The complete guide to SWIFT

Swift is a programming language. It is one of the major technology trends of 2022. Learning it is necessary to move to the next level of skills.

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But what is SWIFT?

Swift is a programming language created by Apple in 2014. It was primarily designed for native development iOS and macOSbut also for iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Its goal is to give developers a powerful language to develop iOS applications. The Swift source code can be found on GitHub, which allows anyone to access it easily.

Features

Swift is both multi-paradigm, general purpose and open source (i.e. open to all). In 2021, it was ranked among the most famous programming languages and among the 10 most sought-after technologies. Indeed, it is in high demand, with 11 million downloads in the first month of its release.

Quick features

Compared to other programming languages, Swift has various fast features. These include extraordinarily powerful generics, native error handling, protocol extensions, memory management, flexible enumeration, package management, debugging, source and binary accounting, tuples and closing syntax. These elements combine not only to make Swift modern, accessible and very easy to use, but also to avoid any constraint to its proper functioning.

Compare SWIFT to Objective-C

Objective-C is the main programming language for OS X and iOS development. It is object-oriented for general use and combines the features of C and Smalltalk. Nevertheless, Swift is not its direct successor. Both have their own capabilities and can be combined well. However, they have some notable differences. Swift allows development in Xcode, Swift Playgrounds, Cocoa Touch while Objective-C is mainly in XCode.

On the other hand, Swift is a modern and user-friendly language with a simple syntax, which means that the coding speed is faster. However, the coding speed decreases with Objective-C because the language is not as intuitive and user-friendly. According to Apple, Swift is 2.6 times faster than Objective-C. Unfortunately, Swift only supports iOS 7 and macOS 10.9 at least. So iPhones and iPads developed before 2014 will not be compatible with Swift applications, unlike Objective-C.

However, Swift is interoperable with Objective-C. Swift code can coexist with existing Objective-C files and Swift will also have access to Objective-C APIs.

What are the advantages of Swift?

Swift is a very modern programming language with several advantages.

Easy to learn and use

Its very first asset is that it is specially designed for beginner programmers. Swift Playgrounds for Ipad is enough to get started with Swift code and have access to courses. Swift is not only easy to learn, but also easy to use since it is very concise. It is a language very intuitive to learn. Having Swift skills can boost an application as Swift developers are in high demand. According to Indeed, the average salary for an iOS developer in the United States is $116,804.

Fast, secure, cross-platform

With its compiler LLVM and its standard library, Swift is ultra-fast and ultra-powerful. It is also modern, and guarantees an ample security. Swift has various security features, such as automatic memory management, value types and variable initialization. It claims clean and consistent code while providing safeguards to avoid errors and improve readability.

Swift is also cross-platform. And thanks to the support of Apple and IBM, Swift has managed to hold one of the most active and dynamic open source communities. It supports all platforms such as Apple, Linux, Windows and Ubuntu.

Introduction of dynamic libraries

Moreover, Swift is the first language that introduced dynamic libraries in the iOS. These exist outside the code and are only downloaded when needed, unlike traditional static libraries. The latter are locked in the code, become part of the executable file and increase its size and loading time.

Overall, Swift is a more preferable language because of its speed, safety and interactivity.

The limits of Swift

Although Swift is very advantageous, it does have its limitations.

A new and young language

First of all, it is a relatively new language. It appeared only 7 years ago and is therefore considered as a language very young. This means that some of its capabilities and resources are not as robust as other programming languages. Also, its cross-platform support is weak. True, Swift supports all platforms but it works best for native iOS development. The frequent updates Language is also a concern sometimes. This is what makes it difficult to find the right tools to help you perform certain tasks.

Poor interoperability with third-party tools and IDEs

Apple’s official IDE, XCode has developers complaining. Developers often report problems with syntax highlighting, autocomplete, re-factoring tools and compilers.

Incompatibility with earlier versions of iOS

Swift does not run only with iOS7 and later versions. In this case, it does not work for older versions of the operating system.

Could Swift be the future of iOS development?

Many companies have demonstrated the rise of Swift such as Uber, Lyft and Fitbit. Even if it is now considered too young, it is still one of the most promising languages.

Apple strives to improve it with each update, with more features and maturity. The adoption of this programming language has not stopped growing and will not stop. It could then completely replace Objective-C and become the leading language for iOS development. Although, Swift makes companies ready for any change imposed by the market.

Sources & Credits
Source: educative – Credit:

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