Swift vs. Objective C: Which Language To Choose for iOS Development in 2019

The mobile app ecosystem is one of the biggest industries with millions of app developers, billions of smartphone owners who use mobile apps daily. Giants like Apple and Google drive this ecosystem to another level by each passing day. According to research, by 2020, mobile apps are forecast to generate around 189 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

With the accelerating popularity of mobile apps, the demand for iOS apps is also rising. Apple’s App Store is the second-largest app store with almost 2 million available apps. When it comes to developing iOS apps, there are two possibilities: Swift and Objective-C.

Objective-C, the superset of C is primarily known as the language for creating iPhone apps was developed in 1984.  It has received its object syntax from Smalltalk, and syntax for non-object-oriented operations from the C language.

On the other hand, Swift is a new programming language released by Apple in June 2014. Swift is similar to Objective-C at its core but has several essential features than Objective-C.

Here in this article, let us compare both languages by its three significant characteristics of iOS app development to make a decisive conclusion. Let’s see when and why should you use one technology over another.

  1. Safety

The safety and security is a primary concern for many individuals.

When we talk about safety, Swift is designed to improve code safety. Swift was created as a type-safe and memory-safe language. Here, type safety means that the language itself averts type errors. Type memory safety helps in avoiding vulnerabilities associated with uninitialized pointers.

Let’s have a look at how Objective and Swift works on app safety.

Objective-C Approach

Objective-C’ safety is that it uses null pointers. The pointer is the component of C++ and C-based languages. The thing with pointers is the way they are managed. In Objective-C when you call a method with a nil pointer nothing happens. After that expression and a line of code become a no-operation (NOP). In the beginning, it seems beneficial because it does not cause a crash, but actually, it may be an extensive source of bugs.

Swift Creates Clean Code

On the other hand, Swift does not use pointers. If you miss a pointer in the code, that means there is a nil value which can crash the app. This concept allows programmers to find and fix bugs quickly. This makes the code cleaner and easier to understand. Features such as generics, type interference, and options make an app developed in Swift less inclined to contain undiscovered bugs.

  1. Syntax

The main difference between Objective-С and Swift is that Swift uses all the industry standards that help write clean code, whereas Objective-C is infamous for its code complexity.

Objective-C Code Structure

Since Objective-C is built on the C language, it has a complex code structure. It includes a lot of @ symbols, semicolons, lines, and parentheses conditionals with internal “if” and “else” statements.

Swift’s Code Structure

The main reason behind Swift’s success is its simple syntax that makes the language easy to read and write. Swift refrains many @ symbols and uses the comma-separated list of parameters within parentheses. Swift also needs writing fewer code strings than Objective-C. It helps in avoiding mistakes and creating cleaner code.

  1. Memory Management

Objective-C language supports ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) inside of the object-oriented code. The problem is that it cannot access C code and other APIs like Core Graphics. On the other hand, Swift is more consolidated, and its ARC is complete for object-oriented paths and procedural.

Objective-C Memory Management

Objective-C uses the ARC within the Cocoa API. ARC is a feature that manages memory with no programmer effort. The only problem with Objective-C is that its code isn’t available for procedural C and some other APIs like Core Graphics. This impacts memory management and causes memory leaks.

Swift’s Memory Management

The Swift language also uses ARC like Objective-C. The main difference is that Swift supports the ARC for all the APIs. This allows a streamlined way for memory management similar to Cocoa Touch.

Making a choice: Difference Between Both Languages According To The Characteristics

Swift vs. Objective C

To Wrap Up: Objective-C is More Outdated Language Compared To Swift. 

Nowadays Objective-C has fewer updates than Swift. Swift is an easy-to-learn, secure, modern, and interactive programming language. Swift has simplified coding patterns as well as coding interface compared to Objective-C. However, this depends on the project. There are some cases where Objective-C is thought to be the right choice. If you want to have an app for your business, you can contact the expert iOS app developers form OpenXcell.

About Author:
Nidhi Thakker a technical writer at OpenXcell is passionate about technologies. She enjoys writing about Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrency, Mobile Apps, and Internet Services. A techie herself, she has chosen written words to express her interest in the upcoming trends in the tech space.