Quite recently, a noteworthy event took place at Apple wherein a completely new high-speed programming platform made a mark, popularly known as “Swift”. It is an alternative to the coding platform, which has been Objective C for Apple since mid ’90s’. Swift platform launched with an aim to create more robust as well as responsive applications by simplifying the development process.
Has Swift lived up to the name that Apple has created? After four months of debuting, what is the fate of Swift in influencing mobile application development arena? Let us find out.
Responsive applications easier to build
Is it feasible to create an entire application with C or C++? Alternatively, is Java alone enough for building a complete application? The answer in both cases is a big ‘NO’. Why so?
C/C++ native languages are excellent as far as devising algorithms, memory usage, and speed. However, it is extremely difficult to program an application completely in these languages.
On the other hand, Java is useful in building top quality user interfaces, but when compared to lower level languages, it requires more resources and as a result is much sluggish. The reason being Java does not compile or run native code on its own. It requires ‘Java Runtime Environment (JRE)’ for doing this. Hence, things become slower.
This is what makes Swift unique. It encompasses features of both. On one hand, a native language on its own makes it as rapid as C/C++. In fact, it is found that when it comes to testing, Swift is 7 times faster than Objective C and practically, it is found to be 7 times faster than Objective C. On the other hand, just like Java or similar programming platforms, you can easily create superlative user interfaces that are not exactly in case of Android. Android applications need both Objective C and Java as back-end and front end platforms. However, since Swift is an extraordinary combination of speed and usage, it acts as an independent programming platform not requiring anything else.
Have a soothing experience from a cleaner code
With the use of Swift, the syntax has now become more concise and clean. Now you need not to put semicolons in every single line of code. In addition, you need not to insert unnecessary commands here and there, when things defined in a simpler way, as in the case of Swift.
How is it possible? Well check it out for yourself. You need to see it to believe it.
Get errors and bugs eliminated from your code
The two major reasons for the crash of every single application is the presence of undefined or null references. Swift eliminates both these problems by introducing a unique functionality known as “Optionals”. It is quite similar to ‘Guava Library’ of Google having an optional framework of its own. The only difference is that optionals come inbuilt with Swift and is compiler driven so that crashes are not at all possible. It is almost impossible to do coding in Swift using a reference that is undefined or null.
Moreover, you can expect gaps covered between constant and variables in Swift, not seen in case of other languages. Here constants enforce conditions so that there is no change in the object. Swift goes a step further in this when it comes to collections. A constant collection, as in the case of Java, will not let changes in the content with Swift. A single set of consistent rules implemented at the time of compiling in Swift.
Prototyping becomes faster than you can expect
You can see an instantaneous nature of the “Playgrounds” feature in Swift. If we look at the real time simulators such as ‘Groovy Console’, of Groovy language devised in Java, execution of code requires a phase of compilation beforehand. This functionality lets programmers to compile while writing code leading to output in real-time whenever required.
When the code is being written, Playground starts executing side-by-side and displays output in parallel. This type of feature helps programmers to build a new algorithm prototype and compare real time results between algorithms. This also exposes programming issues in real time.
Are there any downsides in Swift?
Not a single programming platform is 100% perfect. So does apply in case of Swift as well. There are two downsides in case of Swift. It is useless when it comes to creating Web, Windows, or Android apps. The other being, Swift only works with iOS 7 or higher versions. However, other than these, there is no other reason not to use Swift.
You must be thinking here about what to do with projects wherein Objective C has been incorporated to the core? Can Swift be integrated in parallel? Alternatively, does the code needs to be rewritten altogether? The good news is Swift can easily integrate with Objective C in one single project itself. Swift has the capability to call the code in Objective C. Vice-Versa Swift code can be called by Objective C. All this is possible by making use of “Bridging Headers”.
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