Swift vs Objective C: What to use when?

Swift vs Objective C: What to use when?

Swift and Objective C are two popular programming languages used by many developers for the development of iOS applications. Choosing between them can be difficult because they have advantages, disadvantages, and differences. If you are enthusiastic about developing iOS applications or are interested in developing mobile apps for iOS, you should be able to determine which programming language is best for you.

Swift was developed by Apple in 2014, while Objective C has been around for centuries and has been the preferred choice of iOS developers for many years. Some factors may affect your choice of using these languages for application development. Learn more in the article. 

Considerations when deciding what to use

Once you’ve decided on a programming language, you can create a successful mobile iOS application. The factors mentioned in this section will help you understand and decide which programming language will be better for your mobile application development projects. Here are some points to consider when deciding what to use. It includes the following:

  • Performance
  • Coding speed
  • Community support
  • Stability
  • Safety
  • Time-saving
  • Interoperability
  • Scalability

1. Performance

Performance is an important consideration. If you are looking for a language with high performance, then Swift is the right choice due to its simpler syntax, compile-time type checking, memory management, and scalability. And its highly efficient structures and tools are 2.6 times faster than Objective C. So you can go for it when considering performance as a factor. 

2. Coding speed

Swift is used when developers want to write their code faster. The language has fewer imports and strict rules for writing code, making it the right choice for mobile app development. In contrast, the syntactical complexity of Objective C makes it difficult for developers to write code, which in turn makes the developer’s code slower as a result. 

3. Community support

A programming language’s or development tool’s progress and maturity are largely influenced by its developer community. As far as community support is concerned, Objective C appears to be a better programming language because of its 30-year legacy. 

So by that time, it had grown into a large community of developers and experts who provided free resources and guidance for new and upcoming developers. Because it has been around longer, it is more mature than Swift. There are still some use cases for Swift, but it is growing quickly toward maturity.  

4. Stability

The stability of the programming languages when used across various platforms is another consideration. If you want to use one compatible with all iOS versions and doesn’t require constant changes with every new version, you can use Objective C. This robust nature makes the language more sustainable over time for developers. 

Because Swift is an unstable programming language and does not support backward compatibility, it can only be used with third-party tools and integrations because it will break as soon as the version changes. It is one of the major issues in the language that hinders its growth.  

5. Safety

If the safety of your code is your priority, Swift is a safer programming language that is less prone to errors and can eliminate unsafe codes. Since it is an Apple product known for its safety, it is designed to be much safer than other programming languages. Compared to Objective C, it is faster at compiling and fixing errors while writing the code.

6. Time-saving

When you decide on programming languages, saving time for programming or coding is important. Then Swift should be your choice because it is simpler to learn and program. Writing code in Objective C is time-consuming and requires more programming effort, while in other languages like Swift, it can be done easily because its concise syntax offers better maintainability of the source code.

7. Interoperability

Both languages are interoperable with each other. Both programming languages can be used in the same codebase when creating an iOS application. Objective C is based on the C programming language, which makes it compatible with C, allowing it to take advantage of the extensive C and C++ libraries. Although Swift is not directly compatible with the C language, it can use Objective C to access its libraries. Therefore, you can get better interoperability by using Objective-C.

8. Scalability

Everyone expects the app to be scalable enough that its performance is maintained even in the case of increased workload without the need to redesign the app. When both languages are compared in terms of offering scalability, Swift seems to have the upper hand because dynamic library integration helps to keep the original code base maintainable.

Scaling an Objective C application is challenging due to complex syntax, challenging external library integration, a lack of ARC support throughout the code, and other factors. As a result, it is not good at scaling.

So the article discussed various parameters you can use to decide what to use when in need. As said earlier, Objective C is an older language than Swift, which is a modern programming language. Both of them have their own pros and cons. There are many iOS applications made with these programming languages. 

Even though all these factors are considered, Swift is considered the go to language for many companies globally. The support for backward compatibility is what makes the language more appealing to them. Objective C is more reliable and has been in the industry for a long time, but its lack of backward compatibility results in a diminishing market for the language. According to your development plans, the final decision is always in your hands.

Interesting Links:

What are the differences between Swift and Objective C?

How to create your first App for iOS?

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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