A Guide To Pros And Cons Of Swift Programming Language

a guide to pros and cons of swift programming language itechnolabs

Are you aware of how the US is different from other countries in terms of mobile-related preferences? According to Statcounter, it is estimated that the world percentage of market shares for Android is around 72.7 percent while the share of iOS is 26.4 percent (as of August 2022). If we examine a US chart, iOS is leading the pack in the race with 56.7 percent, while its rival is at 43 percent.

With many people’s loyalty to Apple gadgets, iOS app development is more important than ever. What you must decide on is the best technology stack for your application. If you choose to opt for the native approach instead of cross-platform options, You still need to decide on which language to choose from the old Objective-C or the new Swift.

What is Swift and Why should you use it?

what is swift and why should you use it itechnolabs

Swift is the compiled programming language used by iOS, macOS, watchOS TVOS, and Linux applications. This is what you should be aware of Swift.

Backed up by one of the largest technology companies around the globe, Swift is set to become the standard language for iOS development, and even beyond.

1. Open source 

Swift creators acknowledged the need to develop a definitive programming language, technology has to be accessible to all. Thus, in its 7 years in existence, Swift has gained an extensive friendly community as well as an array of third-party software.

2. Secure 

Its syntax encourages users to write consistent and clean code that may appear a bit rigid at times. Swift is a security tool that helps you avoid errors and enhance accessibility.

3. Speedy 

Swift was built with speed in mind. Not only does its easy syntax and hand-holding assist you in improving your productivity, however, but it does also live up to its name. According to apple.com, Swift is up to 2.6x faster than Objective-C and 8.4x faster than Python.

4. In demand 

Still atop the list is Objective C, Swift was placed 20th among the top programming languages in 2021 (while Objective C is placed 26th) and 8th among the most adored languages.

Here are Pros And Cons Of Swift Programming Language

Continue reading to find out more about Swift technology. You can also follow the Pros And Cons Of Swift Programming Language below in case you’re looking to get started using Swift.

Pros of Using Swift for iOS Native Development

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Oft called “Objective-C, without the C,” Swift language is superior in many ways to the language it replaced. To see a comprehensive comparison between Swift with Objective C take a look at our article. As per the official press announcement, ” Swift combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.” While leaving the technical details and marketing in the background, Let’s look at what it actually means from the business point of view.

1. Rapid development process

A clear and concise language that has simple grammar and syntax, Swift is easier to write and read. Swift is extremely concise which means it requires less code for the same function in comparison with Objective-C. Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) performs all the monitoring and managing of the application’s memory usage, meaning developers do not have to put in the hours and effort manually. This means that it generally requires less effort to create iOS applications using Swift.

One shining example of this benefit can be seen in the Lyft app, the company totally rewrote its iOS application using Swift. The old codebase comprised around 75,000 lines of code and the Swift version reproduced the same functionality in less than three-quarters of the code. Additionally, the app included a brand-new onboarding process. The old process required more than a year and multiple engineers to put into place the new process, onboarding using Swift was done in less than only a week and with just one engineer.

2. Easy to grow the product and team

Along with faster development times, you will also have the benefit of a product that is able to be upgraded with additional features as required. Therefore, Swift projects are usually simpler to scale. The fact that Apple will more often accept Swift than Objective-C is a reason to be considered when considering long-term investments.

Furthermore, Swift allows you to include more developers in your team as needed. The process of onboarding is quite fast because of the simplicity and compactness of Swift’s code base. Its syntax Swift is thought to be close to natural English and provides an easy-to-read interface for new team members.

3. Speed of development, and security

As the name suggests, Swift is made to be… well fast. With an emphasis on speed and performance, Swift was originally developed to surpass its predecessor. For instance, the initial release claimed to have a 40% improvement in performance contrasted to Objective-C.

Additionally, Swift was built with the LLVM compiler framework that converts the assembly language into machine code and optimizes the code to make development more efficient.

Over time, numerous test results and tests performed by developers on their own have proven that. Additionally, there are a variety of methods to improve Swift code for better performance.

One of Swift’s strengths is its security. Swift’s robust keyboarding system as well as error management ensures that code isn’t prone to errors and crashes during production. Therefore, Swift offers a much shorter feedback loop that allows you to detect mistakes in your code immediately and correct them instantaneously, significantly decreasing the amount of time and effort required to fix bugs and removing the risk of using poor-quality code.

4. Memory footprint is reduced

When you develop an app, you’ll use lots of third-party code which are often reused, and open-source frameworks and libraries integrated into the app’s code. They can be dynamic or static (or used in shared). It’s likely the fact that static libraries are in code when you compile them. They then become components of your executable file, which increases its size and loading speed. They are also not automatically updated because they’re at the version that you first compiled. Dynamic libraries, however, the contrary, are independent of your code and are only uploaded when they are required. Static libraries require copies in every file of your program, whereas dynamic libraries only require only one. Swift initially introduced dynamic libraries on iOS when it was launched.

