Between Swift and Dart, determining the top contender in the race of best programming languages for iOS development always remains a tricky question.
Updated 4 October 2023
CEO at Appventurez
The debate over the best programming languages and tools never seems to end. Businesses always look for the most reliable technologies that are ideal for developing and delivering top-quality mobile apps.
The same kind of argument could be seen when it comes to Swift vs Dart, the two prominent mobile app development languages. With both programming languages gaining almost equal traction lately, it becomes quite difficult to decide which one’s better for your project. However, with a detailed comparative analysis of the two, businesses could make a firm choice while keeping their requirements in mind.
Both Swift and Dart are known for delivering high-quality iOS applications. These programming languages are designed with the intent to serve the advanced requirements of users with maximized performance. Below is a brief overview of both these languages.
Developed in 2014 by Apple itself, Swift is an open-source programming language solely dedicated to building native iOS applications. With time, it gained massive popularity, replacing Objective-C which used to be the only language for iOS development. In fact, lately, many users are looking for the best practices to migrate their Objective-C projects to Swift. Presently, Swift has over 62.7K star ratings and around 10.1K forks.
This iOS programming language is known for its interactive model, high coding speed, and comprehensive documentation. It connects the best of both worlds – the forward-thinking approach of the new-gen languages and the prudence observed in Apple’s engineering culture.
Moreover, Swift is not only conducive for mobile app development. It could also be used for developing desktop and web-based applications. By using Swift for web development, developers can easily create intuitive and powerful web apps.
Also, XCode is the primary integrated development environment where one can create native iOS applications. It is the best IDE for Swift as it makes writing code for software development easy, clear, and fast. It makes coding with this iOS development language not only concise but interactive, as well. Besides this, Swift can work with different iOS architecture patterns, making the app structuring and building process seamless.
Launched in 2011 by the development team at Google, Dart is another programming language known for its robust development capabilities. With Dart, one can build both Android and iOS applications using a single codebase.
It is a client-optimized app development language that helps development companies to develop native-like applications. Developers can save a great deal of time, money, and effort since the same codebase is used to develop apps for multiple platforms.
The Dart programming language has gained massive popularity, especially after the inception of its core framework Flutter. This Dart application UI kit has already established itself as one of the noteworthy mobile app development frameworks. By using interchangeable widgets, developers can easily craft highly responsive and dependable user interfaces in Flutter.
The best thing about using the Dart application online is that users get a native-like experience, irrespective of the platform for which the mobile app is created. The Dart SDK has got over 9.1K star ratings and 1.4K forks on GitHub.
Both Swift and Dart held a prominent position in the domain of widely used programming languages. As per the annual survey conducted by StackOverflow in 2022, Dart is used by 6.54% of the respondents while Swift slightly lags with around 4.91% of users.
However, the results were upside down in 2021. The reason could be the growing community supporting Dart, especially considering it to be a Google-based product.
Besides this, around 2473 globally acclaimed companies use Swift IDE in their tech stacks. On the other hand, almost 190 companies worldwide use the Dart application and tools for developing applications.
Also, Google trends suggest that for the last five years, users around the globe have searched more for Swift than Dart as a programming language. Still, it pretty much depends on the project’s requirements whether businesses should use Swift for iOS app development or Dart for the same.
Both Swift and Dart programming languages have their own merits and demerits that businesses must consider beforehand. Based on these, businesses can choose the iOS programming language suitable for their project requirements.
Now that you have an idea regarding the advantages and disadvantages of Swift Vs Dart, it’s time to critically analyze the differences between the two. Below are some parameters based on which businesses can easily figure out which iOS development language has a competitive edge.
The first and foremost step in iOS development is the onboarding of an integrated development environment (IDE). Simply put, developers need to download and install an IDE, set it up, and derive a software development kit (SDK) to begin coding.
When it comes to Swift, the primary tool you will need for iOS app development is XCode. It is the best IDE for Swift that could be easily installed on any macOS device. However, Dart requires a comparatively larger toolkit consisting of the top iOS development tools to generate binaries for coding. For instance, a developer working on the Dart application will need a Mac device, an IDE like IntelliJ IDEA, or Android Studio along with XCode.
Therefore, Swift IDE needs relatively fewer onboarding tools than Dart; however, the configuration process is straightforward in both options.
