Swift vs Objective C: Best iOS Development Language

swift vs objective-c

Any iOS app development project initiates with a significant decision: picking the precise programming language. So, when it comes to seamless iOS application development, there are two best choices – Swift and Objective C.

This blog describes the two development languages and discusses other critical insights to guide you in selecting the right option.

What is Swift: A Quick Brief

Apple developed Swift and debuted it at the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference. It is a separate language created for the exclusive purpose of creating apps for Apple’s OSes. The language has undergone constant development and improvement since its inception. Swift 5.8 was the most current stable release, arriving on March 30, 2023.

What are the top features and unique functionalities of Swift?

Here are the top features and unique functionalities of Swift:

1. System for the automatic management of memory:

Swift’s Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) functionality eliminates the need for programmers to worry about how much memory their projects use.

2. Learning Swift is a breeze:

Swift’s characteristics make it one of the simplest programming languages to pick up, even for those who have never written code. A Swift playground is available for self-directed learning for novices.

3. Simplified syntax for code:

Swift’s terse syntax lets programmers do more with less code. Repeated statements and string manipulation need fewer lines of code because of this.

4. Swift means quick:

Swift’s optimised compiler results in speedier code across the board and frees you from the worry and hassle of keeping track of your finances.

What are the Gains and Drawbacks of Swift?

Let us explore the key Swift benefits and drawbacks.

Gains of Swift:

1. Swift moves fast:

Swift is two times quicker than Objective-C due to its straightforward syntax. Swift contains new features that make coding faster and smoother than Objective-C.

2. Enables automatic reference counting:

Programmers can avoid wasting time by controlling an application’s memory utilisation with the ARC functionality.

3. Swift codes are simple to read and write:

Swift algorithms, like Java, JavaScript, and other C languages, are straightforward to read and write. Swift is a contemporary programming language with a simple syntax.

4. Swift is an open-source community:

Open-source communities establish projects and exchange ideas on their shared interest. A public open-source Swift community offers fresh ideas.

5. Swift has playgrounds:

You may use Swift’s interactive playgrounds app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to learn the algorithm and codes. Even beginners may learn Swift faster with these playgrounds.

6. Swift provides safety and accuracy:

Swift avoids hazardous code classes by design. Its compiler reduces app runtime crashes and makes code authoring safer.

Drawbacks of Leveraging Swift 

Let us discuss some disadvantages of using Swift.

1. Swift is relatively a new language:

Swift is a very recent programming language, having emerged in 2014 in contrast to Objective C, which dates back to the 1980s. Because of its novelty and rapid iteration, the Swift programming language cannot be backwards-compatible with older iOS releases.

2. Problems with backward compatibility:

Regarding software, “backward compatibility” is a feature that ensures current upgrades are compatible with legacy hardware and data structures. Due to its dynamic nature, Swift is constantly changing, rendering it incompatible with previous iOS releases. 

Swift only works with projects that target iOS 7 and macOS 10.9 and later, forcing developers who need to support previous platforms to stick with Objective-C.

What is Objective C: A Quick Brief

Objective C is a deep-rooted programming language that was crafted in the early 1980s. However, it was launched later to the public in 1988.

Is Objective-C better than Swift? Apple’s developer tools began using Objective-C when it eclipsed NeXT in 1996. These resources eventually found their way into Xcode. That’s when Apple first started using Objective-C in creating Mac OS X. Because of this, everyone who wanted to write an app for OS X or iOS turned to Objective-C.

What are the top features and unique functionalities of Objective C?

Here are the top features and unique functionalities of Objective C.

1. Hide data:

The Objective-C programming language hides data, preventing unauthorized access. Data masking protects against programme modifications and restricts data access.

2. Encapsulation:

Programmers may easily restrict other users from accessing object variable state values with Objective-C’s encapsulation feature. This Objective-C feature simplifies hiding data, adapting to changing requirements and setting variables as write-only or read.

3. Inheritance:

You can build classes while using an existing one in Objective-C. The inheritance feature of Objective-C enables you to do that. Inheritance enables to reuse code and independently extend the original program using available classes and interfaces. It also helps in modifying it while maintaining needed functionalities.

4. Fast programming:

Every software developer wants to code without waiting for the programming language or software. As Objective-C’s architecture makes programming faster and more efficient, you may achieve this desire.

5. Polymorphism:

Objective-C polymorphism lets users access distinct objects using the same interface. The polymorphism feature is static or dynamic.

What are the Gains and Drawbacks of Objective C?

Gains of Objective-C

Objective-C programming provides several advantages. Some are:

1. Easy and effective:

Learning Objective-C’s basic grammar is simple. Objective-C is simple to learn and helps programmers repair or create new apps. Objective-C is a popular programming language for beginners.

2. Lots of tools:

Due to its 30-year history, Objective-C includes several tools. NeXT, third-party contributors, and Apple supply Xcode and Cocoa. These features help Apple’s operating system work smoothly and make developers more comfortable.

3. Just almost any iOS version:

Objective-C works with almost all iOS versions, unlike Swift, which only works with modern iOS. Due to its extensive history and use in many Apple apps, it is compatible.

4. The ability to extend:

Programming with Objective-C is fast and easy. Thus, programmers may add new features to existing software with minimum changes.

