Mobile apps are now indispensable for virtually every online business. According to the latest data from StatCounter, as much as 56% of online connections occur through mobile devices. Moreover, the same data revealed that roughly 27% of those are iOS devices.
It is evident that iOS development is something worth investing in. Over the past six years, the mobile app development industry has boomed, to say the least. In 2022, the revenue from mobile app development is projected to hit US$ 693 billion.
In case you are wondering what is iOS app development and which language is best suited for this purpose, you’re reading the right post. While most businesses are searching for ways to benefit from mobile app uptick, many fail to build an app successfully.
Success in this highly lucrative landscape can turn to reality if you have a clear understanding of how mobile app development works and the best programming languages to use. To help you out, we’ve curated the top 5 iOS languages…
Created by Apple in 2014, Swift was widely regarded as a game-changer in mobile app development This open-source programming language served as the successor to Objective-C and was specially designed to work with Apple OS, including iOS, macOS, OS X, watchOS, iPadOS, and tvOS platforms.
Based on the Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey, Swift is the world’s 17th most popular programming language and it is used by 5.9% of developers globally.
- Easy to learn and ensures fast development process
- Has an excellent IDE called Xcode, which includes libraries that makes it easy to use
- Great for creating apps quickly that you can easily expand later
- Allows you to write safe and reliable code
- It is regularly updated, so you can easily make any enhancements to your app
- Small pool of talented Swift developers
- Limited resources when compared to more established languages like Java or Objective-C
The predecessor of Swift, this was created as on extension of the powerful general-purpose programming language C, with the addition of Smalltalk-style messaging. It was developed in 1984 by Brad Cox and Tom Love at their software company Productivity Products International (PPI) which was later renamed as StepStone.
Objective C ranked 20th in Stack Overflow’s popularity report, making it three notches lower than Swift. It is currently used by 4.1% of developers worldwide.
It was licensed by the late Steve Jobs when he founded NeXT computers and he eventually carried it over to Apple. In fact, Objective-C was the primary iOS coding language before Swift was introduced, and is used for programming for Apple’s operating systems like OS X and iOS and their Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), namely Cocoa and Cocoa Touch.
So when should you use Objective-C for iOS development?
Comparing Swift and Objective-C, there are certain instances when Objective-C is the better choice. It is a mature programming language and you should consider it if you want to build an application that’s available for all, including the older iterations of iOS that are not supported by Swift.
- Dynamic typing /expressive message syntax
- Maturity and stability
- Dynamic Run-Time
- Automatic garbage collection
- A little outdated (the latest version was released in 2016)
- Difficult to learn
- Limited functionality
- Unavailable as open-source
- Low-level security
- Declining popularity, so it can be a challenge finding developers
C# is a modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language that was developed as Microsoft’s counter to Java. Further, it is comparable to Microsoft application development as Objective-C is for Apple.
C# is closely integrated with the .NET platform and is typically used to write apps for Windows systems. However, since the .NET framework was introduced to Linux and Mac, native software can be developed in this language for almost any platform, including iOS.
This multi-paradigm programming language is highly coveted and based on Stack Overflow’s survey, C# is ranked 5th in the Tiobe August 2021 index. It is also widely regarded as one of the most versatile coding languages in the world.
So when should you use C# for iOS development?
The turning point for mobile C# development was the launch of Xamarin for building iOS and Android apps. It uses Mono, a free and open-source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET platform that runs on all major OS and provides for cross-platform development using only C#
- Open-source and makes iOS development easier for intermediate to advanced level developers.
- Supports cross-platform app development
- Offers a rich library
- Provides better cost-benefit than other coding languages
- Scalable and updatable
- Fast speed and high performance
- Very popular and has a vast talent pool
- Difficult to learn for beginners
- Consists of a poor platform Graphical User Interface (GUI)
- Lack of flexibility
Released by Google in 2011, Dart is a programming language that can be used to build iOS applications with a single codebase. It’s an open-source mobile software development kit (SDK) that’s emerging as one of the most popular mainstream technologies for mobile applications as the search for the best cross-platform programming framework continues to be everyone’s obsession.
Dart’s core framework is called Flutter and it’s the reason for the surge in popularity of this programming language. Developers appreciate how the entire coding process relies on widgets that work seamlessly with each other. You can use them to create reliable and visually appealing user interfaces.
iOS apps built using Dart offer a native-like feeling with a single base of code. It therefore saves time and money. On the whole, Dart was created to make the entire development process as fast and easy as possible.
- Easy to learn and object-oriented
- High performance
- Good documentation
- Stable and generates a real-time app
- Utilises AOT and JIT compilation
- Still in development
- Limited online resources
- Absence of native support
- Reduces the codebase by 95%, saving you time and money
- Code reuse and pre-developed components
- Provides for image and video editing
- Simplified user interface
- Allows software developers to write modules in languages like C, Java and Swift
- Fast growing and large community
- Live and hot reloading
- Compatibility issues
- Difficult to debug
- Less mature than other mobile technologies
These are the top programming languages for iOS app development. Choosing which one to use is a crucial decision that can have a huge impact on your app idea’s success. This is why you must clearly define your needs and expectations, then pick the best solution for you.
Note, however, that programming languages are not enough, you need to improve your iOS app development skills. If you need help regarding iOS app development service, then choose a reliable company like JhavTech Studios to help bring your project to fruition.