Objective C vs Swift: Which One to Choose iOS Development

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Objective C vs Swift: Which One to Choose iOS Development

Vinay Khatri
Last updated on August 19, 2022

    With the release of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple declared Objective C as the official programming language for iOS (iPhone Operating System) app development. However, in 2014, Apple introduced ‘Swift’ as a new programming language based on Objective C and C for its iOS app development. Today, Apple uses both Swift and Objective C for developing applications for iOS devices. This gives rise to a popular debate, i.e. Objective C vs Swift as many developers often wonder which programming language among them is a better choice.

    This article aims to compare Objective C and Swift to highlight all the key differences between them. But before we start with the comparison, let us have a brief overview of each programming language.

    Objective C vs Swift: Overview

    Here's a quick overview of both programming languages.

    Objective C

    Objective C is an object-oriented & general-purpose programming language, and it is a superset of the C programming language . It was developed by Brad Cox and Tome Love back in 1980, and it is used by NeXT for its NeXTSTEP operating systems. Before Apple introduced Swift, Objective C was the main programming language for developing iOS and macOS apps. With time, Objective C has become obsolete, but still Apple uses Objective C for iOS app development.

    Swift

    Apple Inc. had developed this programming language as a replacement for its veteran programming language Objective C. It is designed for the further development of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. On 2 nd June 2014, Apple announced Swift as its official language for developing apps for all its operating systems. It was originally designed by Chris Lattner, Doug Gregor, John McCall, Ted Kremenek, Joe Groff, and Apple Inc. Soon after the launch of Swift, it started to gain widespread popularity because when compared to Objective C, it is easy to learn and implement. Like Objective C, Swift can also work with Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks.

    Objective C vs Swift: Head to Head Comparison

    Objective C Swift

    Learning Curve

    As compared to Swift, Objective C is quite difficult to learn. Swift is easy to learn as it has a simple syntax.

    Cocoa Framework Support

    Objective C can work with both the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks. Swift was specifically designed to work with the Cocoa touch framework though it can work with the Cocoa framework too

    Interoperability with C++ and C

    • It is interoperable with C++ and C.
    • We can directly access C++ libraries in Objective C.
    • It is not interoperable with C and C++.
    • In Swift, we have no access to the C++ libraries.

    Performance

    Objective C is fast and offers impressive performance. Swift is faster than Objective C.

    Namespaces

    Objective C doesn't support namespaces. This could cause conflict while declaring variable names in various scopes. Swift has complete support for namespaces.

    Code File

    Objective C work on two file requirements, which means that developers have to update and maintain two different files of code. In Swift, developers do not need two different files. They need to update and manage only a single file.

    Compiler

    Objective C compiler works the same as C compiler. Swift uses LLVM (Local Level Virtual Machine), which works faster and smarter than the C compiler.

    Pointer

    Objective C uses a pointer, which increases the complexity of a program. The use of a pointer can give direct access to the data that makes a program unsafe. When it comes to Swift, it does not use a pointer, thus programs created with Swift are simple and safe to use.

    Memory Management

    Objective C is an object-oriented programming language and it is prone to a memory leak which is often seen in OOP languages. Swift has its own APIs to handle memory leaks and provide better memory management.

    Conclusion

    As Objective C  has become obsolete, it does not have a bright future. So, if you want to be an iOS developer, you should choose Swift as your primary programming language. Today, Apple uses Swift on a great scale because of its powerful features, fast performance, and growing community. We hope that you have learned all the important differences between Objective C and Swift that will make it easier for you to choose the right programming language for your journey as an iOS developer.

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    FAQs


    There are many discussions out there regarding the speed of Swift and Objective-C. Apple's official website claims that Swift is 2.6 times faster than Objective-C, while many other studies state that the difference between the speed of both the languages is not as surprising.

    Swift is a programming language for iOS development designed by Apple Inc. as an advancement to Objective-C.

    Swift is more strict when it comes to the data types of variables. It ensures that all the variables have appropriate data types in the source. Also during the compile time, it addresses issues in the source code as much as possible.

    Yes, Swift is safer than Objective-C because it has no buffer overflows, no integer overflow, and no unsafe memory management.

    Swift outperforms Objective-C in many terms. It is safer, easier to learn, and faster. Also, it has excellent memory management and supports dynamic libraries. So, Swift is growing popular day by day as an alternative to Objective-C for iOS development.

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