Swift 5 – A Game Changer For iOS App Development

By ongraph
February 24, 2020 | 278 Views

Latest Industry insights to keep you updated on the latest happenings.

In today’s time, Swift is where Java used to be in its initial days. 

Since it’s inception, Java went through repeated updates in order to advance into a language that brought stability and performance in the Android domain. 

Swift too, is undergoing updates so as to become a robust language on which exclusive and complex applications can be developed.

As per Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey, Swift was voted as the 6th most preferred programming language by about 90,000 developers. 

After undergoing 4 huge version updates, this year Swift launched two of its versions: Swift 5.0 and Swift 5.1. 

Both of these versions of Swift have brought some remarkable features that can play a crucial role in language adoption.  

Let’s take a look at the attributes of both of these Swift versions. Later on, we’ll dive into the special features of Swift 5 that makes it a perfect choice for iOS app development companies.

Attributes of Swift 5.0 Update 

Swift 5 update is one of the most substantial turning points to have contributed to the evolution of the language. Other than the comprehensive ABI stability, the Swift runtime has also been added to the Apple platform of both existing as well as future OS versions including iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS. 

The latest update of Swift 5 features has also introduced a myriad of new capabilities that serve as the building blocks of Apple’s vision. 

Here are some of the features of Swift 5:

  • ABI Stability

The key highlight of Swift 5 is stable ABI (Application Binary Interface). ABI is a binary equivalent of an API, which stands for Application Programming Interface. Developers write the code for your iOS apps using various API libraries. 

For instance, API uses the UIKit framework to interface with labels, buttons and view controllers.  

With ABI, while downloading and installing your app, a user won’t have to download all the code that your app requires. The majority of those codes will already be available on their iPhone, as part of iOS, its libraries, and frameworks. Your app will just be required to use the binary code that is already there which will lead to future apps being smaller as well as easier to develop.

  • Standard Library Updates 

The standard library of Swift 5 comes with the below-mentioned set of features:

-Reimplementation of the string with the UTF-8 encoding that leads to faster code.

-Raw texts have better support in the string literals.

-Incorporation of the SIMD vector and Result types.

-Enhanced performance in Set and Directory.

-Improvement in String implementation that results in flexibility for building text from data.

  • Package Manager Updates

Swift 5 has introduced various novel features in Swift Package Manager which includes customized deployment targets, target-specific build settings, dependency mirroring, and much more. Moreover, one can also import libraries now in a REPL with the help of Swift run command without building an executable.        

  • Additional Compiler and Language Updates 

Swift 5 brings Exclusivity Enforcement to the memory, for both debug and release builds. It also provides support to dynamic callable types, which leads to the improvement of interoperability with languages such as Python, Ruby and JavaScript.  

Other language proposals which Swift 5 implements are as follows:

-Handling of future enum cases

-Introduction of user-defined dynamic “callable” types

-Literal initialization via coercion

-Identity key path

-Supporting ‘less than’ operator in the compilation conditions

-Flatten nested options that emerge from ‘try?’

Attributes of Swift 5.1 Update 

Swift 5.1 extends the stability of Swift 5.0 with features such as stable module, latest features that enhance the ability of language and standard library such as property wrappers, diffing for appropriate collection types, opaque result types, new APIs for String, and much more.

Altogether, designing APIs with Swift 5.1 becomes a lot easier and also lowers the common boilerplate code. 

Below are some of the stand out features of Swift 5.1:  

  • Stable Module 

Building binary frameworks becomes possible with Swift 5.1 which can be shared with others who leverage the added support of the language for module stability. In turn, building iOS apps becomes extremely convenient and quick for developers.  

It illustrates a new text-based module interface file that defines the binary framework API, thus allowing it to get compiled with the codes using different versions of the compiler. 

  • Language Server Protocol

The OSS toolchain packages of Swift 5.1 for macOS and Ubuntu include binaries for the SourceKit-LSP, which is basically an implementation of LSP for Swift and C based languages. 

  • Standard Library Updates

The standard library of Swift 5.1 introduced the below mentioned new features, which makes it quite easy to understand how to build apps with Swift 5: 

-Enhanced flexibility for the initialization of an array.

-Support for updating as well as handling diffs on the collection of appropriate types.

-Identifiable protocol for enhancing reductions, vectors, and vector swizzles.

-APIs to work with Strings – constructing and handling contiguous strings, general initializers for Range and String.index, and helper for working with Unicode text. 

  • Additional Language and Compiler Updates

Swift 5.1 comes with below mentioned new language features:

-Property wrappers proposing consistent context for characterizing the custom access patterns for property values such as thread-specific storage, delayed initializers, atomic operations, etc. 

-Use of Self for value types and classes.

-No need for the return keyword for single expression getters or functions.

-Synthesis of default values by the compiler for the properties with default initializers. 

Why Swift 5.0 for Businesses?

Let’s discuss some of the benefits of Swift 5 features for the businesses:

  • Smaller app size

Swift 5 leads to binary compatibility of the language. This means that the apps developed using Swift 5 would be significantly smaller for the following operating systems – iOS 12.2, macOS 10.14.4, tvOS 12.2, and watchOS 5.2.

  • Faster Launch

This is another incomparable advantage of Swift 5. Since every dynamic library used in the application which amplifies the launch time will be cached in the memory and can be shared among the apps.  

  • Enhanced Performance 

No user likes a broken application. The app freeze and glitches are the major reason behind app uninstallation rate, which must be avoided by every business. Stable ABI of Swift 5 helps apps to perform better and offer greater performance. 

Final Words

Swift 5 with it’s latest features introduces lightweight syntax and collaborates robust type interference and pattern matching. This new version allows Swift developers to not only improve the readability of the code during the development of an iOS app but also express complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. 

So, if you have a new iOS app idea and want to launch it quickly then consider building it using Swift 5. In case you have any queries regarding Swift programming or iOS app development, do get in touch with us and our expert iPhone app developers will be happy to solve your queries. 

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