How to Migrate Your Objective-C Project to Swift App?
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Guide To Migrate Your Objective-C project To Swift

Ashish Chauhan By Ashish Chauhan | June 22, 2021

Switching from Objective-C to Swift is a ‘new normal’ to build apps with escalated productivity. 

Ever since the day when Brad Cox conceived the idea of introducing an extension of superlative C language, the progressive evolution of mobile app technologies & tools has been erupting a myriad of development perks for programmers. Revisiting the journey of Objective C from the late 1980s to 1988, Steve Jobs is the one who revived the legacy of this famous programming language for full-fledged iOS app development. Interestingly, the majority of Apple frameworks are coded in Cocoa programming which is powered by Objective-C at present.

Modern developers used to work with Objective-C lang till the date when Swift entered as a brand new technology from Apple in 2014. The arrival of Swift triggered a drastic deviation of developers from Objective-C to Apple’s new native language. Hence, they are interested to know how to convert an Objective-C app into a Shift app. If your Swift iOS app development project needs code migration from Objective-C to Swift then you might be getting puzzled about a handful of techniques & methods to do so. 

Rewriting your app in Swift codes would going to be a lengthy process that will retard your efficiency eventually. Hence, it is better to say no to the practice of building your app from scratch no matter if you are naive or experienced. Just take a chill pill and stay on this blog to learn ins and outs of turning your Objective-C app into a live Swift application with utmost proficiency & speed.

All About Code Migration & Its Benefits

Before getting started with code migration, it is a prerequisite suggestion to discuss the advantages of converting your Objective-C codes into Swift. Almost every Swift app development service provider considers certain aspects of moving from one program to another without disrupting the performance and rewriting codes from scratch. It saves tons of hours and efforts of a programmer from a development point of view. Before heading further to the details of Swift and Objective-C, one must grab a deep knowledge about code migration along with some solid reasons to opt for it.

Converting codes may not be a cakewalk for a beginner but it’s not rocket science for anyone.  While preparing for your next big project, you may wonder thinking how do I change from Objective-C to Swift? especially if you’re trying this for the first time. Well, you can effortlessly tackle the complexities of code migration as both Swift and Objective-C are interoperable. In other words, one can reuse existing codes of an app with no necessity to migrate everything at once. 

Code migration is highly recommended to cut down overall development costs and time. The cost-effectiveness of Swift app development is a primary factor that amplifies the importance of converting codes b/w trending programming languages. A large no. of techies & businesses go ahead with code conversion to eliminate extra work and resources consumed in native app development using popular iOS development tools. One can directly step into a full-scale code migration process without taking special tutorials to reuse existing codes in order to improve the app’s performance and restructure its architecture in Shift languages. 

Now it’s crystal clear that code migration is the need of the hour. Developers aiming to convert Objective-C applications to Swift apps are likely to juggle b/w the capabilities and shortcomings of both programming languages. So, before we go further to the topic, let’s dissolve confusion regarding the potentials of the most popular technologies used for productive iOS app development.

Why App Programmers Choose Swift Over Objective-C?

Swift or Objective-C, what will be your choice for mobile app development? Believe it or not, you are not the only one who cannot decide the best-suited programming language for any project. What is the difference between Swift and Objective-C? This is a general question for those who haven’t yet worked with both technologies.

Swift vs Objective-C, the battle is on…

Both Swift and Objective-C emerged as the front-runners among the best programming languages for iOS app development. They compete to make a mark in diverse horizons of building high-performing apps for modern Apple products powered by macOS, WatchOS, tvOS, CarPlay, Linux, and more.

Swift is a newcomer while Objective-C has been ruling the technology space for decades. Objective-C is said to be a mature programming language while Swift stands out as a modern and advanced technology with plentiful features to simplify the coding for iOS app development. In addition to this, Swift is a successor of Objective-C and comparatively younger, faster, safer, & much easier to learn for budding programmers. 

comparison between swift and objective c speed

On one side, the popularity graph of Swift is aggressively rising to get it listed among the top 10 programming languages with every update. Objective-C continues to fall behind other top-ranked technologies used to code iOS apps currently.

