate comment documentation and can instead focus on creating app logic. Maximizing clarity for future developers is essential for any API, but it becomes crucial when creating a more public API with tight coupling between components. By eliminating redundancy in code, Swift effectively improves code quality and the quality of comments and features.

Security

In Objective-C, the behavior of a line of code that attempts to call a method on a nil pointer variable can vary depending on how it is written. Some are more specific than others and result in either no-op, crashes, or unpredictable behavior depending on how it is written.

A nil optional type is evident in Swift. It generates a compiler error that results in a program crash, stopping on the line of code where an operation using the nil variable has occurred. This way, it is easier to tackle and remove bugs since errors are addressed during the coding phase than when they have already affected the runtime. Since fixing bugs at this stage is considerably quicker and cheaper, it would be beneficial for any company to invest in adopting a Swift-based development system.

Memory Management

Both Swift and Objective-C do not suffer from a running garbage collector, unlike other popular languages like Java or C#. They are compiled to native machine code instead of being interpreted at runtime. These two languages have been used for lag-free environments that follow responsive user interface guidelines for Apple Watch or iPhone applications.

In Objective-C, Automatic Reference Counting, also known as ARC, is supported within object-oriented code, which means memory management is automatically taken care of for you. However, before Automatic Reference Count was introduced, reference counting was done by the developer, which required them to provide memory maintenance throughout the app. This increased exposure to potential memory leaks or bugs and, if mishandled, could lead to highly difficult-to-track down problems.

iOS software development with Swift does not require memory leaks, and since ARC protects multiple types of code, it eliminates the need for a mental context switch for the developer. It makes it possible to work on core app logic, new features, and more – instead of thinking about memory management during runtime.

Coding Ease

Swift strings are less time-consuming to create than Objective-C ones. In Swift, string addition is handled with a unique “+” symbol in the place of many Objective-C functions and verbose code.

App development with Swift is more straightforward because it includes the `String. Append` function rather than the need for remembering a list of tokens. With this, you can use variables in strings to insert items in your projects like button titles or labels without worrying about coding them specifically and placing them without causing a crash. This makes developing apps quickly while minimizing bugs that might happen as well

Speed

Swift language has dramatically increased the performance of many programs written using Objective-C. It is undoubtedly very close to the performance of C++ when it comes to algorithmic computation such as Mandlebrot but not exactly on par with it.

Xcode is an integrated development environment that Apple launched along with its developer tools. Xcode provides developers a platform to launch their software, monitor and track the project without having to leave the IDE, and find help via documentation regarding any errors or bugs that may arise should a program not appropriately run at any given time.

Reduced Name Collisions

Objective-C developers have long complained about the filename limitations of Objective-C. C++ used the lack of namespace support to help prevent name collisions which caused runtime errors. A few known workarounds for this issue in Objective-C, but they are all complex and may not always be guaranteed to work. Conventionally Objective-C developers have taken the approach of appending a two or three-letter prefix to their class, variables, and method names not to overwrite a file with an unrelated programmer’s code who also happens to use that same prefix.

Swift is a programming language used to make great product designs. It gives developers of each project the ability to easily reuse their code, rather than having to program more and recreate functions that already exist in other programming languages. This feature helps developers avoid forgetting important things and makes it easier to get tasks done quickly.

In Swift, namespaces assist developers in knowing what part of their project they are working with by separating classes, structs, and declarations with unique identifiers. The namespace identifier toolkit allows developers to seamlessly merge open source projects into the code without worrying about class name collisions occurring.

Dynamic Library Support

Apple has developed Swift to be used as a system language, and this means that it can be compiled into an application. Apple is also making sure that they will support older versions of Swift by making the newer versions work with the older ones.

In Swift programming, apps and libraries are submitted together by developers. They are both digitally certified to ensure integrity, so you can be sure the code you are adding to your app will work with the code already there. This means that Swift evolution has the potential to speed up when compared to Swift evolution of Objective-C, which is a crucial requirement for all languages.

iOS did not support dynamic libraries until Swift was ported over, but Mac has supported them for quite some time. Dynamic libraries are part of the app bundle, and they get installed into the device’s file system in its apps folder, which dramatically reduces the size of the app. The sole purpose is only to load the code needed to run when a specific library is required.

Swift can stop loading tasks during runtime and instead transition to other tasks within the device’s operating system. Since iOS is designed to have just one core in most mobile devices, it opened the door for Apple to use functions like these. This allows users’ devices to run more smoothly, making their experience more efficient.

Advantages of Swift

Advantages of swift

Source: ScienceSoft

If you’re still not convinced as to why you should consider Swift for your next app’s development, here are several more benefits of choosing Apple’s latest programming language:

  • Using static typing, options, & optional chaining Swift is much safer than Objective-C.
  • Swift prefers clear and crisp mutability syntax & functional patterns.
  • Swift has a great interactive development experience because of Playgrounds
  • Swift has a smoother learning curve compared to Objective-C
  • Swift has broad support from the Swift standard library that sports 42.5% code written with Swift.
  • Swift provides instant visual feedback (with Xcode) without running the project on a simulator.

In Summation

Today, when you go to a developer community and ask members if they’d instead choose Objective-C or Swift for their iOS app development needs, you will discover an overwhelming response favoring Swift. It was designed to improve Objective-C, and thus far, it has successfully met all its objectives. However, the choice between the two should only be made strategically. A few questions that you could ask yourself are: 

  • The language is your team most comfortable with?
  • Timeframe before the project commences
  • Scale and scope of your project
  • Budget
  • Future expectations from the project

We at Syndell provide ios app development service, android app development services, and much more. If you are even further pressed for time, you could outsource your iOS development project to an offshore partner like Syndell.