The two major languages in use today to develop iOS apps are Objective-C and Swift. Objective-C is a durable language in that it was launched in the 1980s and still has not fully lost its importance. Objective-C programming was Apple’s default coding method until Swift was released as Apple’s native programming language. However, Objective-C is still a major language used in the coding of iOS and other operating systems. Even with the introduction of Swift, it has not lost its relevance as Swift works fine with the Objective-C coding in Apple devices. And many developers prefer iOS Objective-C combination as they are used to coding iOS in C-based languages. For these reasons, Objective-C is expected to be around for iOS coding for some more time, even though Swift has been gradually attracting more users.
Objective-C Characteristics and features
As is obvious from the name, Objective-C is an Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) language. It was derived from C like some other languages such as C++, C#, etc. Objective-C was an improvement on the C language, transforming it to be compatible for Object-Oriented programming. Today, it works with several Object libraries which are in turn tied to certain operating systems; for iOS, it works with Cocoa Touch. Since Objective-C was built upon C, it can readily accept any C-coding in its programs without any disruption. Owing to the maturity of the language, the number of updates and hassles with migrations are less. Objective-C coding is reliable as it has passed through more than 30 years of coding and testing that has perfected it to a great extent.
A strong foundation in the language is needed for anyone to develop iOS apps using Objective-C programming. The best way to learn Objective-C is to familiarize yourself with the essential concepts thoroughly before taking the plunge into hardcore programming. Once the foundation is strong, you can go forward with programming. And with constant practice, you can become an expert. A few of the terms denoting certain essential concepts related to Objective-C coding would be:
- Object: One of the basic components in the program, like Variable, Array, etc.
- Class: The entity that determines the characteristics of an Object.
- Interface file: A file that declares a Class.
- Implementation file: A file that defines a Class.
- Variable: A storage space filled with a value that varies within a range.
- Constant: A value that remains unaltered.
- Loop: A set of statements executed multiple times repeatedly.
- Array: A set of variables with similar properties.
- Function: A sequence of statements that performs a specific task.
- Pointer: A variable whose value specifies the address of another.
- Operators: Arithmetic, relational etc operators represented by symbols like +, = etc.
- Data types: Classification of data. E.g., String, Boolean, Integer, etc.
- Inheritance: The methodology of defining a Class with respect to another.
Useful resources for learning
One can gain in-depth knowledge about the above concepts and more and learn to code Objective-C with the help of numerous resources and documentation available online and become an expert in the language. Udemy, Ray Wenderlich, etc. provide great iOS Objective-C tutorials. Additionally, you may want to check out places like GitHub and Stack Overflow, which are happening online communities where knowledge is shared, and questions are answered.
Objective-C is one of the oldest and mature programming languages in use today. With the arrival of Swift from Apple, its role in iOS coding has diminished a bit. However, it has not fully lost its relevance and will stay some more, thanks to many positive features it possesses, along with various other reasons.