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Swift vs Objective-C - Which to choose for iOS development?

Swift vs Objective-C – Which to choose for iOS development?

Estimated read time: 5 minutes
Faiza Khalid

Faiza Khalid

CIS engineerDeveloperTech Writer

Interested in a detailed comparison of Swift vs Objective-C for your next iOS app development project? Here, we will compare the two programming languages on the basis of some important parameters. Let’s start.

Swift vs Objective-C

We will discuss which programming language from Swift and Objective-C is better for your next iOS development project on the basis of the following factors:

Development Speed

Performance is a critical factor to keep in mind. It is based on compile-time, memory usage, etc. According to Apple, Swift is 2.5 times faster than Objective-C. Compile-time error fixing and simpler syntax give faster coding and testing experience.

Interoperability

Swift and Objective-C are interoperable with each other. You can have one codebase for an iOS app and have both programming languages in it.

Objective-C is derived from the C language. This makes it interoperable with C, which means it can benefit from extensive libraries of C and C++. Swift code is not directly interoperable with the C language, but it can utilize its libraries through Objective-C.

We can conclude you can get better interoperability by using Objective-C.

Development Environment

You can use XCode IDE to develop iOS and OS X apps in both Objective-C and Swift. XCode provides everything you need to build a performant app from SDKs, APIs, frameworks, and compilers, to pre-build development libraries, etc.

If you use XCode to develop apps in Swift programming language, you get access to the latest development solutions released by Apple. Moreover, you can use Cocoa Touch to develop applications for Apple Watch and Apple TV too.

Syntax

Swift is considered a modern programming language. Apple has specifically worked on it to improve developer experience while coding in it.

Swift language features like automatically inferring variables instead of explicitly defining them as in Objective-C, simple string manipulation, etc. make it easier to use programming language.

The concise syntax also offers better maintainability of the source code. Moreover, developers are also able to learn Swift faster than Objective-C.

Scalability of Swift vs Objective-C

A scalable app ensures that performance is maintained in case of an increased workload without the need to redesign an app.

Swift language offers better scalability. It supports the integration of external libraries when needed. These dynamic library integration helps to keep the original code base size maintainable.

Object-oriented programming conventions, clear and concise syntax, code usability, etc. further help in adding new app features easily.

Objective-C programming language is not this good with scalability. Although it does have object-oriented conventions, complex syntax, difficult external libraries integration, no support of ARC though out the code, etc. makes scaling an Objective-C application difficult.

Memory Use

Some programming languages rely on developers to manually manage the memory through routines like garbage collection, etc. With Swift, you do not have to think about memory usage management. Swift uses Automatic Referencing Counting for this purpose.

Automatic reference counting frees up memory held by class instances when they are no longer needed. It works automatically for both procedural and object-oriented code paths.

On the other hand, Objective-C language only uses ARC for memory management in the Cocoa API. Other important APIs, like Core graphics API, do not use automatic reference counting. Objective-C developers have to cautiously manage memory here.

In case of inaccurate memory management, an app can crash.

Developers Community

A developer community plays a huge role in the progress and maturity of a programming language or a development tool. Developers working in the same language offer each other support required to accomplish tough tasks.

Moreover, if a programing language is open-source, as in the case of Swift, experienced developers can contribute in the form of writing required libraries, extensions, code dependencies, etc. which make coding easier and more effective for the whole community.

Platforms like StackOverflow, Google Trends, etc. show popular interest among developers. According to Google Trends, Swift after its release became the popular search term as compared to Objective-C and is still more popular.

Github repositories hold 17,792 Objective-C projects, as compared to 189,647 Swift projects. This indicates a growing developer community of Swift.

Planning for iOS Development?

Both the languages, Swift and Objective-C, are helping iOS developers to build high-level iOS applications for Apple platforms. However, there are pros and cons to both of them.

A professional team of software developers experienced in application development for the Apple ecosystem can help you decide better which programming language you should choose depending on the needs of your iOS project and current resources.

Read our guide here to see how many people you would need on your project team to build a successful mobile app.

DevTeam.Space can help you here to outsource Swift or Objective-C developers from its field-expert iOS developers community for your iOS app development. Our guide here on converting a website into an iOS app can give you an insight into our development process.

You can write to us your initial project specifications via this form. One of our account managers will get in touch with you to further help in planning the project, onboarding required app developers, managing the development iterations, etc.

FAQs on Swift vs Objective-C

1. Is Objective-C better than Swift?

Objective-C has superior runtime and powerful SDKs, Swift will take some time to catch up with Objective-C.

2. Swift vs Objective-C, which is faster?

According to Apple, Swift is 2.5 times faster than Objective-C.

3. Why is Swift faster than Objective-C?

Swift allows programmers to compile and fix errors while writing the code. This is not possible with Objective-C. Swift supports dynamic libraries, efficient bug testing, and easy syntax that make Swift programming much faster.


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