When Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, announced Swift in 2014, he mentioned that it will be “the next big programming language”, and that iOS app developers will only be using Swift for building apps in the next 20 years.
Turns out, Tim was right.
Today, Swift programming language is not only a success story that Tim said it would, but it’s also going to be the future for iOS app developers.
In fact, Swift has already captured the majority of the market since its arrival.
But, if you’re an iOS app developer who still thinks otherwise, we’re going to change your mind.
In this post, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about Swift and why Swift is the future for iOS app developers.
Swift – An Introduction
Swift is a pro-developer programming language that was developed to be friendly for beginners.
In fact, Swift as a programming language is even considered as very close to the English language as it’s easy to understand and code.
Besides this, Swift is also an instinctive and authoritative programming language you can use to develop apps for all Apple products.
It was basically designed and launched in the market to replace Objective-C that has been in existence since 1984.
Swift is also very easy to maintain as Xcode(IDE) automagically senses code errors in real-time. And the main advantage of Swift for an iOS developer is that it’s an open-source language.
And the best part is, using Swift you can build apps for iPhones and iOS, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, which are basically all Apple products.
History of Swift
A Swift development team started working on Swift in 2010 before Apple publicly launched it in 2014 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Several indie developers and start-ups quickly joined the bandwagon to experiment with Swift’s features, like reduced crashes and brief syntax.
Swift was built to be a clear, short language that was both powerful and easy to understand. However, to many people, it seems as a natural evolution of Objective-C.
- Swift’s first version was 1.0 which experienced a major upgrade to Swift 2 at WWDC 2015.
- Swift’s updated version 2.2 was made available as an open-source software under the Apache License 2.0 on December 3, 2015, for Apple’s platforms and Linux.
- Swift 3.0, the third version, also went through a major evolution where its syntax was changed. Swift overcame the fame of Objective C in the first quarter of 2018.
- Later, Swift again went through numerous changes in the Swift 4.0 version where you can update the code written with previous versions of Swift using the migration functionality built into Xcode.
The bottom line is, Swift has quickly grown into becoming a powerful and highly preferred iOS programming language today.
But, if you’re still not convinced, let’s look at the key features of Swift programming language and understand why it’s better than Objective C in every aspect.
Top Features of Swift Programming Language
Swift application development was done by the Swift.org, a site which is dedicated to the open-source Swift community. It is made with source code, a bug tracker, mailing lists, and normal development lists.
Swift.org also provides a Linux version of Swift, along with a specific Linux toolset that contains package manager support, the LLDB debugger, and the REPL. With Swift, you can build apps for iOS, OS X, tvOS, and watchOS. Although, it only runs on a Mac.
In other words, Swift makes application development safer and faster while making programming more enjoyable.
Advancement in Syntax
With Swift’s new syntax features, you can now write more expressive code. The SDKs have used new Objective-C features such as null-ability and generics explanations to make code safer and cleaner.
Swift’s Playgrounds are a benefit to professional developers. It allows programmers to test out new graphics or algorithm routine, without having to build an entire iPhone app.
Apple has also added inline code execution to playgrounds that will help the programmers to write an algorithm or create a large number of codes while getting feedback along the way. This feedback loop can ultimately boost the speed at which the code can be written.
Playgrounds can also contain comments that use bullet lists in addition to embedded images and links.
Swift removes entire groups of unsafe code. For instance, Integers are checked for overflow, variables are always initialized before used, and memory is handled automatically.
Another plus point of Swift is that the Swift objects can never be zero, meaning it can produce a compiler error, as soon as you write bad code.
In other words, problems can be fixed as code is written, which will decrease your time and money that you will spend on fixing errors.
Lastly, it triggers a runtime crash if a NIL optional variable has been used which will help to evade the bug or to fix it sooner entirely in Swift code.
Fast and Powerful
Swift has significantly improved by dropping legacy C conventions. It uses the extremely high-performance LLVM compiler to transform Swift code into an optimized native code.
Swift has made Object categorization considerably quicker and faster than Python. In fact, it provides developers with important object-oriented features such as classes, protocols, and generics, which ultimately gives the Cocoa as well as the Cocoa Touch developers the authority and performance they need.
Swift’s complete compatibility with Objective-C, allows you to make a project that involves files written in either language. You can build up apps that have a mixed-language codebase.
Also, you can implement elements of your app’s functionality by using Swift’s latest features and add it effortlessly back into your existing Objective-C codebase.
Benefits of Swift Programming Language
Let’s learn some ways that how swift programming language is beneficial.
It lessens Development Time
Experienced developers appreciate a programming language that they can read without any complexity. Swift provides this because it comes with a clean syntax, which makes the process of reading, writing, and modifying a lot simpler.
