Archive for August 13, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Objective-Swift

Brent Simmons:

Now, these aren’t really problems with Swift — they’re problems with pure Swift. […] Given that, I made the pragmatic decision to start using @objc protocols, classes, and collection types where those things make sense, where Swift fought against my design.

And suddenly the language is a joy to use. It’s like Objective-C but with type inference, no .h files, fewer imports, shorter syntax — and I get the things I was missing.

This is my current approach as well. Swift has a lot to offer just as a better Objective-C. I’m not enamored with generics, and protocols seem like a good idea that in practice is currently too much of a pain to use. Likewise, the standard library is still in flux and not fully understood, whereas Foundation is stable and a known quantity. Foundation is great. Why not keep using it?

It’s also my hunch that by staying closer to the Objective-C world you are more likely to avoid bugs and confusing error messages from the Swift compiler. And you can somewhat avoid painting yourself into a corner because any code should be relatively easy to port back to Objective-C, if necessary. It’s not possible to subclass a Swift class from Objective-C, though—even if it inherits from NSObject—so hopefully you won’t run into any problems with a leaf class.

Update (2015-08-14): Joe Groff:

ObjC and the ObjC runtime also aren’t going away. Using @objc for things still we suck at natively is good and encouraged.

Wil Shipley:

My intuition says they’ll naturally wither like Carbon did. And we won’t mind.

But it’s nice to hear there aren’t plans to artificially axe ObjC.