Swift vs. Python: A Mobile Developer's Perspective
Python is an object-oriented general purpose language used for a variety of purposes, including machine learning, web development, and mobile development, among other things. Swift is a high-level programming language mainly used for mobile development in iOS.
Both are fundamentally different. In this post, we'll take a deep dive into these two languages and find which is best for your operations.
Python was developed by Guido van Rossum in 1991, and its growth has been upward since its release. It's a general-purpose, open-source language used to complete a wide variety of tasks.
There are a lot of open-source frameworks and packages made in Python. Machine learning and data analysis represent the most popular uses of Python in 2022. There are a lot of packages in Python, including TensorFlow and OpenCV, that are used for machine learning.
Python is very popular in web development, especially in terms of the back end. It has two very popular back-end frameworks called Flask and Django that are used to create back-end APIs.
Python is also very popular for web-scrapping. Through web-scrapping, we can get raw data from a lot of websites that's used for a variety of tasks. Python has scrapping libraries like Scrapy to complete these tasks.
Python is also a very good scripting language. For example, DevOps uses it to write automated scripts that complete a variety of tasks, including creating continuous integration/continuous deployment pipelines.
As a successor to the Objective-C language, Swift was developed by Apple and released in 2014. Both are used to develop mobile apps for the iOS platform.
Swift is much easier to use than Objective-C, as it uses a modern approach to programming with features taken from all modern languages.
It's designed for one purpose only: to develop apps for various Apple platforms, including apps for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Since it was released, Swift has grown rapidly. Its syntax is much easier than its predecessor Objective-C.
Considering this code, write a simple string variable called NSString in Objective-C:
Now, here's the code to write string in Swift:
Swift apps are preferred over creating apps with platforms like React Native and Flutter. Using Swift, we can have better access to Native iOS features. The performance is also better.
Python is the most popular language in the world because of its easy syntax and tons of libraries. Instagram and Pinterest are some of the top companies that use Python.
It's also a very popular choice to do back-end development with frameworks like Django and Flask. However, Python is most popular in machine learning and used by data scientists and data science teams. The average annual salary of a Python developer is $120,000.
In contrast, Swift is a fairly new language, and it was created to develop apps for Apple platforms. Swift quickly grew in popularity because its predecessor Objective-C was very hard to learn and master.
Swift's syntax is very easy in comparison to Objective-C, so it became very popular among mobile app developers. Swift is now the ninth most-popular language in the world. The average annual salary of a Swift developer is $93,000.
Ease of Learning
Python is also the easiest language in the world. It's very much beginner-friendly and recommended for anyone who wants to enter the software development field.
We have both object-oriented and procedural language features in Python. Using procedural programming, you can divide your code into smaller fragments using functions. Additionally, using the concept of classes in object-oriented programming, you can achieve inheritance.
Swift is also a very easy language to learn, especially if you're coming from a background with Python. It has a lot of similarities with the Python language regarding syntax.
We again have both object-oriented and procedural language features in Swift. Swift was initially a proprietary language, but it became open source in December 2015.
Python has two frameworks for mobile development, Kivy and Beewarel. However, these aren't as popular as the top four languages/frameworks: Swift, Kotlin, React Native, and Flutter.
Swift was created for mobile development in the Apple platform. So, it's used to create iOS apps, iPad apps, and MacOS apps. Out of those, iOS apps, which run on the iPhone, are the most popular.
Advantages of Python
Python is completely open source and has a very strong community that contributes to its growth. Since it's the most popular language in the world, you'll find a lot of Stack overflow articles that can help whenever you're stuck.
Python works on all three operating system—Windows, MacOS, and Linux—with ease, which is another reason for its popularity. It also has a wide range of libraries created by different open-source enthusiasts like Django, Flask, Scrapy, and others.
Disadvantages of Python
Python is also not a fast language. Compared to its peers, it's slow.
Furthermore, the language is not at all suited for mobile development, and its Kivy and BeeWare libraries are relatively unknown.
Advantages of Swift
Apple maintains and updates Swift on a regular basis.
The memory management of Swift is very good, which makes it one of the fastest languages around. Mobile apps made with Swift perform better than apps created using React Native and Flutter.
Disadvantages of Swift
Swift is a relatively new language that also has its disadvantages. For example, you find far fewer Swift developers. Additionally, a lot of small startups and agencies prefer React Native or Flutter over Swift.
Using React Native or Flutter, you can also develop Android apps, whereas Swift allows you to develop apps for the Apple ecosystem and not anything else.
Developing mobile apps with Swift requires a Mac machine. So, development with Swift is very much dependent on a MacOS operating system. We can't use Swift to develop mobile apps using the Windows or Linux operating systems.
Testing is very important when we create mobile apps or code in general. Python has a built-in testing module called unitest for doing unit testing. Similarly, Swift has a built-in testing framework called XCTest.
However, mobile apps also require integration testing and manual testing to test every feature.
Writing a unit test then completing integration testing and manual testing requires a lot of effort. Instead of going through all of these complex steps, we can use the no-code testing platform Waldo.
In Waldo, we do user interactions like clicking on buttons that are a common feature in any mobile app. Create a free Waldo account here to test its features.
In this post, we've learned about Python and Swift, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.
When it comes to popularity and ease of learning, the winner is Python.
However, Swift is the clear winner for mobile app development. Its only purpose is to create apps for the Apple ecosystem. On the other hand, the general purpose language of Python is not suitable for mobile development. So, from a mobile developer perspective, the overall winner in Swift.
Importantly, unit testing is possible in both languages using the unitest and XCTest frameworks, respectively. Alternatively, you can also test apps with the no-coding platform Waldo.