Swift is a fast, multi-paradigm, general-purpose, secure, object-oriented, functional, imperative and block-structured programming language.
Swift came into existence in the year 2014; Swift version 1.0 was launched at Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). It was developed by ‘Chris Lattner’ with an objective of introducing a level of interactivity in development, and to resolve difficulties that existed in Objective C.Latter in the year 2014, Swift was upgraded to version 1.2.
Initially, Swift version 2.2. was available as open-source software for Linux and Apple platforms, under the Apache Licence 2.0 in December 2015. At the WWDC 2015, Swift 2.0 was introduced. The current released version is Swift 4.2, along with a beta version of Swift 4.3 and Xcode 10. Swift was designed to work in coordination with Cocoa Touch frameworks, Apple’s Cocoa, and the vast body of pre-existing Objective-C code that re compatible with Apple products.
Swift was developed after carrying out detailed research on the existing programming languages. It is built using the contemporary approach to security and software design patterns laid down by Apple Inc. In the year 2014, Swift as referred to as “Objective-C without the C” by its developers. For a very long period of time, Objective-C was the leading programming language used for creating OSX and iOS applications. Objective-C comes with extended object-oriented features and a dynamic runtime and is considered to be a fundamental superset of C.
In a brief time span, Swift started ruling the Techzone and became one of the top five leading programming languages. It was accepted by the Apple community whole-heartedly, which lead to the eradication of the old school Objective C. Swift is a modern programming language for the burnished development of the iOS application, watchOS application, macOS application tvOS application, etc. It has numerous features like generics, closures, and type inference that make it developer-friendly, simplifying common patterns used in Objective-C. as it simplifies the common patterns used in Objective C. Swift incorporates the features of both C and Objective-C, without having any direct inbuilt C compatibility and all the accompanying constraints, it completely redefines our concept of mobile application development for Apple products.
Top reasons for choosing Swift:
Swift has very high readability
The first and foremost advantage of choosing Swift is its immaculate syntax, which makes it easier for the developers to code and the debuggers to locate errors. C objective has a very high LOC (Lines of Code) in = comparison to Swift. Swift allows us to implement the same functionalities using fewer lines of code. This is the result of the dropping of heritage conventions, such as semicolons after the end of each line, or parenthesis used to enclose a block of codes, to distinguish between conditional expressions inside if/else statements, or while loops by Swift.
Swift is a secure platform
The app marketplace is getting highly competitive these days due to its wide chain of tools, hence developing a secure application has now become a priority for developers if they want to stand out from the crowd. Due to its specific yet distinct syntax, swift developers easily escape from the mistakes that an elementary Objective-C developer commits. This stable performance reduces the risk of system crashes and algorithm failure significantly. It does not ensure that the code that the programmer has written is absolutely correct, but it reduces the probability of committing mistakes. It adds an additional cheque on the code quality.
Swift takes the nil code as an input and generates compilation errors when programmers write incorrect codes. With Swift, you can write the code and compile the code simultaneously, which is not at all possible in Objective-C. As a promising outcome, Swift works more efficiently in terms of security, bug identification, and fixations, and speed than Objective-C. This reason alone is sufficient to consider applications using Swift.
Lesser effort and lesser legacy
There are many issues with Objective-C that lead to the crashing of the application. Swift possesses inline support for manipulating text strings and data, hence it generates less error-prone codes. In addition to that, classes aren’t segregated into two parts, namely the interface and the implementation. This cuts down the number of files in the project to half, which makes them easily findable and storable. Eventually, Swift requires lesser coding efforts when we are trying to manipulate strings or write any other repetitive functions. When you are working with Objective-C, you need to combine two strings, which makes the code lengthy; whereas with Swift, we can join two strings by merely using the “+” sign.
The maintenance of codes written in Swift is undemanding
For the evolution of Objective-C, the evolution of C is a pre-requisite. Conversely, Swift does not depend on any language, so it is easier to maintain. C requires maintenance of dual-code files for improvising the build time an increasing the coding efficiency, this tedious method is still preserved by C-Objective. Swift, eliminates this tedious dual-code tradition, by combining the Objective-C header (.h) along with implementation files (.m) into an integrated code file (.swift). In Objective-C, the developer has to manually synchronise function names and comments existing between files, whereas, in Swift, programmers can dedicate more time creating application logic and improvising the quality of their code, comments and features that are supported by its libraries.
Swift programming cuts down development costs significantly, as it provides tremendous speed advantage over Objective-C. A complex object sort, for example, will run 3.9 times faster in Swift than a similar\ implementation of the algorithm in Python. That’s sufficiently better than Objective-C, which is 2.8 times faster than the Python version of the code. It performs at the level of C++, which is considered to be the fastest algorithm in calculation and arithmetic. Primate labs published a report in December 2014, which adds brightness to the similarity in the performance of C++ and Swift. Apple has made it clear to the audience that they are dedicated to improvising the speed at which Swift runs an app logic further.
Swift supports multiple Dynamic Libraries
Executable pieces of code that can be linked to an application are known as dynamic libraries. These libraries established a connection between the current Swift applications and the newer versions of the Swift language, as it is still evolving. These libraries do not add on to the application size and are uploaded directly to the memory, ultimately increasing the app’s performance.
The exclusive “Playground” feature
Swift allows developers to test a newly generated algorithm, without even creating an application, this feature is addressed as “Playground” feature. Apple has integrated inline code execution with Playgrounds to facilitate programmers in creating chunks of code or writing an algorithm and receiving feedback, simultaneously. This circular feedback mechanism can improvise the speed of writing the codes, with the assistance of data visualisations. Playground and Swift together empower Apple’s efforts to make application development efficient and more approachable.
It is an Open-Source platform
Swift was declared to be an open-source platform in the year 2015, allowing the language to be potentially used by back-end developers over other available languages. By Open-sourcing Swift, we mean that Apple will be considering the feedback from the Swift user community to make improvements consistently as independent developers are contributing to the language’s success. One of the main reasons behind the success of Swift is the tremendous support that it has received from developers across the globe.
Swift has not only surpassed Objective-C for iOS application development, but it has also replaced C for embedded programming on Apple platforms. Apple’s Swift is appealing for younger programmers as it is similar to languages like Ruby, Python, etc. If you have a good command on Python or Ruby, then Swift is really a stroll in a park for you. Apple has made it easier for beginners to learn Swift, by introducing the “playground” features. Swift took only five months to make it up to the top 25 list.
Its popularity has been further boosted by numerous international universities, schools, and other educational institutions who are including Swift in their curriculum. Several factors have to be taken into account every time an organisation begins with a new mobile project, which is why deciding whether to include Swift or Objective-C for development is never a clear-cut decision. Picking out the most appropriate language depends on the project and team context, as well as a preference for any particular programming language given by the developer.
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By Vanshika Singolia