Since iPhone was launched, Objective-C had been the main programming Language for its app development. However, with technological improvements and the hardware getting more complicated, the bar for an apt programming language has risen. To meet the new demands, Apple was prompt to come up with ‘Swift’ as an alternative. Since its launch at the 2014 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Swift has been a preferred choice among developers and enterprises. Intended to be safer and more resilient to faulty coding as compare to Objective-C, Swift integrates the LLVM compiler framework and is designed to be compatible with Apple Cocoa/Cocoa Touch.
So what makes Swift a popular choice among the developer community?
1. It’s easy to learn
Swift’s language syntax and design are highly influenced by popular programming languages like Ruby and Python. This made it more difficult for beginners to understand the programming pattern. But, Apple stepped in promptly and today, we have the syntax as simple as the written English language. To help new developers understand common errors, Swift was also modified and made easier.
2. Requires fewer lines of codes
Let’s take an example to understand this better. Lyft has been a renowned taxi-service app for more than a decade now. Previously, the app was written in Objective-C and required 75,000 lines of code. The app was however refurbished recently in Swift and is now optimized with just 25,000 lines of code! No compromise to the functionalities has been done in the process and everything works as it did. Swift just made the coding more compact.
Read also: Swift: Taking App Development to New Heights
3. Offers better speed
Swift is a statically typed language and is thus faster than alternatives like Objective-C. Apple has also been working to make Swift faster than C++, which is considered the fastest among all programming languages. When you run the Swift application, it wouldn’t take time in finding code definitions.
4. It offers less risk of errors
As opposed to Objective-C, the Swift syntax offers an error check for any project before generating the codes. Also, since it’s statically typed, Swift defines commands more clearly and minimizes the chances of errors. Consequently, a negligible chance of crashes and errors ensures easier coding and long term maintenance.
5. It’s open source!
The most important reason why Swift has been gaining so much popularity among app developers is its open source framework. This makes it perfect for all kinds of OS, including iOS, Android, Linux and Windows. Apple has also taken steps to gather and encourage a large community of developers that currently holds more than 35,000 members and this number has been growing incredibly.
Read also: Migrating your iOS App to Swift- Three Most Important Reasons
According to The Next Web, even Google has been considering to adopt Swift as the “first class” language for Android applications. This came out when Swift was made to be an open source platform in December 2015. Swift based operating system for Android will only mean that it could be used to create native apps for both platforms. Open source has certainly been the currency for the developer community in the past years, offering them a lot of space to move, share and create. With closed source languages, there’s always a limitation, at least when it comes to ideas and thoughts.
Apple further has partnered with IBM to popularize Swift and generate more opportunities for the growing community. In fact, IBM Cloud facilitates developers to upload and share Swift resources and use Swift Sandbox for experimentation. With changes made to the Objective-C, Swift now allows an easier import of codes and it wouldn’t be surprising if it leads the pack of app programming languages in the coming years. Swift, in just two years, has already become a canonical example of the potential for incumbent languages.
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