Before your project with code migration tasks kicks off, you must think about what factors are making the Swift app a better option for iOS app solutions. You should consider the most important features of Swift that justify its win over Objective-C.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Transforming Objective-C App Into Swift

When you finally sit down to begin your iOS application development project, you just need to keep a note of some simple steps to migrate your existing Objective-C app into Swift with no hassles at all. 

steps to conduct code migration from objective c to swift

Step 1-Modify the Existing Codes

Review all the pre-existing codes the moment you begin with the migration process. The very first step is all about revising Objective-C codes and modifying them in accordance with the Swift program. This will help in revamping the compatibility & suitability of ready-to-use lines of codes for rapid Swift app development. 

And in case if existing codebase disobeys the modern code migration practices then you must modify them as per the latest technology upgrades. This step must be taken prior to the code migrating process as any discrepancy or error could result in unforeseen issues with the performance of an app.

Step 2-Define Routes to Migrate Codes

Getting ahead with a per-file approach is an efficient way to migrate Objective-C codes to perform result-driven Swift iOS app development for businesses. 

Click here to know how iOS apps can benefit businesses to grow.

In simple words, developers can define a simplistic approach to migrate codes one by one rather than converting them altogether. This route is preferred by the majority of programmers intending to do code conversion specifically in the case of Objective C as this programming language has no swift subclasses to force developers to select a particular class of code without any subclasses. 

By considering this approach, a developer has to put a .swift file in place of all .h and .m files for a selected class with no subclass available. All UI components & their architectural structure will automatically mold into a .swift file. And Xcode i.e the right technology stack for a mobile app will directly come up with a header file so you don’t have to create it manually. Here are some quick steps to perform this procedure conveniently:

  • Select options from – File > New > File > (iOS, watchOS, tvOS, or macOS) > Source > Swift File. to create a swift class for .h and .m objective-c files. You can save your Swift file either with a different name or one similar to your existing objective-c class.  
  • Import all the required system frameworks afterward.
  • Now fill out the Objective-C header to get direct access to the existing code of the same app that exists in your Swift file. 
  • Once you’re done with the last step, you can try to create a descendant of the desired objective-c class so that you can get easy access to the new shift class in Objective-C. Make sure that you’ve used a specific name for the newly created descendant so that you can recall it easily later on. 

Step 3- Initiate Code Migration Process 

  • You have been sailing smoothly with your approach to the code migration process but the real fun begins now! Start with your newly created swift class and configure it precisely to combine it with objective-c. You’ve to subclass all objective-c classes and adapt their respective protocols. 
  • While integration is going on, you can step into the customization process to know how to convert an Objective-C application into a Swift app with help of APIs. 
  • Use the aforesaid file name for a new descendant as a characteristic attribute to mark objective-c names with a definitive term.
  • Add symbols to showcase the instance (-) method & class (+) method for their respective class functions. 
  • Once done with the last step, you can mention each macro-instruction in swift as the constants and convert them into functions. 

Step 4- Get Started with Code Implementation

  • To start constructing your new swift codebase, you need to modify the import statements in your existing lines of objective-c codes. 
  • It’s always important to remove the original objective-c .m file from the target route. Deletion of .h and .m files is not required as you can do so by clicking a deselect option from the checkbox of the proposed membership. 
  • The only thing to do in the last step is to refine the codes so that they can be drawn in the name of the swift class, not the previous objective-c. 