Since the release of version 5.0, standard Swift libraries are now integrated into every macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS release. This means that any application built on these platforms is smaller since these libraries are integrated. This advancement also brought an application binary interface that is stable (ABI) has also been launched. This permits Apple to support Swift across all its platforms.

The Cons of Swift Programming Language

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There are plenty of reasons to be happy with Swift however, it is far from being perfect. A lot of business owners and developers are cautious when it comes to making the switch to Swift. There are a variety of reasons for this.

1. The language is still very young.

Swift was released into the public domain in 2014 which appears to be a long time past, but Swift is just 7 years old in comparison to Objective C which has been in use since the 80s. The latest update introduced ABI stability across all Apple platforms, backward compatibility for Swift versions, and updated documentation. These are major steps in making Swift an advanced language.

However, at the exact same time, these actions, i.e., frequent changes and updates, can make developers question whether the present code is compatible with earlier versions in the future and if their code can be compiled in any way.

2. A small talent pool

Although Swift is gaining popularity, the Swift community is expanding rapidly however, it’s still smaller than any other open-source language. According to the most recent StackOverflow Survey of Developers which was released in March, just 5.1 percent of the total 83,053 people who participated use Swift. That means that if choose to develop your next project with Swift it could be a challenge to find developers who are proficient enough in the field.

3. Lack of interoperability between third-party tools and IDEs.

In large part due to the frequent updates, as noted previously, it’s often difficult to locate the appropriate tools for specific tasks. Additionally, it is true that the officially-licensed Apple IDE, XCode, isn’t as powerful in its tooling in addition to the support it provides for Swift. Developers frequently report problems with syntax highlighting, Autocomplete, and refactoring software and compilers.

4. Support for cross-platforms is not complete.

As we’ve mentioned before, Swift supports all Apple platforms, in addition to Linux as well as Windows. It was initially developed and remains the best in native iOS development and leaves it to the multi-platform development market up for React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter.

5. Support for older iOS versions

It is only possible to use Swift within applications that are targeted for iOS7 and up. However, Swift cannot be used in old-fashioned applications running on earlier versions of iOS. This isn’t a huge issue as there’s only one tiny percentage of Apple devices running iOS6 or older versions, but you should be aware of it in the case in the event of a need.

Objective-C or Swift?

The main factor in choosing between the various programming languages is your team’s knowledge and personal preferences. If your team’s developers are proficient in Objective-C, requiring them to all move to Swift might not be a choice. In addition, even though Swift offers regular updates and is compatible with the latest applications, Objective-C accumulated a significant foundation of code, third-party frameworks libraries, tools, and libraries throughout its history along with many applications developed using it. Let’s look at which scenarios you might choose to use Objective-C instead of Swift.

1. Maintaining an Objective-C app

If you need to maintain an application developed by using Objective-C as well as having a significant base of code, it does not make sense to modify your application using Swift.

2. Old OS versions work with

Since it’s a brand new language, Swift is compatible with only iOS 7 and macOS 10.9 or greater. If you’re looking for a reason to develop or maintain applications that run on earlier versions, you won’t have other choices other than to use Objective-C.

3. Tight deadlines

The process of learning a new language even a basic one such as Swift requires time and energy that many projects don’t have. If you’re not able to afford the luxury of delaying your app’s release until your team members become familiar with Swift then you might want to be thinking about using ObjC. If the time is available it, getting familiar with Swift is definitely beneficial over the long term, given that Apple isn’t planning to stop the development of Swift.

4. Big project size

Swift isn’t that old and is the reason smaller applications can handle updates with ease. In the con section, we discussed that the process of changing your program every version update could be difficult, and until the issue is completely resolved, you don’t want to make long lists of modifications.

5. Utilizing C as well as C++ frameworks from third-party developers

Being a superset to C, Objective-C permits users to easily and seamlessly utilize C or C++ libraries. While the need to solely use C++ files is not a common scenario however, it is important to know that Swift isn’t able to support this. To make use of C++ code, you must use C++ code, an Objective-C or C wrapper is required to be developed in between Swift as well as C++.

Are You Looking for iOS App Development Company?

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In spite of its age, and related debate, Swift already has a variety of notable successes. The companies that choose to use Swift are Uber, Lyft, and Fitbit.

Swift is becoming a more mature language with each update however there are still things to work on. Apple is building its own ecosystem, with an established ABI across its platforms, and is expanding platforms and developing new capabilities. We can tell in our analysis that Swift has many advantages that are greater than its minor flaws, which is why it is one of the top languages and is constantly gaining acclaim.

Therefore, we think that Swift adoption is expected to continue growing and could soon result in a complete replacement that of Objective-C as the primary first-class programming language for iOS mobile app development. For entrepreneurs, it’s vital to be prepared for any new requirements that the market could make. Thus, planning to transition to a new language in a short time and at a cost that is affordable is one of the most important strategies to be implemented in the coming years.

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