21Oct 2017

A Complete Guide to Apple’s Swift Programming Language

Swift from Apple also known as “Objective-C without the C” is now listed among the open source programming languages since the dawn of the year 2015. Like the name Swift suggests, it can be applied swiftly across a variety of development platforms, such as the OSX, watchOS, iOS, tvOS, as well as Linux.

The Evolution of Swift and Beyond

Swift’s journey started in the year 2014 when it was in a budding state or we can say that a foundation was laid for embarking the launch of a new programming language. In 2014, Objective-C was largely popular in the programming world. Later on, Apple went on to enhance this and introduce the widely preferred Swift programming language that we use today.

Apple’s efforts in molding Objective-C and transforming it into the Swift programming language is something appreciable, because there’s a huge effort involved in presenting it in the form of a fresh programming language that can also be used as a replacement for Objective-C.

The two available versions of Swift are Swift 2.0 and Swift 3.0 of which Swift 3.0 was released as latest as in the September of 2016.

Swift 3.0 has made handling and dealing the most notorious “stack overflow” with much of an ease unlike the C or Objective-C, where it seemed to be too complicated.

Swift has a large community offering support, which makes it indeed the most preferred programming language to date.

Evolution from Objective-C: Driving Factors

Evolution of Swift Programming from Objective C

There are a wide variety of reasons for the fast-driven evolution of Swift from Objective-C such as safety of the type, the level of security that it offers and the performance aspect, which no other programming language can ensure.

Learning: We all are in love with programming languages that do not include a lot of intense code in them. The syntax is so simple that reading and writing the code is much easier when compared with all other programming languages. In Objective-C, where lot of complicated code strings might be required to produce a particular output, here in Swift will be comparatively scarce.

Swift helps in implementing inferred type, which helps in eliminating several simple mistakes, thus enhancing the code clarity.

Also, the automatic memory management feature of Swift removes the need to implement semicolons. We have already discussed the presence of a large community, which offers a wide support to the language, as well as the open source nature of the Swift language makes it easier for updating the language and extending it further.

While working on iOS, Swift code requires the implementation of fewer statements as well as the manipulations associated with strings and all this with lesser code. The concerns that programmers had when working on other programming languages, which involves string tokens that are bad and befouled orders, which led to the crashing of apps was all managed in Swift. The built-in inline support present in Swift helps in data and text string manipulations, helping to rid all the concerns that were part of the other programming languages.

The division between the implementation and interface phase is eliminated in this version of Swift programming language. The number of files required in a project is minimal, making navigation across a project very easy.

The Performance and Safety

Swift Programming Performance and Safety

We have already discussed why Swift language was evolved out of Objective-C. The need for enhancing the security and safety of type, as well as the performance gave rise to Swift language. A number of IT scientists and IT researchers are of the opinion that the performance of Swift is more or less the same as that of the programming language C++, in case of the implementation of process-flow algorithms such as the Mandelbrot and FFT. But, the most interesting factor about Swift is that with each of its versions, the performance is getting better or it would be appropriate to say that the performance gets better every other day with the usage.

Another prominent aspect of implementing Swift for programming language needs is the safety and security that it offers. Whenever faced with a bad code or any other coding concerns, which can include complications involved in calling a method which comprises of a nil pointer variable that contaminates the expression making it non-operable, ultimately leading the app to function inappropriately, is what Swift can handle with ease. Such errors will be presented as compile time-errors when Swift language is used.

The optional types that makes the Swift programming language easier to use is due to the availability of a variety of optional types, which yields optional values that are nil. This bug-fixing ability of Swift language offers a strong typing system along with error handling functionality, which helps the coders from committing errors.

iOS Swift Libraries that are Non-Static

The best thing about iOS Swift libraries is that they are no longer dynamic as in the case of Objective-C, but are dynamic. Whenever the next iOS version is unveiled, the libraries of Swift needs to be updated so until then this can be kept in the static mode as there are no changes, but whenever a change happens, dynamic libraries in the form of pieces of codes can be directly linked to the app.

This is one of the reasons why programmers prefer Swift with each update to the app version you can use the fresh and updated version of Swift. This means that just as the iOS platform gets better each time, the Swift programming language is bound to develop.

The role of dynamic libraries helps in bringing down the initial size of these applications implying that this is loaded in the memory while the external code runs whenever it is required. All this ultimately leads to reducing the initial wait time (the time involved in displaying the resource on device screen).

Memory Management:

There were certain challenges relating to the usage of memory and its management in Objective-C. These include the ARC, which is supported from the inside the object-oriented code and the Cocoa API, preventing it from accessing the C code and the related APIs as part of the core graphics. But, Swift overcomes these challenges as it is considered to be more of an unified language as the ARC that it provides is perfectly object-oriented and procedure oriented too. This is how it prevents the extensive memory leaks from happening as in Objective-C during iOS development.

Swift now allows managing and handling memory with ease facilitating the coders with the ease of developing digital objects without worrying about the memory. You can now concentrating more on the app’s core logic while implementing the enormous number of features that it offers.

A wide range of other factors makes Swift language more popular among the coders and these include:

The Code Familiarity:

Most of the times, majority of coders and developers are faced with the issue of deadlines. It is obvious that when you are working on an unknown and fresh programming language, you will have the least idea about its functionalities.

But, with the huge support from the large community, you can easily master the language and get your app up within a short span of time thus meeting the deadlines.

Working as a Team:

Regardless of whether you are working alone or as a team, it is always a good idea to hone your skills in Swift. You and your team might be good at Objective-C, but remember Swift is above that and you surely need to work on your skills when utilizing this.

The Size of a Project:

The language is updated every fortnight, for small projects, this could be riskier, and a struggle to incorporate these updates every time.

What type of programming languages are you implementing for your projects? Do you need help with developing a great project idea or if you have an idea, you can reach us.

Acodez IT Solutions is a web design and web application development company in India offering all kinds of web design and web development solutions to our clients in India and abroad. We are also a SEO agency based in India offering all kinds of inbound marketing solutions. For further details, please contact us today.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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  2. Colleen Williams

    Nice Post..!! I ave been looking for long time such article thanks for sharing us i hope Will continue to provide us with such knowledge further.

  3. David

    Nice post! Great article it is very informative and easty to understand.

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