It also requires fewer code lines to execute an option. The reason for this is that it gets rid of legacy conversions. Experts agree that it comes close to resembling plain English making the entire methods more natural.
This results in saving both time and money, which makes the app development process more fun.
Below is an example of a simple syntax using the “For-In” process with Swift.
With this programming language, you do not need to add any semicolons at the end of parenthesis when working with uncertain statements. It helps to remove different types of mistakes that would crop up especially using Objective-C.
Swift is Low-Maintenance
Developing an app and launching it to users is not the end of the journey. You have to keep updating it so that users can enjoy it for the longest possible time.
While using Objective C, developers had to sustain two code files if they wanted to improve the efficiency of the code. But, it is now a thing of the past with Swift because it combines (.m) and. (h) files into a single (.swift) file.
It Is Built for Safety
Safety is the number one concern for anyone looking to come up with an app. And the best part is you will not have to deal with any risky codes when working with Swift.
It also uses the latest programming conventions in order to help developers maintain the watertight security on the apps they develop.
Note that the programming language enables a person to describe valuables as value types or optional types. It implies that a professional developer has the freedom to classify whether the value exists or it is null (nil).
It means that if a developer takes NIL optional value by mistake, the programming language will activate a runtime crash. This remains on the line of code forcing the developer to take care of any bugs right away.
In short, Swift does not open up any chances for you to develop harmful bugs or exception-free applications.
In 2015, Apple declared that the programming language was Open Source.
It was a welcome move by many developers because it means that Swift can be used across different platforms and for backend infrastructure as well.
It is among the major reasons many developers prefer to use it instead of other available programming languages.
In fact, it is safe to state that the decision from Apple contributed extensively to Swift’s development and adoption.
Today, Swift is considered among the top programming languages in the world.
And the way things are going; it will soon achieve the first position and remain there for a while.
Swift comes with a playground mode that persons can take advantage of to work on some application concepts.
It makes things much easier because it gives you a real picture of how the app will turn out so that you can know whether to proceed or work on a more practical project.
It is very important to add the programming language supports dynamic libraries.
These denote to executable bits of code that developer’s link to an application. Put it simply, It lets current Swift apps to link with fresher versions of the language in future years as it evolves.
Swift vs Objective C – 4 Reasons Swift is the Future for iOS App Developers
Here are some reasons mentioned below stating why swift is the future for ios app developers. Let’s see:
Swift is easier to read
Swift is easier to maintain
Due to the countless device resolutions and screen sizes, it is quite tough to certify that your app is compatible with the platform. This is in addition to evading or minimizing bugs and crashes for users who are still on the older versions of the operating system.
Statistically, Android users take more time to accept new operating systems, and Apple users are more likely to update their operating systems.
Swift is safer
One interesting aspect of Objective-C is the way in which pointers—especially nil (null) pointers—are handled. In Objective-C, nothing occurs if you try to call a method with a pointer variable that is nil (uninitialized).
The expression or line of code becomes a no-operation (no-op), and while it might seem useful that it doesn’t crash, it has been a huge source of bugs. A no-op leads to random behavior, which is the enemy of programmers trying to find and fix a random crash or stop irregular behavior.
Swift requires less code
Swift decreases the amount of code required to write repetitive statements as well as the string manipulation.
Objective-C requires too many steps while working with text strings for joining two pieces of information.
Swift implements modern programming language features such as adding two strings together with a “+” operator, which was much needed in the Objective-C.
Support for joining characters and strings like this is fundamental for any programming language that displays text to a user on a screen.
Bonus – Best Resources to Learn Swift Programming Language in 2020
We believe that now you must be convinced that Swift is indeed the future for iOS app developers.
And if you’re convinced and want to start learning the programming language right away, we’ve already done the research for you and found the best resources to learn Swift programming language.
Top resources to learn swift programming language are:
If you want to learn Swift from scratch, this is one of the most efficient resources. It allows us to write the first 1000 lines of Swift code, as well as get automatic feedback from the exercise platform.
Medium is an online publishing platform focused on finding gripping ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. And for Swift, Medium.com has lots of helpful blogs as well as tutorials on Swift iOS app development and best practices for the app development process.
Visual Studio Code (VSCode) a cross-platform text and source code editor from Microsoft which is considered the most thrilling open source project today, with regular updates from hundreds of contributors.
You can track the latest Swift repositories on GitHub to get ideas, unique perspectives, and make great code. This resource is meant to help the Swift community.
O’Reilly Media Swift book contains titles including many books related to Swift for developing apps on iOS and more.
As you can see, it looks the Swift is indeed going to be the future of developing high-performing and secured apps. And, this is the reason it is being adopted by Apple’s opponents as well. Plus, based on the benefits that Swift has to offer, it will most certainly climb on the top of the app development charts in near future.