Swift vs Objective-C. Which iOS Language To Choose

Swift vs Objective-C - which programming language should you choose for iOS app development? With the popularity of the iOS platform and the higher payment ability of Apple users, businesses focus their strategic efforts to deliver the highest quality products. The right tech stacks play an important role here. Therefore, with the introduction of Swift in 2014, lots of confusion appeared in the iOS development world.

On the one hand, Objective-C has proven to be stable and has been used for many years in development. Whereas the newest programming language, Swift, provides a lot of benefits and a more modern way of coding.

Wondering what the difference is between Swift and Objective-C? Which language better suits your project? Check out the detailed Swift vs Objective-C comparison further to make the best choice.

Advantages of Objective-C over Swift in 2018

1- Objective-C is an approved, well-tested language

As mentioned, Objective-C is reliable and has been used and tested by many developers. There are tons of projects written in Objective-C and there are many great third-party frameworks.

2- Objective-C is more stable

As Swift is still evolving as a language, it has regular version updates and applications written in Swift need to be migrated to the newest version. Logically, this takes time and money. When an app is written in Objective-C, these operations are unnecessary.

3- Easier usage of private APIs

In instances where a specific custom solution is necessary for the product (e.g. specific color change or integration), Objective-C is easier to connect with private APIs. As Swift is constantly developing, it is unstable and this fact may result in some crashes from these sorts of connections.

4- Objective-C is easily compatible with C++

As it has routes from a C language, products integrating parts of C or C++ code operate smoothly. On the contrary, Swift is incompatible with the C++ language.

Downsides of Objective-C in 2018

1- Harder to learn

Objective-C is a distinct language which differs in syntax from other programming languages. Its memory management is more complex and has the legacy necessary to be understood by C and Smalltalk. In brief, Objective-C has a higher barrier for new developers because of complicated syntax and coding conditions. If you are deciding whether to learn Objective-C or Swift - choose Swift. It is highly recommended to learn Swift, as it is more logical, easier to read and understand, and tailored specifically for Apple’s hardware.

2- Less qualified Objective-C developers

It can be complicated to find a proper Objective-C developer. Their number is modestly decreasing as new developers are learning mostly Swift and others are switching from Objective-C to Swift. Any programming skills require regular practice, so with time, a decrease in the number of skilled Objective-C programmers is predicted.

Benefits of Using Swift

1- Swift is faster

Its performance approaches the one of C++ which is considered the fastest algorithm calculation arithmetics.

Objective-C is slower because it contains C API legacy.

2- Swift is safer

Nowadays, an app’s data security is a substantial characteristic of a successful product. The construction of Swift has been designed to exclude and avoid mistakes with the help of its features – generics, optionals, and type interference to achieve app stability. Therefore, apps developed in Swift are less prone to bugs and crashes.

3- Swift is more readable

To start, code in Swift more closely resembles English, making it easier to read and requiring less time to check the code. As well, in general, it requires far fewer lines of code for the same feature. Swift is easy to read by JavaScript, Java, Python, C#, and C++ programmers who are able to use it to some extent.

4- Swift has less code

Swift is a more compact language for programming. However, this fact doesn’t imply code simplicity, of course. At times, it can be very difficult to write, but it brings more benefits and is highly reusable. The latter point cannot be applied to Objective-C.

5- Swift is less error-prone

This means fewer crashes and cases of unexpected behaviour.

6- Swift integrates with memory management

What about Objective-C vs Swift memory management? ARC (Automatic Reference Counting), the memory management functionality inside the Clang compiler, manages the memory of digital objects. This is easily handled with Swift working across procedural and object-oriented code using Cocoa API. With regard to Objective-C, procedural code works with Corel Graphic API and it is the developer’s responsibility to control it.

Hence, in Swift coding, unified memory management developers should not give attention to each digital object, but rather concentrate on the general logic of the application and its features.

7- Swift is an open-source language

Swift was originally created for Apple platforms (iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS) and was further expanded to Linux. Its creators understood the fact that to build a remarkable modern programing language, it should be available for everyone. Swift helped to develop many third-party frameworks & tools and has resulted in a growing community.

As well, Swift code is more portable to other platforms than Objective-C could ever be.

8- Swift has interactive coding

Swift Playgrounds makes it possible to test code on the spot without compiling big pieces of it or creating the whole app. Playgrounds visualize data and programmers can quickly check and correct everything along with further development.

9- Swift is closer to other platforms

Swift is easier to understand for non-iOS developers. It can be used as a script language.

10- Swift is Apple’s ongoing focus

Apple Inc. is concentrating on evolving Swift as its core programming language.

Disadvantages of Using Swift

1- Slower compilation speed

Compilation (transforming source code into binary/ machinery code) speed is much slower in Swift projects.

2- No ABI stability

ABI defines the communication rules for a machine code. This mostly matters in larger projects, when compiling part of the application with a few Swift versions. Therefore, in order to provide stable communication in a binary code of different compiler versions, ABI should be stable and well-structured. This can result in some problems with Swift frameworks across Swift versions.

3- Absence of C++ import

If your project is highly dependant on C++, Swift is not an iOS language that should be chosen for this task.

In this article you will find out more detailed information about the differences between Swift and Objective-C, and discover what language is better for iOS development.

Thank you for sharing @bessalitskykh. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Nice! A comprehensive and useful comparison. From my experience a lot of API’s are ported to Swift nowedays which is great! Can’t wait to see what’s next in Swift 5

1 Like

Objective is very complicated for new programmer. You Should to choose swift for iOS Development.

1 Like

hi @sonalmehta,
while you are correct when you say that, however the fact is that easy does not necessarily make good programmers. It is important to learn some fundamentals. On top of that most development is now with frameworks and libraries that sit atop the base langauge.



1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 166 days. New replies are no longer allowed.