Even though it’s second to Android in terms of market share, the iOS app development ecosystem keeps growing infinitely as Apple continues to lead the wave of new innovations in technology while being a globally trusted, high-value brand name. 

With the growing popularity of SwiftUI, the biggest trend in declarative UI to MAC Catalyst and ARKit, iOS development always has something edgy and futuristic to offer to its developer community. As more and more IT workforce enters the world of iOS app development, it becomes necessary to understand the programming landscape for competitive advantage.

What are the best platforms for a developer to build iOS apps? Let’s find out.

Objective-C: The main programming language for macOS, iOS, until 2014, Objective-C is an object-oriented programming language for general-purpose activities. It’s a superset of C programming language. It’s great at managing memory and allows for object-oriented programming supporting Encapsulation, Data Hiding, Inheritance, and Polymorphism. It’s not terribly difficult to learn for beginners and is predicted to be in use by plenty of people for the next five years, at least. It has a good run-time, supports powerful SDKs, and a trusted legacy code. Developers find Objective-C to be elegant, precise, and easy to update; however, some think it a dinosaur era of iOS programming.

Swift

Launched in 2014, Swift language is the apple of Apple’s eye. It’s known as a highly intuitive, general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language that developers are flocking to since its inception. It has a lightweight syntax, automatic memory management, faster and interactive coding. Developers find its readability paired with the safety of fewer crashes to be a big plus. 

It is open-source and also supports dynamic libraries. While the code is being written, it is supported by the Playgrounds feature, enabling developers to receive instant feedback. The code is cleaner and less prone to errors. It initialises Variables before use and checks arrays and integers for overflow. Swift offers ABI stability so users only download as much code as needed when installing an app. It incorporates higher-order functions as tools to ensure powerful results. The Protocol-Oriented-Programming (POP) and first-class value semantics are ideal for productivity and code reusability and improvement.

3. C++

It’s supported by Xcode, which is the regular iOS IDE. C++ mixes with Objective-C and can be used to build iOS apps. A feature called Objective-C++ is supported by default in iOS. The main reason for using it is to port an app created on another platform to iOS. If the part of code is already written in C++, it’s easier to port. C++ is also object-oriented but works more in compile-time rather than run-time. Visual Studio has cross-platform tools to develop iOS apps as well. Swift may be the default language for iOS, but C++ can easily build iOS apps if the large part of the codebase is already C++ logic. View controllers need to be still built in Objective-C or Swift, though. After all, C++ is a general-purpose language, but you’ll need to know your tools well. 

4. Xamarin

.Net developers use Xamarin to integrate design from Xcode. It’s an easy way to build cross-platform apps. Developers can create native iOS apps using C# and the same UI controls in Xcode. There are certainly required installs, such as the latest Visual Studio, iOS SDKs, Xcode, and the minimum required macOS version. Essentially, it’s a great cross-platform framework to build apps with a single codebase. It uses C#, which is already a popular language among developers. Xamarin uses the Mono execution environment. Microsoft developers should have an easy time building apps on Xamarin.

5. Python

Since it’s already the world’s most popular programming language, coders are already at ease using it. The code for an iOS app needs to be first written in Python and later converted to Objective-C using developers’ guidelines. You’d have to use scripting language translation. Using Kivy, Python’s open-source library, to create GUIs across platforms, Python coded apps can function on iOS. Since Python is highly advanced, it’s ideal for gaming development, image sharing sites, music streaming, etc. You can use PyMob to create app code, which then gets converted to native source code for the iOS platform. 

6. React Native

Created by Facebook, React Native is a platform for developing Android and iOS apps by using React along with native platforms. It uses Javascript to create mobile apps. It is easy to learn and has great developer reviews. Touted as the ideal framework for new and experienced iOS developers, it has produced great success stories of performant iOS apps.

These are only six of the most famous and recognised platforms currently for iOS apps, as newer cross-platform frameworks and tools are always emerging. Developers should compare which platform is best suited for their particular use-case or project before learning the basics.