With more than 1 billion Apple devices in use as of January 2016, iOS naturally assumes the position of the world’s second most popular mobile platform. If we look at some select regions geographically, such as USA, UK, and France, Apple devices continue to outperform Android in Smartphone sales numbers. If any percent of your business is online, it makes sense to focus on the iOS platform. It offers key investment opportunity and strategic benefit. If you don’t have a plan for an iOS app for your business, you risk losing some market share to your competitors operating through the iOS market.
If you are a savvy business owner, following the Custom software development company path should be your obvious decision. Probably the next most important decision for you is to choose the right tech stack for your product. Regardless of whether you decide native development or cross-platform solutions, you will still have to decide the language. You can either go with the good old Objective-C or brand-new Swift. Depending on the choice you make, you will have to either hire Swift developer or Objective-C developer for your Custom App Development.
Since the inception of the IOS app, developers have been using Objective-C as a means to develop their iOS apps. But things have changed since the introduction of Swift by Apple. Stack Overflow is a highly popular programming Q&A site. According to stats, there are over 15k StackOverflow users following Swift. There are also over 69k Swift-related questions asked on the StackOverflow website.
Objective-C has been the primary programming language for creating OSX and iOS applications for a long time. Even though Swift is fast, safe, modern, and also enables a level of interactivity in development, one would still wonder what brought a sudden change in favor of Swift. The secret lies in the difference of approach towards mobile app development.
Swift completely changes the concept of mobile app development. Besides the number of features such as closures, generics, and type inference, that makes it easy to use; it simplifies common patterns used in Objective-C. Without getting much into the technicalities of things, here are few selected advantages of swift development.
If you are already familiar with Swift iOS development, you know that Swift is highly readable compared to Objective C. The simple syntax of this language makes code reading and writing easier. Therefore the number of code strings required to implement an option in Swift is much lesser than Objective-C. The availability of inferred types makes it possible to avoid minor mistakes and also uphold the clarity of code. Swift development obviates the need to use semicolons, thereby contributing to better memory management.
Objective-C as an iOS development language has always been plagued with issues that are common to language built on C. Fortunately Swift has no such issue. It’s because Swift is not a strict subset of C. Interestingly code written in Swift resembles much to that of natural English language. This makes it much easier for a new programmer to learn and master swift ios development quickly. Swift is an open source project. This means anyone is free to contribute to further language development if they desire so.
Custom App Development in Swift requires you to write lesser lines of codes compared to Objective-C. You can implement the number of repetitive statements and string manipulations with less code. One of the biggest challenges that iOS developers have often faced is issues related to mess up orders or wrong string tokens leading to app crashes.
Swift inherently eliminates these issues by incorporating built-in inline support intended to manipulate text strings and data. There is also one minor improvement that you will not find the division into interface and implementation anymore. This is a welcoming step that dramatically cuts down the number of files in a project and allows you to navigate more easily through the project.
Swift has done away with the legacy conventions. Developers no more have to insert semicolons at the end of each line or parenthesis in case of conditional expressions, or when they are working with nested method calls. Not just that, Swift has also made it easier for developers to combine two or more strings with a ‘+’ operator.
Not only this has simplified the development code but it has also led to the reduction of overall code length. The best example to describe the true potential of Swift is the Lyft app. It is rewritten in Swift from scratch. As a result, the app code narrowed down from 75, 000 lines to 25, 000. This was all achieved without compromising on the performance factor. It also implies that the 2/3rd efforts of the hired iOS app developers were saved.
Since the launch of Swift in 2014, Apple has continued to improve the Swift language performance including the speed of running app logic. Several independent tests suggest, Swift performance to be the same as C++ in terms of algorithms as FFT or Mandelbrot. Still, you should bear in mind that Swift is a young programming language. Which means, in the coming days ahead, its performance will definitely get even better.
Swift was designed with safety perspective in mind. For instance, Objective-C can call a method containing a nil pointer variable. This will make the expression a no-operation and could lead to the app working improperly. But this is not the case with Swift because it has the ability to produce a compiler error every time it faces bad code. This is possible because of optional types making clear nil optional values. This greatly reduces the time spent on bug fixing. Swift also has a strong typing system and error handling that prevents coders from making minor mistakes.
Objective-C cannot roll out any new strategies and functions until C starts to supports them. That’s because C programming language backs Objective-C. Due to this Objective-C developers have to maintain two code files to enhance the build time and code efficiency. The requirement to maintain two different files manually distracts the iOS app developers from the bigger picture. There is no such requirement with Swift.
Since Swift language has done away with the requirement of the two-file maintenance process. The development language combines the Objective-C header (.h) files and implementation files (.m) into a single code file (.swift). This significantly cuts down the efforts and time required in the repetitive task of maintaining two different code files. The developers can also focus more on the app logic part. In nutshell, Swift helps the app developers to bring out more innovative apps.
The biggest noticeable improvement in case of Swift iOS app development language is the shift from static to dynamic libraries. In case you are not familiar with what dynamic libraries means - these are set of executable code linked with an existing Swift app. It makes it easier to adopt newer versions of the Swift language. Dynamic libraries can be replaced with their newer versions from time to time by linking it to existing Swift app.
Moving from Static libraries to Dynamic libraries, developers now can develop an app with lesser size in the beginning. Later they can add more features to its overtime time. All the external code will run only when they are needed. This minimizes the initial wait time until the resource is displayed on a device screen. This also means that applications can now use the most up-to-date versions of Swift. Moreover, now the language itself is able to develop far faster than the iOS platform, which is incredible.
In Objective-C language, ARC is supported inside of the object-oriented code and Cocoa API. However, it’s not possible to access C code and APIs as Core Graphics. Swift, on the other hand, is more unified. As a result, there is no scope for extensive leaks of memory when iOS development by means of Swift. But be advised that the retain cycle memory leaks prevail in Swift also. This way, Swift offers better memory management. Swift coders don’t have to worry about the memory for each digital object anymore.
Swift has a promising future for both the iphone app developers and business owners. Though Objective-C is not going to extinct any time soon, you may not see any major update from Apple. At least not something that will make you jump out of your seat. Even though Swift is still in its budding stage, it has started to enjoy an amazing support base.
This support is from both the ends, i.e. from the open source development community and the support from the Apple Company. In terms of improvement and development, Swift is open-source, which means Apple can easily get feedback from the community. Working on these feedbacks, Apple will improve Swift making it a bigger success.