Step 5- Troubleshoot

In case of the present codebase doesn’t match the newly structure swift codes then this final step in our guide to migrating your objective-c project to swift may impel an iOS app developer to take these actions to execute the practice of code migration:

  • Keep a note of this fact that no objective-c subclasses would be there in the class that you migrate as subclassing of a swift class is not available in the objective-c program.
  • To prevent any duplicate symbol errors, you foremost need to deselect the related .mfile from the target checkout after moving a class to the swift. 
  • Create descendants of the desired objective-c class to create a class of swift in objective-c.
  • Simply select and click a particular symbol to view details about its major attributes such as documentation, attributes, type, and more. 
  • Try the command-click option to check the details of the swift’s class name header generated previously. 

At the end of the code migration process, don’t forget to test your final version of a Swift application. One can try using Xcode’s UI testing framework to cross-check the scalability and performance of scripts along with other integrations of an app. Xcode tool comes with a new project wizard feature that offers better ways to test your app with ultimate accuracy. It also allows you to record the UI testing visuals. 

Sometimes the scope of a mobile app development project encourages you to exceed your efforts & timeline projected for the final delivery. It is a great decision if you decide to conduct code migration from objective-c to Swift to get your dream app developed with the highest efficiency and lowest budget. 

Introducing Swiftify For Speedy & Easy Code Migration 

Tired of performing manual code conversions in your previous projects? Try Swiftify to dissolve your coding hassles! Whenever you are supposed to migrate your existing app’s code from Objective-c to the swift, Swiftify comes at the rescue to simplify everything at once. If you feel a bit lazy to conduct code migration manually then try this code converter tool to enjoy straight and perfect app migration. Check out some pointers to know more about this powerful code conversion tool:

  • A user-friendly tool to transform Objective-c codes into Swift. 
  • Designed for mobile app development as well as web development projects. 
  • Offers incredible user experience with online access to swift. 
  • Presents simple documentation and learning tutorials for beginners or first-time users.
  • Integrated with ‘advanced project converter’ also known as ObjectiveC2Swift with new features & add-ons to make code migration easier like never before. 
why swifitify is a great substitute for manual conversion

Swiftify can benefit its users with a bundle of cool features. Developers reportedly pick this tool to migrate codes between the two programming languages as mentioned in this discussion. 

No matter how experienced & skilled you are, the outcomes of using such code converters could shape some common syntax errors and bugs including Swift version issues, null checks, duplicate declarations, suggested fixes by Xcode, variable problems, and other issues. For instance, resolving the optionality issue is a bit challenging without unwrapping the variables as doing so is subjected to errors.  

All the hidden swift files created by Xcode stay ahead with the bridge header mechanism to extend support to both objective-c and swift classes to allow the exchange of services & information between the two. Hence, developers can utilize objective-c classes alongside creating wrapper classes to share similar functionalities without using rewritten codes. 

Ending Notes

Whether you’re new to the concept of code migration or have done this earlier in your previous projects, choosing the right technology stack for your mobile app might come out as a big task to do every time. Instead of juggling between the possible complexities in the coding process, it is always suggested to consider a smart option that facilitates you to switch your existing project codes to another program.  

There is no doubt that code migration keeps you on a safer side when it comes to developing apps for Apple products with unparalleled proficiency. In today’s competitive digital space, programmers seek alternative ways to continue with a productive mobile app development approach and that’s why the concept of code migration and tools such as Swiftify are adopted by worldwide developers. Let us conclude this topic that introduced a descriptive detailing of the code conversion with a guide to migrate your objective-c project to swift for building iOS apps. 

With a long list of technologies & tools to try, developers grab endless opportunities to experiment with their skills in crafting apps that can compete in the industry & generate double-fold revenues for the respective business. So, regardless of being a startup or leading organization, you can always invest in getting a high-performing application from Appventurez. Our dedicated developers are eager to handle your mobile app requirements with the utmost caliber to deliver quality and innovation with cutting-edge mobility solutions.


Ashish Chauhan
Ashish Chauhan

Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect at Appventurez. An expert programmer who is passionate and loves to explore emerging mobile technologies. As a leader, he is a perfect match as he is always there for the team to help and guide them to learn and implement smartly and effectively.

⚡️ by Appventurez

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