Here is why Swift is the ultimate future of iOS apps. When Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, announced its launch in 2014, he mentioned that it would be “the next big programming language” and that iOS app developers would only be using Swift for building apps in the next 20 years. By witnessing the popularity Swift gains with each passing year among app development companies, it seems Tim Cook was right in his claims.
The primary reason for the eventual switch being Swift makes it easy for entrepreneurs to transform their innovative ideas into incredible mobile applications for Apple phones. The language has become a dynamic name that instills agile development methodology for developing iOS applications and getting things done in more straightforward steps for the customer’s benefit.
Swift Language: The Change in the Norm
Objective-C was one of the primary languages used for iOS and OSX app development for a long time. This language is a superset of the C language but comes with a dynamic runtime and additional object-oriented features. Objective-C is an object-oriented language; instead of getting a list of instructions, the computer uses objects to do the action the user requires. Other users or parts of the program can reuse object-oriented codes.
But using Objective-C for app development was pretty tough. Objective-C is a very different language in its syntax. It’s so different that most people don’t look at it long enough to realize that the language’s semantics are almost identical to C++, Java, or others. In contrast, Python does not have the dot syntax, making it seem easy to code in, while learning Objective-C is not that hard for those having a background in C++.
The shift in the norm happened when a language came out that took way less memory than Objective-C did, forcing developers to code entirely in Swift or use a hybrid method.
Why Choose Swift?
The young language is popular because it can quickly terminate all risky code classes and assures the development of a secure and protected environment to create a stable solution. Here are some more reasons why developers are choosing this language:
- Rapid, Safe, and Prevailing
- Collaborative and interactive playgrounds
- Leverages the power of open source
- Cutting edge error handling model
- One code will run on both iOS and Android platforms, and thus, it saves time.
- Functionalities issues as it needs a native app developer to solve problems, so it requires additional costs
Features of Swift Language
Quick and Powerful
Swift programming language has been made fast using the LLVM compiler, offering high performance. It is the succeeding language of C and Objective-C, for which it is coupled with low-level primitives like types, operators, object-oriented features, or flow control. All of these help the developers to get the performance desired.
Simplicity of Syntax
While the critical objective of developers with loads of projects in line is to get a highly approachable and feature-rich language to make things easier, the Swift code is a major plus for them as it is incredibly brief. Also, lesser code means better readability and lesser vulnerability to errors.
Using Swift provides you with the interoperability of Objective-C. You are empowered to build new apps using Swift code, incorporating out-of-the-box features and intuitive functions. Being a lightweight and compact programming language with less coding, it is not cumbersome and is easy to adopt, even for novice developers.
Support for Dynamic Libraries
There is dynamic libraries support in Swift, unlike Objective-C. In other words, this reduces the complexities in development and trims down the size of the app, accelerating the speed of downloading on mobile devices.
Used in Linux Environments
Swift comes with the full capabilities needed for developing cross-platform apps, i.e. apps based on iOS and Linux. Rarely found in other programming languages, it can be used in Linux environments.
Swift Interactive Playgrounds
Swift’s Playgrounds are a benefit to professional developers. It allows programmers to test new graphics or algorithm routines without building an entire iPhone app.
Apple has added inline code execution to playgrounds that will help programmers write an algorithm or create many codes while getting feedback. This feedback loop can ultimately boost the speed at which the code can be written.
The reduced coding in Swift is primarily due to its support for higher-order functions. It has many unusual features in any other programming language, such as nested and anonymous functions, idioms, and closures. These help in creating simple expressions in just a short line. Furthermore, Swift also decreases the amount of code used for creating repetitive statements or manipulating strings.
The Cons of Swift Programming Language
While there seem to be many reasons to love Swift, the language is still far from perfect. Many developers and business owners are overly cautious when switching to a new language. There are several reasons for that.
- The language is still relatively young: Swift was introduced to the world in 2014, which seems to be long ago, but the language is only 7 years old, compared to Objective C, live since the 1980s.
- Limited talent pool: According to the latest StackOverflow Developer Survey, only 5.1 percent of the 83,053 respondents use Swift. If you decide to create your next project using Swift, you might struggle finding experienced developers.
- Poor interoperability with third-party tools and IDEs: The official Apple IDE, XCode, lags in terms of tooling and support for Swift. Developers often report issues with syntax highlighting, autocomplete, refactoring tools, and compilers.
- Incomplete cross-platform support: Swift supports all Apple platforms, including Linux and Windows. However, it was initially created and still works best for native iOS development, leaving the cross-platform market to React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter.
- Lack of support for earlier iOS versions: You can only use Swift in the apps that target iOS7 and later.
Considering the numerous benefits of Swift for iOS, along with the speed of compilation, executable assembly, incredibly simple semantics, and syntax, it is no wonder that Swift is considered one of the best and most prominent programming languages today.
In a previous blog, we covered similar pros and cons of using Flutter for iOS development. If you are interested, you can read about it further here.