Migrating to Swift from Objective-C

Filed Under: iOS

In June 2014, Apple launched a new programming language named Swift with an aim to create a better programming environment by tools that makes the coding a lot easier for beginners as well as experienced developers. It was introduced as “Objective-C without C” with goal to speed up development of iOS Development by covering the inadequacies of Objective-C.

Before we migrate to Swift for our remaining iOS Development Tutorials there are a few doubts that must be going through every developers mind that need to be sorted out now.

If I’m learning iOS Development now, do i need to learn Objective-C first?

Objective-C is an established language and it’s there since 30 years. Moreover most of the frameworks are written in Objective-C. Majority of apps on the App Store are developed in Objective-C. So, in future if you get a task to migrate the code to Swift for any of those apps, it’s better to be well versed with Objective-C first. Besides, if you’re using a native library that’s in C++ or C and are using a lot of C functions, that’s when knowing Objective-C is a must. Last but not the least the open source communities/forums have been talking in Objective-C all this while. Most of the code snippets available on these open source forums, are written in Objective-C. These reasons are enough to justify why a good look at Objective-C is important. (That’s the reason we’d started our iOS Development tutorials in Objective-C).

Why are developers adapting to Swift when Objective-C is easier to learn?

True. Objective-C being an extension of C is easier to learn and it requires the developer to be more explicit in their code. Other than this Swift has it’s set of advantages over Objective-C. Few of them are listed below.

  1. Swift isn’t built on C hence it’s syntax is more simpler. We can remove the @ from the numerous strings in Objective-C. There’s no need for semi colons/parentheses in conditional statements
  2. Swift is type-safe which means the language helps us to be clear about the types of values our code can work with
  3. With Swift we get Automatic Reference Counting which eases our task by removing the overhead of explicit memory management that had to be specified in Objective-C
  4. Swift is faster. Libraries handle most of the OSX and iOS user references. According to Apple, development in Swift is 73 percent faster than in Objective-C
  5. Finally, Swift is made in such a way that it’s compatible with Objective-C. Swift codes can be written inside Objective-C and vice-versa

This brings an end to this tutorial. From the next tutorial, we’ll make a shift towards Swift for the remaining series of our iOS Development Tutorials.

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