5. Function-packed libraries:

Objective-C designers included various libraries with built-in capabilities to simplify development. Programmers can also add user-designed functionality to the library.

Drawbacks of using Objective-C

Objective-C has some significant drawbacks.

1. Time-consuming:

Objective-C is slower to code in than more recent languages like Swift. Objective-C code creation and debugging can raise software development expenses and delay delivery deadlines.

2. Syntax is difficult and effort-consuming:

Writing in Objective-C is more challenging and time-consuming than in other programming languages like Swift, which has a grammar similar to everyday modern English.

Quick Comparison Table between Swift and Objective C

Check out the top swift programming vs. objective c comparison table below. –

swift vs objective-c

Swift vs Objective-C: Significant Differences 

Here is some significant difference between objective-c and swift

MetricObjective-CSwift
File structure of a class declaration.Separation between the interface and the implementation. The former exists in the source code’s header file (Filename. h), whereas the latter is in the “.m” file. Although both can technically coexist in the same file, this is the norm.Both the interface and the implementation are located in the same file.
TypingDynamic typing for most things (like types or dispatching), with some static typing for convenience.Having type checks performed during compilation (or “static typing”).
MutabilityThere are no constants in properties (but you can specify them as such). All objects are changeable by design. Using the class name NSString ensures immutability, but NS MutableString provides mutability in base classes like String.Using var or let, you may limit or allow changes.
BooleansYou can use either capital BOOL or lowercase bool to denote a true or false boolean value, YES or NO. You should use those same conventions if the project combines BOOL, YES, and NO.Bool is the declared type, whereas true and false values are displayed.
Statement terminatorA comma or semicolon Each sentence (and typically each line) must conclude with the terminator.With Swift, there is no need for such a thing.

Swift vs Objective-C: – Difference in Performance Levels

Why use Objective-C over Swift? Speed is one of the most important metrics when contrasting two programming languages. Compile time, memory use, and other aspects are all considered while evaluating performance.

Apple’s website shows Swift may be up to 2.6 times quicker than Objective-C. There is some deeper meaning behind the choice of the name “Swift” for this language. Swift’s easier syntax and compile-time type verification contribute to its high speed. Its memory management and scalability are the primary contributors to its improved performance. Here, discusses swift vs objective-c performance.

1. The Memory Usage

Swift controls memory use through ARC. Unlike languages that require garbage collection, memory management is automatic. Swift “just works.” for memory management. ARC frees memory when a class instance is no longer referenced. Swift supports ARC in procedural and object-oriented programming.

Objective-C employs ARC for memory management like C. However, unlike Swift, it only supports ARC inside Apple’s Cocoa API (its native desktop API). ARC doesn’t support Core Graphics and other common Objective-C APIs. You’ll need to manually manage memory, which might create large memory leaks and crash your program.

2. Scalability

A scalable software can withstand a large user base growth without major architecture modifications.

Many Swift features simplify scaling up or out. The compact syntax, code reusability, and object-oriented ideas make designing and adding new features to your program easy.

Dynamic libraries boost Swift’s performance and scalability. This capability may dynamically load external libraries to minimise app size and load time. We will further explain swift vs objective-c syntax.

Objective-C supports object-oriented programming, although its scalability is limited. Scaling Objective-C software is difficult due to its complicated syntax, costly external library inclusion, and lack of ARC support for APIs other than Cocoa.

Apple is undoubtedly working hard to improve Swift’s performance as a new language. No Objective-C update is likely. Swift dominates speed for the reasons above.

When to Pick Swift vs Objective-C?

When developing iOS apps, Swift is almost always preferable to Objective-C. Swift is used to create the vast majority of new iOS apps. Apps like LinkedIn, Lyft, Khan Academy, Airbnb, Eventbrite, Sky Guide, Wikipedia, Coursera, Slack, and VSCO all run on Swift, attesting to the language’s maturity and production readiness.

When picking Swift or objective-c for iOS development, nonetheless, Objective C is useful in at least two situations:

  • Sticking with Objective-C: Using Objective-C is preferable to Swift if you frequently use third-party frameworks written in C or C++. Swift requires the creation of a separate wrapper, which is typically more troublesome than sticking with Objective-C.
  • Leveraging Swift: You should utilize Swift code if starting from scratch with an app design and don’t have to worry about any of the development restrictions.
  • Picking both in a Single Project: Maintaining or adding a few features to an already huge Objective-C codebase may be easier in that language. Although it is possible to utilise both objective-c vs swift in 2023 in a single project due to the languages’ interoperability, it might make app maintenance more difficult. There may be special circumstances when you require a developer fluent in two languages, for instance. Another factor that reduces a developer’s efficiency when working in many languages is moving back and forth between them.

Conclusion

According to continuing discussions in the developer community, Swift is ideal for advanced and lightweight programs. So, is it better to learn Swift or Objective-C? 

To get started on developing an app, you’ll need to hire an iOS developer and select the platform you want to build it on.

There may be initial friction between Swift and large projects with existing, sizable Objective-C codebases. Now that Swift has matured and has ironed out many of its early issues, it is the best language for creating iOS apps.

So, be it iOS, Android, or Web app development, we at iCoderz Solutions can help you with proficient Objective C apps and Swift application development services. Both our teams are highly skilled in developing optimum and professional apps.

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