There are more than 1.4 Billion IOS devices in use as of January 2019. IOS stands as the World’s second most popular Mobile Operating Platform. It should also be noted that in some regions like USA, UK, and France, Apple devices even outperform Android devices in terms of Smartphones Sales Numbers. Also, many Businesses and developers focus their Softwares Products primarily on the IOS platform and in some cases they even invest solely on the IOS platform considering it an opportunity of strategic benefit.
If you are the type of developer who follows the iOS Application development path, then one of the most important decisions to make is about the technological toolbox you will require for your product. Even if you choose to go with Native Development instead of Cross-Platform Solution, still you need to decide which language you would be using, the old Objective-C or the New Swift.
Swift is the compiled programming language for developing IOS, WatchOS, MacOS, TvOS and Linux applications. Let’s look at some of the prominent features of Swift Programming Language.
Swift was developed by Apple in 2014. As we all know Apple as one of the most influential Tech Companies in the World, Swift is on its way to becoming the most dominant language for development on IOS and beyond.
The Syntax of Swift encourages developers to write clean and consistent code. This can even feel strict sometimes. Swift also got safeguard measures against errors and to improve readability.
Swift was built with a heavy emphasis on performance. According to Apple, Swift is 8.4x faster than Python and 2.6x faster than Objective-C. The Simple Syntax of Swift and the helping-hand approach provided by it helps in developing applications faster.
The fact that in order to emerge as a defining programming language, the code and technology should be open source is acknowledged by Creators of Swift. Within a short period of time since its launch, Swift has acquired the support of a large supportive community and a huge number of third-party tools.
According to the latest rankings, Swift is now the 10th most popular programming language, surpassing GO, Objective-C, Scala, and It has more than 40K stars on GitHub and over 187K StackOverflow Questions, this relatively young language is on its way to becoming one the dominant technologies in the Mobile Application Development Industry.
The Pros of Swift Programming Language:
Swift combines the efficiency and Performance of compiled languages with the added simplicity and interactivity of popular Scripting Languages. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of this Programming Language.
Rapid Development Process:
Swift is really easy to Read and Write because it is a clean and expressive language that has simplified Syntax and Grammar. It requires a lot less code performing the same takes when compared to Objective-C. Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) manages the memory usage of the application and so the developers don’t have to spend time doing it.
Scalability of the Applications:
Not just the development is fast but is scalable as well. Swift projects are very easy to scale because Swift is future-proof and you can extend the functionalities when new features are needed. Also, the fact that Apple is supporting Swift rather than Objective-C should also be considered when making an investment.
Improved Performance and Safety:
As the name suggests, this programming language is designed to be swift. The focus here is on speed, performance and the ability to outperform the predecessor languages. The initial claim of a 40 percent increase in speed over Objective-C has been proved to be true according to the benchmark tests conducted by individual developers. Another biggest strength of Swift is its safety, Strong typing and error handling functions prevent code crashes and errors. Developers can see errors in the code easily and they can fix them on the fly, reducing the efforts and time needed for bug fixing.
Easy to Integrate with Objective-C:
According to developers, Swift and Objective-C should learn to Coexist. You can add new features using swift to your existing Objective-C project or you can incorporate objective-C elements in your new swift project. Swift language is perfectly compatible with Objective-C and these can be used interchangeably within the same project. This is more useful on larger projects that are extended and updated with time.
The cons of Swift Programming language:
Although Swift is an amazing language, it is still far from being perfect. Also, many developers and businesses are cautious when moving to a new language. Let’s take a look at some of the problems associated with this Language.
The language is still young:
Swift might be the fastest and most powerful language but it is still quite young. There are many issues that need to be fixed, the time to maturity is always there even if it’s swift. It has to experience the growing pain and fix the issues that arise on its path to maturity.
Swift is considered as a “Moving Target”:
Swift is considered to be rather unstable. The developers have raised this concern of lack of backward compatibility with each new release. After a new version is released, developers are sometimes forced to completely rewrite the project in order to stay up to date. Xcode has solved this problem to some extent by helping the people update their swift code however it doesn’t fix all the issues.
Talent Pool is Limited:
Swift community is growing fast but it is still much smaller as compared to other open source languages. According to a recent StackOverflow developer survey, only 8.1 percent of the total 78,000 respondents use Swift. Also, according to Upwork.com, a freelancing website, the demand for Swift developers is growing fast and this can result in a talent gap.
Lack of support for earlier IOS Versions:
Swift can only be used to develop applications that target IOS7 or later. So this means that swift cannot be used on older projects running on older versions of IOS Operating System.
Despite it being a relatively younger programming language, Swift is making a lot of progress and is becoming popular rapidly. Big names like LinkedIn, Lyft, Coursera, Pandora, Twitter, Vimeo, and Groupon are showing significant interest in this language. It is also expected that the problems faced by developers today, would be addressed with time as newer versions of Swift Programming Language are released.