Swift Programming Language: Pros and Cons for iOS Development
iOS is one of two the most popular development platforms in the world which is why some companies create software products only for iPhones. When developing for iOS, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the necessary tech stack. You will also need to decide whether or not you will be developing across platforms or simpler native development. In terms of language, you can use either Objective-C, which is older, or Swift, which appeared recently. Since Objective-C has been around for quite some time now, in this article we will focus on programming in Swift.
What is Swift Programming?
Swift was introduced about five years ago and since then it has the support of such a big company, it is on pace to be the dominant technology for developing on iOS. It is an open source tool with a large support community and a wide variety of third-party tools. It all started in 2014 when one of Apple’s top engineers, Chris Lattner, was messing around with some kind just for fun. After some of his colleagues at Apple find out about it, they were very excited to try it out. He would eventually go on to introduce this new language at the 2014 World Wide Developer Conference, and it started gaining popularity.
Is Swift a Good Language
Swift is a very good language because, in addition to being a popular open source tool, it is very safe because the design itself encourages developers to write clean and readable code consistently. Perhaps its main advantage is speed. In fact, when comparing Swift and Objective-C, it was determined that Swift was 2.6 times faster and in a head-to-head competition with Python, Swift was 8 times faster. In fact, currently, we are witnessing the rise of a huge technology that will dominate software development. Having the support of Apple behind really gives swift a lot of credibility and boosts its popularity.
Pros of Swift Programming
Besides the evident benefits of using Swift for iOS app development, here are some additional pluses:
- Better scalability – Swift is great for adding functionalities to your product and also for adding new members to your development team. Since the language promotes simplicity, you have the ability to add additional developers to your team, if needed, and have them hit the ground running because it is very readable.
- Interoperability – Imagine that you have a big project that was built with Objective-C. It is possible to make all the updates that you need to the app while using the same code base and since we already know how scalable Swift is, you can also add some functionality too if you need it.
- Full stack potential – IBM has been actively pushing for Swift to be available in the cloud and this decision is showing great dividends. Server-side Swift can be integrated with any technology. If you use Swift for both frontend and backend development, you will be able to share your code better, thus making the development process much faster.
The Cons of Using Swift
Even though everything that has been said about Swift has been positive so far, there are some Swift coding challenges:
- Swift is relatively new – Since Swift burst on the scene recently, there are bound to be some growing pains. There are not a whole lot of tools or native libraries and the older ones are no longer relevant with the release of new versions of Swift.
- Almost no support for earlier iOS versions – You can use Swift only in the apps for iOS7 and later. That said, Swift can’t be used for legacy projects running on older versions of the operating system. However, about 5% of Apple devices currently run on iOS6 or earlier.
- Shortage of talent – Even though the Swift community is rapidly growing, it is still much smaller than other open source languages. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, only 8% of the 78,000 developers surveyed said that they use Swift.
We hope that this article will be useful for you in deciding whether or not to go with Swift coding language when developing your next app. With the support of Apple behind it, Swift is sure to become even more popular as time goes on and all the hiccups and bumps in the road will be eliminated. Swift was created to be exactly what its name implies: extremely fast, efficient and scalable.