Apple has made its products iconic in every type of device they’ve made. There isn’t a more successful phone model than iPhone, and the smartwatch trend was launched by Apple Watch. All of their devices have tons of features that are unique because of their quality and comfort of use.
Starting from seemingly small integrated details that make your life easier, and ending with life-changing systems like ApplePay. You won’t surprise anyone by making a payment with your phone today, but it was a true innovation at the time. And of course, the core of all of their devices is the iOS.
iOS is the operating system developed by Apple. It’s used by most of their machines, but you can install it on non-Apple hardware too. Most iOS development services wouldn’t recommend doing that, though. Professional programmers from Develux often run into software issues that occur because of users’ failed attempts to install iOS on random devices. So, better trust this matter to experts.
But what’s the language used for iOS app development? Is there a specific one that one should use or basic C will do? The answer is simple – yes, there is one created by Apple themselves. But before we get deeper into the subject, here’s a list of the languages that can be used:
- Objective-C – old adjusted C language for Apple devices
- Swift – main iOS app development language
- C# – with the help of specialized tool Xamarin, iOS apps can be created in this one too
- Python – some libraries and functions can be created with the use of it
- C++ – has some libraries that are usable for iOS programming
- HTML 5 – mainly web development language, can be utilized for non-native (hybrid) applications
However, as you can see, Python, HTML, and C++ aren’t that convenient. Some of the project work can be done with them, but it’s not recommended and you will be always limited in features and system support.
Objective C has been in use by Apple since 1984. It means 2 things – it’s reliable and outdated. Of course, a language that has been in use for so long needs to be respected, as its stability is flawless. However, it also means that Objective-C lacks all the modern features and tools, even with all the updated and modern adjustments.
Nobody says that you shouldn’t use it, though. The main feature of Objective-C is the simplicity and the message passing system. It has that messaging style that was heavily influenced by Smalltalk. And that’s what made this coding language so popular among Apple programmers.
So, the core here is the message sending process. Instead of calling a method, a user sends a message in Objective-C. Each of them is given a unique selector that will be used to find the respective process. That means this system doesn’t check the type of the method itself. Therefore, a receiving object isn’t guaranteed to respond to the message, thus making an exception.
But enough with the deeply technical part. What’s so great about this language is that it’s the derivative of C, one of the oldest and the most popular ones in the programming world. Any Objective-C compiler can be used to work with the usual C, and including C class objects in the former isn’t a problem, either.
Also, the word “objective” in its name represents the object-addressing capabilities, explained previously as the message sending system. The source implementation programs of this language usually have .m filename extensions. Interface/header parts are marked as .h files.
This seemingly perfect coding language has been used by almost every iOS app company out there for decades. Until Apple decided that they need to develop one themselves. The one that would be modern, include all innovative tools and capabilities, and be stable, fast, and reliable. A decent successor to Objective C, shortly speaking.
Swift was created back in 2014 to provide Apple software creators with a modern environment in all aspects of programming. An LLVM framework compiler was developed, too, so that everyone could use XCode (Apple’s Integrated Development Environment) to compile Objective-C, C++, and Swift in a single program.
One of the main goals of Swift was the ability to work with an enormous amount of software created on its predecessor. Because you can’t just neglect programs that were made in the course of 40 years of Objective-C’s existence. It includes support for such multi-core processing concepts as dynamic dispatch and widespread late binding.
Yet, it didn’t only include them but improved every single tiny detail to make testing, debugging, and fixing the issues much easier. Needless to say, the number of potential errors decreased dramatically. Stability and reliability have been the main focus of the core development team from the beginning of its existence. Because nowadays, supporting innovative tools and features are worthless if the language isn’t stable enough.
So, when Swift finally took first place in popularity among iOS developers, nobody was surprised. Apple and open-source community members that took a huge part in the development did a truly great job.
It supports every platform out there, too – Apple, Linux, and Windows, allowing any iOS app company to use whatever system they like. You’re not limited to Apple products by any means, even if you’re creating software for them. And if you’re an aspiring coder and app creator, Swift is really easy to learn. Especially counting the number of guides on how to make an iPhone app in this language.
C# is another derivative of C. It’s one of the most commonly used and well-known languages out there, going hand by hand with C++. The main advantage of C# is that you don’t need to learn anything new if you want to work with iOS. The only thing you need to do is install the Xamarin tool for your compiler.
It will allow you to create native apps for Apple’s platforms, without getting into a completely new environment. But as you could probably guess, it comes with a cost. Being not the specialized language for this type of system, C# does have some limitations in terms of features and accessibility.
Also, as modern Apple products are oriented to work with Swift, the increase in potential bugs and issues with C# is to be expected. But don’t let that scare you. After all, a wise approach to compatibility and careful usage of resources will easily let you omit any possible problems.
It just comes to the question of whether you’re ready to put effort into learning a new programming language. Because if you’re an old school C programmer – getting into Swift may not seem that appealing. And if you’re new in this sphere – switching from Swift to C may be hard later. In such cases, C# may seem like a better solution for your software.
The first thing you need to pay attention to when exploring iOS development today is Swift. It’s developed and promoted by Apple, meaning that it’s their recommendation. However, don’t let this blind you. Swift is great, but acknowledging other options like Objective C or C# is important, too. And if you have some particular ideas in mind that only Python, C++, or HTML 5 can turn into reality – go ahead. Just remember that your main concern should always be the stable and reliable functionality of your product.