Swift OR Objective-C – What to choose for iOS beginners?

Swift OR Objective-C

As an iOS beginner, you must be confused about what to choose between Swift or Objective C, after going through the step by step guide explained before. Since you know now the basics of iOS programming, the next step is to begin with the language you are going to work with. There is a reason why Apple came up with Swift in the year 2014. Below is the explanation of everything you need to know.

Advantages of Swift over Objective-C

1) Compatibility – Objective-C is an over 30 year old language that used to deal with the old computers back then. Swift is a new language and is much easier to work with because of the presence of several features that old computer language won’t be able to perform at present. I cannot say that you should entirely skip Objective C because it still cannot be counted as outdated at present. Understanding the basics in case of Swift is easier in case you have to understand fewer lines of code.

Swift is known to be compatible with Xcode, Objective-C, and the Cocoa framework. Due to its versatility, it is going to replace Objective C in the coming future. Objective-C’s strength lies in its compatibility towards the GUI and feature rich frameworks, but it cannot stand in front of recent languages because of slowness in the performance and bulky old-fashioned lines of codes.

2) Fewer lines of code – Remember, after writing so many lines of code, when you used to forget just a semicolon (;) and the list of 50 or so errors would show up in your C language’s compiler? Unless there are multiple statements in a single line, Swift does not require a semicolon each time a programmer writes a single line of code. It hence has easier syntax and so one would not waste his/her time in learning the syntax, but rather focus on just the practical concepts.

3) Security – As a beginner, you would care less about the absence of pointers (like in C and C++ language), but it still is an added advantage, like security concerns and much more. Apple also launched coding environments like Xcode Playgrounds and Swift Playgrounds in order to explore Swift much as you can. This proves that swift engages more with its coders.

Apple claimed that Swift is modern, powerful, and secure. If a programming language is known to be modern then it implies that it is easier to read and write. If you have just started coding, being “modern” and “powerful” would not mean much to you, but security is a major concern for everyone who writes code. It is way more frustrating if an error shows up and you are not able to figure it out yourself about what went wrong. Swift informs the programmer iteratively if a bug shows up and that sounds safer.

advantages of swift

4) Flexibility – Apple always used Cocoa and Cocoa Touch framework for OS X and iOS respectively. The developers are given the flexibility of using both Objective-C and Swift, thereby helping them make mixed-language apps. One can also easily migrate his/her code from Swift to Objective-C. You can migrate your code written in Objective C to Swift as well, but it is not that flexible and easy as compared to the former case.

5) Memory management – Swift also has a better memory management. Memory leaks are common in object-oriented programming and as a result of that, the memory isn’t made available, if urgently required. The Cocoa Touch APIs facilitates ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) to handle this part but the Core Graphics API does not have ARC, thereby causing leaks when an App uses videos or other heavy graphical contents. If the memory isn’t handled properly, the operating system of the device shuts the App down immediately.

Advantages of Objective-C over Swift

Objective-C has been in use since about 10 years and hence it won’t just suddenly vanish for now. It has been the choice since late 1980s and is a de facto language for the iOS developers. Since Swift is recently introduced, the coder still has to use the SDK which was built in Objective-C only. This means that he/she has to interact with those components (also the third party libraries and frameworks previously written by some other team) that are all written in Objective C language.

Why would they come up with a new language, instead of adding the new features to the existing one?

Objective-C has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of its limitations could not be reverted back because of the presence of advantages as well. Apple thus had to come up with a new language that had selected positive functionality without the drawbacks it previously had.

Think it this way – the technological advancement needs to be done to both hardware as well as software. If the hardware is advanced, it obviously cannot handle the old software. Similarly, if the software is latest, it can run only on those devices that are recent. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you try running MS Word 95 on your Windows 8 operating system?

Swift Or Objective-C

Conclusion: The programmer is going to switch between these two languages once in a while to understand every minute aspect. This concludes that you need to have to clear all your concepts in both the languages. You do not require to have detail oriented research and practice in both simultaneously. This will confuse you. Choose one language first then learn another. With time and experience you are going to deliver excellent outputs when it comes to developing and launching full-fledged working Apps.

If you are stuck somewhere in the middle and need to fix your bugs, simply ask in the official forums, where countless experienced programmers interact with each other. They will definitely help you sort things out.


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