Swift over Objective C: Recent Addition for iOS Development

  • December 16, 2016
  • iOS
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ios

As the iOS Apps are becoming more competitive in the mobile world, a shift from objective C to Swift is the new programming technique. Apple unveiled Swift as a fresh addition to programming iOS Apps, at their annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2014. Swift was created for the beginners to start building iOS applications. Apple and IBM have joined their efforts and invest in Swift together. IBM has adopted Swift and developing it further. IBM Cloud gives opportunities not only to develop and deploy but also to share Swift resources and use Swift Sandbox for quick experiments.

Core Strengths of Swift

Less Code and Less Error Prone

Swift reduces the LOC with high reusability of code which increases the flexibility. Its syntax and language constructions exclude the many practical mistakes potentially possible in Objective-C. The Swift code reduces the occurrence of crashes. It is considered as the more stable programming language.

Programmer Speak:
When I applied Swift code to one of my App which was earlier developed in Objective- C, one of the major advantage which I noticed was that I was able to reduce LOC by less than half and it was much easier to maintain the code and fix the bugs.


More Interactive:

Swift Playground Tool allows testing the code without compiling big pieces of it or creating the whole app. Programmers can quickly fix the bugs to move for further development. It is especially applicable to custom views and code experiments.

A view or view controller which is using the LiveView property of the XCPlaygroundPage will become interactive in producing playground results. An experiment with gesture recognizers, shows UITableView creating and dequeuing cells as you scroll, or interact with a complex 3D scene in SceneKit.

Sample playground

The figure showing an iOS playground using UIKit Dynamics to create a fully-interactive, perfect for your desktop.

Source: Apple developer’s resources

swift-ios

The Swift Playgrounds help us experimenting in code using Commands, Functions, Parameters, Loops , Conditional Statements, Variables and Operators.

Auto Layout Constraints

This feature of Swift allows programmers to set the portrait and landscape orientation. Also, you can design single layout for the iPad and iPhone of any size and shape. The automatic inbuilt layout settings can be done using Swift.

You no longer have to make new nibs or storyboards for every language that you wish to support.

The iOS 9 and Xcode7 implemented this auto layout feature and tested with all the screen sizes and shapes. The iPhone testing was done in different sizes and they are:

For iPhone 5/5s, Screen Size – 320 points (or 640 pixels) portrait mode (horizontally) and 568 points (or 1136 pixels) vertically.

For iPhone 6/6s, Screen Size – 375 points (or 750 pixels) portrait mode (horizontally) and 667 points (or 1134 pixels) vertically.

For iPhone 6/6s Plus, Screen Size – 414 points (or 1242 pixels) portrait mode (horizontally) and 736 points (or 2208 pixels) vertically.

For iPhone 4s, Screen Size – 320 points (or 640 pixels) portrait mode (horizontally) and 480 points (or 960 pixels) vertically.

The new 7s iPhone has been already launched in the market and the new launches will keep on coming. We need to adapt a technology which is device independent. Auto Layout is a standard feature which will be revolutionary step in iOS development.

A screen shot of the layout feature is as shown below: As shown in the figure the various adjustments can be done using the given options.

swift-ios

Multi-Paradigm:

Swift is a multi-paradigm, compiled programming language. Swift is designed to work with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks and the large body of existing Objective-C code written for Apple products.

Because of the multi-paradigm quality, Swift is more concise which allows Swift program to run within a single program.

Protocol Oriented Programming

Apple calls it a real change in programming in which Swift adapts extensibility system that can be applied to types, constructs, and classes. This increases predictability, performance, and productivity of the Apps.

Conclusion:

The latest version of Swift3.0 opens a door for the smarter development with the increased value and decreased cost of development. Swift code is written in a declarative way which is quite similar to Java and JRuby. This experiment was done on one set of coding. Let’s see how it continues to support other languages.

In a nutshell, Swift is a prevalent and versatile language with high potential and a long way to go on in the area of iOS development. Swift is an entry point to iOS for programmers working in other languages like C#, JavaScript, ActionScript 3, etc.

A hard nut to digest is that no programming language is perfect. Some drawbacks and scope of improvement are there in every language. Most important is that your knowledge will continue to grow with practice. So, adopt Swift for your next iOS project by enjoying its benefits.

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