What is the Swift Language?
Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language developed by Apple Inc for iOS iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS, and Linux application development.
Swift combines decades of experience in building Apple platforms with the latest research in programming languages.
Swift APIs are even easier to read and maintain because named parameters are expressed in a clean syntax. Better yet, you don’t need to type semi-colons.
Swift is a general-purpose, functional, imperative, and block-structured language for iOS development. Swift adopts the best of C and Objective-C, without the constraints of C compatibility.
Swift is an object-oriented language that uses the same runtime as the existing Obj-C system. It provides Inferred types, making the code cleaner and less prone to mistakes.
This multi-paradigm language offers modules to eliminate headers and provide namespaces on Mac OS and iOS which enables Swift programs to run on many existing iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 platforms.
Swift language offers Unicode correct strings to best support international languages and emoji. Swift uses a UTF-8 based encoding to optimize performance for a wide variety of use cases.
Swift offers excellent memory management by automatically using tight, deterministic reference counting, keeping memory usage to a minimum without the overhead of garbage collection.
Benefits of Swift Language
- Intuitive and powerful: Swift’s standard library defines a base layer of functionality for writing Swift programs making writing code intuitive and efficient.
- Modern: Swift offers easy-to-use APIs to speed up deployment and integration. Modern features like Inferred types allow you to keep your code cleaner and less error-prone. Modules eliminate headers and provide namespaces.
- Easy to learn: Swift is a developer-centric programming language that is easy to code and can be easily developed on Swift Playgrounds for iPad. You can also develop in Xcode, Swift Playgrounds, Cocoa Touch, and more.
- Safe: Swift is a high-level programming language offering a variety of safety features such as automatic memory management, value types, and variable initialization. To prevent runtime crashes, the Swift compiler doesn’t allow you to use a nil object.
- Cross-platform: Swift supports all Apple platforms, and a variety of other platforms like Linux, Windows, and Ubuntu.
- Dynamic libraries: Dynamic libraries can be uploaded when needed and exist outside of your code. Libraries are integrated into every device release.
- Large community: With one of the most active and rich open-source communities, Swift offers a lot of resources to help you learn the language.
READ MORE: INTRODUCING SWIFT COLLECTIONS
Which is Better: Swift or Objective C?
Although it’s important to note that Swift cannot replace Objective-C. The two languages have different capabilities and can be used together in iOS application development.
Let’s look at a side-by-side comparison of the two languages.
|Ranked 14th among the most popular programming languages, Swift is 2.6x faster than Objective C and 8.4x faster than Python.||Objective-C is a little complex language that typically results in a decreased speed of coding.|
|You can develop in XCode, Playground, and more.||You mainly develop in XCode.|
|Swift requires the latest versions of iOS (at least iOS 7).||Objective C can be used on any iOS version.|
|Swift is a modern, human-friendly language with a simple syntax.||Objective C language isn’t as intuitive and human-friendly as Swift.|
|Swift is designed to develop Apple Operating systems.||Objective C was designed to be object-oriented along with the Smalltalk messaging feature.|
|Swift is a static type.||Objective C is dynamic typing.|
|Polymorphism can be implemented by typecasting but it does not exist directly.||Parametric polymorphism in objective C is checked at compile time.|
|Swift offers encouraging syntax that makes you write clean and consistent code.||Objective C takes more than twice as many lines of code for implementation as Swift.|
|Swift provides safe memory management, type interference, generic and optional, and simple but strict inheritance rules.||Objective-C doesn’t have type interference, generic.|
Is Swift the Future for iOS development?
The Swift programming language is becoming increasingly popular for iOS development. Among the companies that have already chosen Swift are Eventbrite, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
Despite a few teething issues, Swift is turning into a mature language that could, eventually, displace Objective-C as the go-to language for developing iOS apps.
Swift will help businesses fill the gap in mobile applications in the long run. With its speed and ease of understanding, Swift Language is becoming a preferred choice for developers.
This open-source platform has a thriving community behind it, and anyone can contribute to it. Swift will continue to be a key component in iOS app development in the future.
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