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How Swift is Shaping Modern iOS App Development

By Hopinfirst on September 15, 2018

The mobile phone app industry has been experiencing an upsurge of products with apps cropping up almost every second. Developers all over the globe are hard at work releasing applications they hope the market with receive with enthusiasm.

Apple took up the challenge to help make iOS application development a lot easier by introducing Swift in 2014. It is an intuitive and authoritative programming language you can use to develop apps for all Apple products. The language is as a result of deep research on programming languages and years of coming up with Apple platforms. It came in to replace Objective-C that has been in existence since 1984.

While most people think that it is only good for iPhones and iOS, you will be glad to note that the language can also code for iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

The launch of Swift helped shape development of iOS apps positively in numerous ways. It’s no wonder many big brands jumped into the bandwagon to develop their apps using Swift. Examples of such include:

  • LinkedIn.
  • Lyft.
  • Uber.
  • Airbnb and many more.

Let’s take a look at how Lyft took advantage of the programming language for their ride-hailing app.

How Lyft Benefitted From Swift

Lyft is an example of a company that decided to try out the newly launched programming language for their app. They did this by re-writing their entire iPhone app in Swift.

Chris Lambert the company’s CTO explained that although it was a huge risk, it was well calculated in that Apple hinted that it was the future. He was grateful that the investment paid off in a significant manner.

He reports that in just twelve months after rewriting the iPhone app, it has become highly functional. It adds new features faster while at the same time drastically reduces the time it takes to open the application.

Most importantly, Lambert says that it has worked well for the business. More iPhone users request for Lyft rides. He adds that the company has been able to double the lines of code that power their app because developers are more productive working with the new language.

After reading about this success story, let us go back to learning some of the ways that Swift is making changes to developing iOS apps.

#1. It Reduces Development Time

Developers whether novice or experienced appreciate a programming language that they can read without any difficulty. Swift offers this because it comes with a clean syntax, which makes the process of reading, writing and modifying a lot easier.

It also has fewer code lines to implement an option. The reason behind this is that it gets rid of legacy conversions. Experts agree that it comes close to resembling plain English making the entire process more natural. This results in saving both time and money making the process of app development more fun. Below is an example of a simple syntax using the “For-In” method with Swift.

With this programming language, you do not need to add any semicolons at the end of parenthesis when working with conditional statements. It helps to eliminate different types of mistakes that would crop up especially using Objective-C.

#2. Swift is Low-Maintenance

Developing an app and releasing it to users is not the end of the journey. You have to keep updating for users to continue enjoying using for the longest possible time. While using C, developers had to maintain two code files if they wanted to enhance the efficiency of the code. It is a thing of the past with Swift because it combines implementation (.m) and. (h) files into a single (.swift) file as seen below.

#3. It Offers Functional Programming

Swift embraces high-order functions like filter, map, flatMap, and reduces for iOS app development. To understand how this simplifies your code here is an example:

// Add 5 to each number in an array, and return the even results
let numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

// The traditional, imperative way
varnewNumbers: [Int] = []
for number in numbers {
   let newNum = number + 5
   if newNum % 2 == 0 {
newNumbers.append(newNum)
   }
}

// The functional, declarative way
varnewNumbersFP = numbers.map{ $0 + 5 }.filter { $0 % 2 == 0 }

These high order functions are highly beneficial in that they help individuals not only read but understand difficult functional programming. They also assist developers to enhance programming language skills to write more elegantly.

#4. It Is Built for Safety

Safety is a number one priority for anyone looking to come up with an app. You will not have to deal with any unsafe codes when working with Swift. It also makes use of the latest programming conventions to assist in maintaining watertight security on the apps.

Note that the programming language enables a person to define valuables as value types or optional types. It implies that a professional developer has the freedom to define whether the value exists or it is null (nil).

It means that should a developer take nil optional value by mistake, the programming language will trigger a runtime crash. This remains on the line of code forcing the developer to take care of any bugs immediately. Bottom line is that Swift does not open up any chances for you to develop harmful bugs or exception-free applications.

#5. Open Source

In 2015, Apple announced that the programming language was Open Source. It was a welcome move by a majority of the developers because it means that Swift can be used across different platforms and for backend infrastructure as well. It is among the primary reasons many developers prefer to use it instead of other available programming languages.

It is safe to state that the decision from Apple contributed significantly to Swift’s development and adoption. It is among the top programming languages in the globe. The way things are going, it will soon occupy the first position and remain there for a while.

#6. Experiment Possibilities

Swift comes with a playground mode that individuals can take advantage of to work on some application concepts. It makes things a lot easier because it gives you a real picture of how the app will turn out, so that you can know whether to proceed or work on a more viable project.

It is vital to add that the programming language supports dynamic libraries. These refer to executable bits of code that developer’s link to an application. It permits current Swift apps to link with fresher versions of the language in future years as it evolves.

You can download the libraries to the memory directly. The move will increase the performance of the app, since it cuts down the original size.

#7. Easy to Understand

Swift is not exclusive to developers who have had years of experience in the field. Its documentation is pretty forthright, which means that anyone can take advantage of it to end up with a top-notch app.

It is an interesting read that explains things in a straightforward manner with helpful examples. You can use Swift docs as a reference to uncover plenty of beneficial material. There is also an active online community where you can get assistance when you have questions.

Many people agree that in less than four months, you should be able to realize your dream of making fantastic apps easily with Swift.

There are limitless reasons why you should consider using open-source Apple’s Swift for iOS app development including speed, ease of use and security. Trust that it will give you the results you want whether you are an expert developer or just want to build apps as a hobby.

This article is contributed by Patel Nasrullah , co-founder at Peerbits.

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