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Picking The Best Language For iOS App Development In 2021

Most of the mobile application market is occupied by native development, which is “sharpened” to work on devices running certain operating systems. The most popular operating systems now are iOS, which runs all Apple devices, and Android. The latter OS is successfully used by many companies and is more versatile, while iOS remains an exclusive Apple product.

iOS professionals, who quickly deliver clean code that runs on iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches, use different programming languages ​​that have significant differences. In this article, we will analyze what iOS applications are made on and what development tools programmers use to improve their work.

Types and directions of applications

Before proceeding directly to the topic of development, you should talk about what applications are and why they are created. You can divide applications into:

Native ones that target only one specific Android or iOS platform. Such applications are quickly installed, work easily and fully interact with the technical capabilities of the gadget without depending on the Internet connection. Native app development comes at a higher cost and is considered a forward-looking strategic move.

Cross-platform applications are created for several platforms at once. They use the JavaScript programming language and its frameworks, on which you can implement projects for different platforms. Cross-platform development is suitable for non-custom projects and can be no less efficient, but less resource-intensive.

In addition to the technical characteristics, it must be said about the typical variety. Applications can be divided into many groups, for example:

  • Entertainment (games, image processing, audio and video formats).
  • Helpers (search for information, weather applications, etc.).
  • Informational (news, events, etc.)
  • Social networks
  • For leisure (sports, hobbies, travel)
  • E-commerce – mobile online stores (the ability to purchase through applications).
  • B2B applications in the structure (internal control systems and organization of processes within the company).

Each group has its own characteristics and allows you to fully reveal the possibilities of business, entertainment or social projects.

For example, creating an application for a restaurant is one of the main components of the successful operation of the entire restaurant business, regardless of whether it is a small coffee shop or a chain of trendy cafes. The mobile project will perform several important functions: attracting the attention of new customers, increasing sales, maintaining the interest of existing clientele, increasing the profitability of the business, effectively and easily managing one or a chain of restaurants.

IOS mobile app development process

Development of applications for iOS is carried out in a fairly standard and at the same time, way unique for each case. The process includes planning, research and clear focus. For an application to be successful, there are a number of steps that must be followed correctly during development. As a rule, the whole cycle consists of 7 stages.

Development stages

Planning and writing the Terms of Reference. Before starting work, you need to know for which target audience the iOS application will be developed, what tasks it will have to solve and what functions will be required for the effective functioning of the program. In addition, it is necessary to comprehensively research the market in order to understand whether the application will be competitive and in demand. This stage also includes the preparation of technical specifications for development.

Engineering and design. The next step is prototyping and interface design – UX / UI. After agreeing on prototypes, the designer creates a visualization of the screens that users will see on their mobile devices.

Front-end development. The user directly interacts with the external interface of the application, therefore, at this stage, attention is concentrated on working with different design elements. A well-designed interface allows the application to function efficiently on screens of different characteristics and sizes. This allows it to display correctly on both earlier iPhones and newer models.

Back-end development. The initial development step, which is responsible for a functional iOS application. This stage includes server-side development, and more specifically: authentication, functioning of user accounts, setting up interaction with them, integration with social networks, push notifications, and much more.

API creation. The API or Application Programming Interface links the backend and front end of a mobile app. The API is one of the most important elements for building an iOS application.

Testing. After the completion of each stage of development, the application is necessarily tested to make sure that the application is fully operational without errors and failures.

Start-up and maintenance. At the end of testing, the application can be published in the App Store. Adding to the store does not mean completing the work. Any software requires service and support, as well as improvements to current functions and the addition of new capabilities.

IOS Application Programming Languages

Objective-C and Swift programming languages ​​are used to develop programs for devices running iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, macOS, watchOS. They are the main languages ​​for writing iOS applications. These languages ​​are object-oriented and make it possible to group similar tasks in the process of writing code, which significantly speeds up and simplifies the work of developers.

