Should I use Swift or Objective-C to learn iOS App Development?

It is not always easy to decide that whether to use Objective-C or Swift for a project as there are enormous factors that need to be consider every time you start a new project. Discussing over this topic as it is the most common question that most of the iOS app development learners asked.

Should I use Swift or Objective-C to learn iOS App Development?

Choosing a right and the most appropriate language depends on project and team context and preference, allegiance to one programming language. Rather than swaying Objective-C or Swift flag, we are considering all the aspects of a project that points to one language over the other like project scope, scale, team composition and technical considerations.

In the year 2014, Apple released a brand-new programming language Swift that took the entire community by surprise. In the past 2 years, the Swift core team has repeated rapidly, releasing numerous versions of the language much to the community’s delight and shock.

For existing developers, Swift has interesting implications and it has also introduced a bit of complexity for newcomers looking to learn iOS development. It is a good option for all the developers, who already know Mac or iOS development and want to learn – and help shape – a new language.

However, there are numerous developers, who just wanted to experiment, don’t want to get an iOS developer job and don’t mind dealing with extra bugs while they are learning as maybe they are interested in learning it also.

Why You Should Learn Swift?

To clear out the basic of programming, Swift is a lot easier language to work with whereas Objective-C is over 30-years old and written at a time when different considerations had to be made regarding how we interacted with computers.

All these factors are highly important to know and comprehend today as these can make learning the basics of programming daunting. Moreover, the basics of programming is a lot simpler to comprehend with Swift than the Objective-C. Let’s have a look at the different reasons why you should learn Swift?

Safe

At the time of launching Swift, Apple claimed that it’s safe, modern, and powerful whereas modernism and power of a programming language mean little to an absolute beginner and safety is mainly important.

The most difficult thing is not knowing what went wrong when learning how to program. Well, there are numerous benefits from figuring that out from yourself and learning from it; however, the lack of proper feedbacks can put some off.

Using Swift, you can prevent a whole category of mistakes or errors from arising and inform us iteratively of what we’re doing wrong. In addition to this, Swift is a lot safer and it will advantage you by making your code writing experience less frustrating.

Highly Interactive Environment

Apart from the Swift, Apple also release two most interactive coding environments, helping beginners to learn how to code. There’s Xcode Playgrounds that is an environment to help all the beginners learn how to code.

There’s Xcode Playgrounds that is environment and part of a Mac app called Xcode and enables you to learn and explore Swift, prototype parts of your app and develop learning environments for others.

You can also find an iPad app called Swift Playgrounds, which gives the same interactive environment as Xcode Playgrounds, but in a much more investigative fashion, which allows you to make use of your iPad’s hardware.

The best thing about Swift is that it is far more engaging than any other and it delivers instant feedback, making the whole concept easy to learn. This type of environment is not cool to Swift, but Apple’s doing some wonderful things with the iPad app, making learning for all the beginners easy.

Modern

Swift is the highly modern language that comes with rich aspects, allowing beginners to easily read and write than Objective-C. On the web, you can see it written and it doesn’t matter as everything is a lot simpler to comprehend once you have had enough experience with it.

It is not easily possible to figure out the concepts without getting tripped up reading code. You will not have your programs crash as you forgot a semicolon at the end of the line.

These are minor things once you get used to it; however, they certainly are beneficial that Swift brings to the table for beginners. Swift is a highly modern and it will lower the fence to entry for many people, making it a lot simple to focus on concepts.

In short, learning and comprehending the basics of programming that is the first step in your journey to learn iPhone development. The modernism and safety that provided by the languages all contribute to lowering the barrier to entry.

Why to Learn Objective-C?

Gradually, the answer will change as the years go by and Swift makes more in-roads in the community; however, there’s just one thing to know about Objective-C as it’s been the de facto language for iOS development for around 10 years. Moreover, if you want to become a MacOS developer, Objective-C has been the first choice since the 80s.

In short, everything in the iOS SDK has been developed in Objective-C and it works excellently with the Objective-C programming model. Though you are writing code in Swift, you will be interacting with components all written in Objective-C. Third-party libraries and frameworks are mainly in Objective-C since Objective-C has been around much longer.

