Everyone knows that technology, by its very nature, keeps evolving. The products like Windows XP or the first iPhone, which were groundbreaking in their time, are obsolete today. But few people actually realize that such evolution takes place neither instantly nor in vacuum. Instead, it progresses through a gradual process where each of their underlying components transforms one after the other. And no matter how successful and proficient a developer is in the current state, if they fail to adopt to this transformation, chances are they will have little significance in the future.
That is precisely what has been happening in iOS app development in the last three years.
To clearly understand the current trend, we will have to take a short detour to the history. Objective-C was first introduced in 1984, which Apple acquired in 1996 and used it for all active development for its closed ecosystem. Since the language was quite stable and had enough features, it didn’t have many competitors in the domain. It kept flourishing until Android became a phenomenon and overtook Apple in terms of market share.
It was then that Apple Inc. started to feel the heat from its developer community, which led it to release a brand-new language- Swift in 2014, from then, it is to be used for all active developments. In fact, Swift wasn’t exactly “brand-new” and had inherited many of the features from its predecessor, so much so that it is often called “Objective-C without C”.
So, in a sense, the debate of Swift vs. Objective-C is in itself quite misplaced because Swift is by no means is competing against Objective-C, but is here as its successor. In short, it houses every merit of Objective-C and more while leaving out the shortfalls.
Therefore, when you look at the new iOS projects started after 2014, virtually all of them are based on Swift. It is simple-to-learn, can be coded interactively, is more secure and essentially, leaves little reason for developers to go the other way.
However, this doesn’t suggest that Objective-C is dead. As discussed above, it has been the de-facto language for all Apple developments for over a decade and consequently, not only all the applications, but also the libraries are written in Objective-C. Yes, those legacy apps can be converted into Swift, but it would consume much more time and resources than it would take to simply maintain them.
More importantly, if an app needs to have some complex functionalities that will use a myriad of external libraries, developers still prefer to use Objective-C to mitigate compatibility issues.
Perhaps, you have started understanding the picture now. Though Swift holds the future of iOS app development, it still has a long way to go when it comes to achieving the same level of maturity and community support as Objective-C still commands.
Well, at this point in time, the answer to what language you should pick for your next project depends largely upon which type of application are you proposing to build. If it is a fresh idea and you are willing to create all the components, there is no reason to not pick Swift. On the other hand, if you already have an iOS application or are looking to build one that will require many external libraries, you should probably stick with Objective-C at this time.
So, do you now have all your answers? Or are there still some questions you can’t figure out about your next project? Whatever maybe the case, be assured that we have the leading iphone developers in each domain who can fluently handle all your requirements. Now, if you would like to have a word with our iOS experts, drop an inquiry and we will take it from there.
Mrityunjay is a content developer at Konstant Infosolutions- a leading mobile app development firm that caters to enterprises of all scales and industries with cutting-edge tech solutions. Being an engineer by education, a reader by passion, and a writer by profession, he finds no topic truly boring, yet nothing seems to content his craving as well- an essence he leaves in everything he writes.