Objective-C programming language

Objective-C is older. It was first introduced back in the 80s of the last century. Gradually, it was refined and became the main one for Apple devices, therefore, using Objective-C, you can create applications for any technique of the “apple” corporation. The advantages of this language include a high degree of code support, a huge database of training materials and a large community, similarity with the C language family, compatibility with the younger Swift language.

Objective-C is also known as ObjC or Obj-C. It is Apple’s compiled object-oriented programming language that is built on the C language and Smalltalk paradigms. Objective-C is fully C compatible and C code compiles. The object model is built in the Smalltalk style, that is, messages are sent to objects. The Objective-C compiler is included with GCC and is available on most major platforms. The language is used primarily for two implementations of the OpenStep object-oriented interface – MacOS X (Cocoa) and GNUstep.

It should be said that this language is also message-oriented, unlike C ++, which is function-oriented. In Objective-C, method calls are interpreted not as a function call, but rather as sending a message (with a name and arguments) to an object, just as it does in Smalltalk. Such a system provides a number of advantages – any object can send any messages. Thus, instead of processing the message, an object can delegate its authority to another object to carry out processing. In this way, distributed objects that are in different spaces can be easily implemented. Messages are bound to the corresponding function right at runtime.

In the language, the concept of an object interface and a protocol have a clear separation. Multiple inheritance is supported for protocols, but not multiple inheritance for objects. An object can inherit from another object and support several protocols at once.

Swift programming language

In 2014, Apple introduced a new programming language called Swift. According to the developers, this language has absorbed the best from the popular Objective-C and C, and at the same time received more powerful and convenient functionality, more modern tools.

The main advantages of this language include high speed of program development, code reduction, better readability, support for dynamic libraries, and improved security. Swift and Objective-C are compatible, so they can be used even within the same project.

Security is one of the features of Swift. This language is much safer than obj-c, thanks to the introduction of innovations and syntax upgrades. The possibility of unauthorized access to data is virtually nonexistent thanks to improvements in memory management. More efficient script handling, in turn, reduced the number of critical scripts.

Visualizing the result is also an important point to pay attention to. Swift has a special Playground sandbox that allows you to demonstrate how the program works. This system allows you to reduce development time and allows you to quickly find problems in the code.

The Swift language continues to evolve, and more and more developers are switching to it or starting their career with it. Apple itself relies on Swift, but it’s definitely not worth completely abandoning Objective-C. 

Development environment

Now you know what iOS applications are developed on, and you can proceed to get acquainted with the development environments used by programmers. The most popular integrated development environment (IDE) is the free Xcode product, made by Apple itself.

Development environment

Now you know what iOS applications are developed on, and you can proceed to get acquainted with the development environments used by programmers. The most popular integrated development environment (IDE) is the free Xcode product, made by Apple itself.

Xcode is the main development environment

Xcode is a user-friendly application with an impressive set of useful tools that greatly speed up and simplify the process of writing programs. In one environment, you can write an application, conduct testing and optimization, and build it immediately on the desired iOS device.

The single window interface greatly simplifies the work of the developer, and in the process of writing the code, the program will indicate to the programmer about the error, if it appears. Xcode has an integrated IB (Interface Builder) application that allows you to develop graphical interfaces, customize styles and fonts.

If you need to work with maps to create your app, Xcode provides a function to simulate geolocation. Thanks to the built-in simulator, the programmer will be able to test his development, and the debugger will help to find errors and possible errors in the layout.

And these are just the main advantages of this iOS application development environment. The main competitor of XCode is the development of JetBrains – AppCode with excellent autocompletion, good integration with issue trackers, and detailed error descriptions. But this IDE is unlikely to be used as the main and only one, and in most cases developers return to Xcode.


Choosing the best programming language for iOS is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your app. It is essential for a company to first identify the type of app they want to build and then look for a programming language that matches their needs. By defining your needs and expectations, you can identify the best solution for you.


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