Moreover, the devastating majority of learning resources like blog posts, books, conference videos and more, are all in Objective-C; therefore, if you turn the Internet for help for some mysterious issue, there are high chances to be reading Objective-C code. The Swift community is keen one and there are numerous resources in Swift, so do not feel like you will have a difficulty for help.

If you have decided to be a serious iOS developer, it is important to read and write Objective-C code also. The main reason behind this is that if you get a job as an iOS developer or receive an older project, all the code will be written in Objective-C.

However, the tools we are using for iOS development are not optimized for Swift and it’s getting there, but these tools are far better with Objective-C. For the most company’s, Objective-C is remains the development language of choice.

Is It Necessary to Learn Both Languages?

Apple, a leading company, didn’t release a brand-new language just for the fun. The company has released this new language by the core team and the effort at boosting the adopting in the community and deliver a clear indication.

The company sees this high-end language as future of its platforms. The main goal of the Swift language is to extend beyond iOS development and work well with underway for server-side Swift.

If you have decided to be a part of this community for the long run, Swift becomes your main development language. Regardless of Swift adoption, Objective-C is still not going anywhere. The company is still trying to make many enhancements in the language.

It is possible to write applications completely in Swift; however, there is a high chance that you will need to dip into Objective-C occasionally. Make sure to be aware as you are coming to this as a beginner, which is the quite difficult part of iOS development. Once you become familiar with one programming language, it will not be difficult for you to learn another one.

While Choosing Between Objective-C and Swift, Look for Technical Considerations

Both the languages Objective-C and Swift has landed themselves to varied technical benefits. Below, you can find the factors that you should consider in mind.

Language Runtime

Do you know that the Objective-C runtime is more robust than the Swift runtime? The runtime of Swift is even close to Objective-C’s runtime and it will not be possible for years even. If you have decided to write code that will benefit from reflection and deep introspection of objects and types, Objective-C is a no-brainer.

Code Steadiness

Swift is more safe programming language than Objective-C because of its strong typing system and error handling. If you are following idiomatic Swift, you are guaranteed that your code accounts for all potential error cases.

It doesn’t mean that it catches everything. A memory escape from a retain cycle is one example of an error, which is equally prevalent in Swift code as Objective-C. It is because Swift’s involuntary reference counting system is unmoved.

Tooling Support

The whole team of Xcode has performed an incredible job upgrading the build process to support Swift. The team have had to deal with applying a complex language and supporting it working with a very different language. Comes with the little surprise that the IDE itself lags and the tooling support for Swift is least.

Sometimes, you can be lucky to get Syntax highlighting. Many a time, you will go without autocomplete. If you are one of those, who likes the robust support delivered by modern IDEs, you make sure to consider sticking with Objective-C or evaluate alternative IDEs. The most common alternative is AppCode; however, there is someone, who has a right setup for emacs.

Working with Foundation APIs

The application that you have planned to make will use main foundation APIs, you should go with Objective-C. It is true that Swift delivers some wonderful wrappers and makes the memory management little smoother; however, these are still C APIs and C-based function calls that will fit more naturally into Objective-C codebase.

Make Use of C++ Code

Alike foundation APIs, you can make use of C++ libraries or developing on top of a cross-platform C++ SDK as it will lend itself to an Objective-C project. You will not be able to import C++ into Swift files.

To make use of Swift, you need to go through the tedious and bug-ridden task of making Objective C and C++ wrapper classes. Every single time, you will require linking and extra overhead and want to use another part of a C++ library. Objective-C is a right option if you are going to use C++.

Future-proofing

Do you know that the most future-proof projects are ones written in Swift? The usage of Swift has been expanded to being utilized for third open source Cocoa projects. In the upcoming four years, it will be equal to Objective-C. Moreover, most of all new tutorials and blogs are being written in Swift already.

We strictly believe that within 5 to 10 years, there should be sufficient information on Swift to refute the requirement to comprehend Objective-C. You will get enough time to convert your code before Objective-C goes away; therefore, you can keep this for thought.

Concluding

So, these are the most common factors that developers need to consider when deciding between Objective-C and Swift for iOS app development. There are chances that your project may comprise additional considerations, which are not normally faced by bulk of apps. However, if you are looking for an experienced iOS developer, who has proficiency in both Objective-C and Swift, you can get in touch with iPhone app development company.

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