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Sep 15, 21  |  Sharjeel Ashraf

Objective C Learning Curve: What You Should Know?

Many people often ask questions whether they should learn Objective C or Swift first. There is a saying that learning Objective C is better to get your concepts cleared before you transition to Swift.

So, in this article, we will discuss if Objective C learning curve is steep or shallow?

Let’s learn more about Objective C learning curve in detail.

Is Learning Objective C hard?

Objective C is not hard but requires technical expertise. If you are a complete beginner, it is better to watch videos available on YouTube to get you started. Since Objective C works on the Object Oriented Programming (OOP) concept, you need to understand the concepts of classes, objects, and functions.

With that said, if you are familiar with C language - which most CS graduates are, you can easily start learning Objective C from scratch.

Besides, today many tutorials are available online that you can use to learn Objective C in detail.

Should I learn Objective-C before Swift?

As a total beginner to iOS development people often ask this question: should I learn Objective-C before Swift? 

People ask these questions because learning Objective C helps give a better grounding for app development than just jumping right into the latest version of Swift?

So, what is the answer? 

The answer is simple: Yes! If you learn Objective C it will give you a good grounding. Obj-C is also a great app to create iPhone apps. However, since the transition is now moved to Swift, you can use that for creating Apple iPhone apps.

But what if I don’t want to learn Objective C?

Swift 3 now works standalone. You can learn the syntax and use it to scale forward. It has leveled off to a point where what you learn now can be used going forward.

That being said, Objective-C and Swift are just languages. That's the easy thing to learn. The languages are just syntax that you will be using to create your mobile apps. But the more important thing is the framework itself. You'll spend most of your time learning the frameworks such as Foundation, Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. These are the iOS development frameworks that you will be using for your mobile apps.

Swift itself is now a complete package in itself. Many sample codes are now available for Swift. Having said that, if you find that the samples you need to reference are in Objective-C, it may be helpful to at least learn the basic syntax of the Objective C language.

Learn Both If Needed: Objective C and Swift

If you are using Swift 2.x version then you don’t need to learn Objective C. However, if you are using Swift 3.x for developing an iOS app then you may need Objective C at some level for creating the samples available. 

At least an understanding of Objective C and Swift both is required when developing iOS apps.

When to Learn Objective C before Swift?

  • Objective C is here to stay. If you are using Swift or not, Objective C has a lot of samples available that can help you develop iOS apps properly.
  • You should start learning Objective C if you are looking to solidify your concepts. Swift is not using the same syntax as that of Objective C. It is closer to Python and Ruby - something that gives it a more human friendly touch.
  • Objective C is also an old version of the way iOS apps are developed so grasping it for any iOS developer is crucial. Think of it this way: What if you have to use Objective C for developing an app?

Objective C Learning Curve: Is Swift Easier?

Yes, Swift is a lot easier to learn in comparison with Objective C. The reason is simple: 

To put it in a different way, learning a language is much much easier than learning frameworks. So be sure to set aside the necessary time for each endeavor.

Swift is much easier to learn than Objective-C.

Here are the main pros and cons iOS developers think Objective-C to Swift have:

Pros: Swift is Better than Objective C because

  • Swift source is smaller than the Objective-C source. What it means is that you need to have less typing and smaller code and this is a good thing.
  • Swift offers Optionals
  • Enums, structs and classes all first-class citizens
  • Difficult or impossible to introduce certain types of errors
  • Much much easier to work with mutable vs immutable types

Cons of Using Swift:

  • Swift is still evolving and developing on a regular basis. Still, the quantity of on-going changes may be too high for some. That is why Swift is still not the first platform you should learn if you are starting iOS app development. As discussed earlier, Objective C is a better approach to strengthen your concepts.
  • Some specialized code is quite tricky to get right for a testing infrastructure in Swift and there is a lack of documentation. This is not the case with Objective C. That is why it is important to start with Objective C to improve your concepts and make your own way through it.

Bottom-line: Is Objective C Harder to Learn?

No, Objective C is not harder to learn. In fact, you don’t need to master it to get started. Because you learn by doing and you make mistakes.

Many people that are starting iOS development and have the option to choose either Objective C or Swift have this one problem to go with Swift. They surely can if they know how to code. But Objective C is not all about that. It is an infrastructure. You need to understand the basics before you can move forward. Moreover, Swift itself is easy to learn. If you want to learn what goes behind the algorithms and how they work, Objective C will be far better for you.


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