Is it better to move to Swift or stay with Objective-C?
On 2nd of June, 2014, Apple presented new object oriented programming language – Swift, a replacement for Objective-C which is a conventional programming language for OSX and IOS applications development. It was a smooth move to radically change main development language for a super popular platform.
Since its release users have several questions, whether they still need to learn Objective-C or not. Moreover, it seems like users are still confused if Swift fits the IOS development ecosystem. Every programming language has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here we are going to clear up some of your confusion and set your path to learning.
Type inference is probably one of the major reason why a user prefers to use Swift over Objective-C. It is the handiest feature of Swift. In Swift, most of the time there is no need for writing type annotations. The Swift compiler will work with appropriate types from the value of variables. Because of type inference the size of the code will be reduced.
Swift is also a type-safe language. It performs type checks while compiling the code and makes sure that there are no mismatched types. This is one of the major differences between Swift and Objective-C. Objective-C provides dynamic runtime, which means it decides which method implementation to call first. If the method has not been implemented, then the user gets a chance to redirect the call to another object.
In Swift, the compiler checks all the types, when you call a method, instead of doing a dynamic invocation, the compiler will directly call the implementation. Compared to Objective-C, Swift not only enables us to find the errors but also brings a runtime speed improvement.
Blocks are excessively useful in Objective-C. The developer uses blocks to pass around self-contained functions in code. However, the syntax of blocks in Objective-C is just awful. Even an experienced developer has to use templates while writing blocks.
In Swift, a developer can avoid this and can use closures to pass functions. Closures are similar to blocks, coding style is more clear, elegant, and simplified.
Generics is a new powerful weapon that does not exist in Objective-C. With generics, you could use a placeholder type first and can define the specific later. Since Swift is a strongly typed language and really strict about types, generics provides some essential flexibility.
Swift allows the beginners to not to get tripped over syntax. Writing in Swift flows so nicely. Even a beginner can produce a clean and perfect code with less effort. What is so fun and interesting in Swift is that, it allows the user to use nearly any character for both variable and constraint names. A user can even use emoji character for the naming. A user may wonder that how can he type emoji character in MAC OS. It’s easy, a user has to press Control – Command – Spacebar and an emoji picker will be displayed.
Are you planning to build a heavy duty application or work for an organization that has an application already in the App store? Then you are most likely to learn Objective-C. Because Swift is hardly a year old. All the existing frameworks and applications are almost all built-in Objective-C. If a developer wants to modify existing applications or converting them to Swift, still a developer needs to understand Objective-C code.
For new projects, the scenario is completely different. The developer has the possibility to use Swift right from the scratch. If you take into consideration that Swift is the future of IOS development, it is a very good idea to use Swift for the projects. There are already a lot of projects done in Swift and Swift is ready for real projects. The only potential problem is, there could be the need to migrate the projects to new versions of Swift.
The future of Objective-C is unpredictable. According to the updates from Apple, there is a chance that the same will become significantly popular in five years from now. By then Swift may leave an inerasable mark in the sphere of iOS applications.
As a new programming language, Swift has a clean and clear style. It combines the advantages of Objective-C with the features of modern scripting languages. Most importantly, Swift’s clean syntax and powerful debug tools attract the users to learn iOS programming.
On the other side, almost all the applications are still in Objective-C. It takes some years for Swift to gain its place and importance in iOS applications.
It is a good idea to use Swift whenever a developer wants. However, the effort to migrate existing Objective-C projects to Swift is too high