Application profiling refers to the process that evaluates how an iOS app will be displayed. In Swift, developers use XCode which helps in offering an extensive framework to them for monitoring the application.
There are several layouts available for developers to choose from for analyzing the app’s profiling. Time Profiler is one such example. It helps in calculating the CPU strings in multiple instances. Also, you can analyze the app’s performance, along with memory and resources.
However, Dart consists of outstanding documentation for app profiling. One can use either an order line or an IDE to describe how much time is required in the process. When it comes to Swift vs Dart, both languages have significant tools for profiling.
It might surprise you but the programming language one uses for developing an application can also impact the app size. Typically, the apps built on Swift are smaller and lightweight in size. This is the reason Swift-based native apps ensure robust performance and smooth user experience.
On the other hand, Dart applications are bulky and heavy in terms of size and memory consumption. Since the development engine does not allow the app size to get reduced below a specific value, these apps are generally greater in size. Therefore, in this aspect, Swift is the winner in the Dart vs Swift contest.
The app-building time is another crucial aspect as it directly affects the cost of iOS app development. Usually, the more the development time is, the higher the app-building expenses will be. On the contrary, when the built time is less, one gets more opportunities to add new features and test them extensively.
In this area, Swift lies far ahead of Dart, considering it is preferred for iOS-only applications. However, if you are looking for a cross-platform application, Dart is recommended. Coming to the expenses incurred in development, both Swift and Dart will be cost-effective for fact they are open-source languages.
Both Swift and Dart follow different testing approaches for mobile app testing. However, the testing modules of both these languages are highly effective and robust. In Dart’s app testing environment, developers can implement a plethora of tests including functional and UI tests. The tests need to be created individually which is further executed by the Dart driver.
Swift provides a specific testing framework known as XCTest to critically evaluate iOS applications. It can help developers to test various sections of an app, including UI modules, performance, navigation, and third-party integrations. Due to the availability of additional features in terms of mobile app testing approaches, Swift outshines Dart.
While incorporating new features into an iOS app, developers need to reload it and execute a few tests using a simulator. During this stage of development, developers evaluate the code written and analyze how differently the app behaves after the changes.
For this feature, Dart leverages a hot reloading approach which helps instantly implement and display the modifications made to the application. With this, users can view the changes in just 2 or 3 seconds.
However, when it comes to Swift, the reloading functionality takes much longer. The developers need to make changes to different areas of the application to reflect them in real-time. The entire process can take around 12 seconds, which is quite long compared to programming in Dart.
Therefore, as an inference between Swift vs Dart, the latter outshines the former in this category of iOS app parameters.
As mentioned in the earlier section of the blog, the star ratings and fork figures are quite higher in Swift than in Dart. Moreover, the queries raised on the StackOverflow portal regarding Swift are over 50 times more than the Dart programming language. Additionally, Google Trends also suggests that more people are talking about the former compared to the latter.
This shows that Swift is comparatively more popular than Dart. However, with the speed at which the Dart community is growing, it will soon reach somewhat similar heights of popularity.
If you have made it to this point, you might have understood that there’s no self-evident reason to decide the winner between Swift vs Dart. Both these languages have their own benefits and drawbacks which might help decide what iOS development needs they can cater to.
The native solutions offer better performance and experience, and thus Swift can be the perfect choice. However, cross-platform languages come with better work scope, and Dart could be a preferred option in such a case. If you are facing a quandary to choosing one, it is better to consult a professional iOS app development company having expertise in both languages.
Appventurez could be your go-to app development partner in such a scenario because of its years of experience in this domain. As a reliable Dart and Swift app development company, our team of professionals offers complete assistance throughout the entire iOS app development cycle. Our team of experienced developers is well aware of the latest tools and technologies and utilizes the best practices to craft an intuitive iOS solution for your business.
Q. What is Swift programming language used for?
Swift is a robust general-purpose programming language used for creating web and mobile applications for different devices including macOS, Apple TV, iPhone, and Apple Watch.
Q. How to code with Swift?
Coding with Swift is easy. It is a highly expressive and interactive language, especially for beginners. All you need is the Swift IDE (XCode) to start writing the code in this language.
Q. Is Swift easy to learn?
Apple developed Swift to be a coding language suitable for beginners and learners. Therefore, even the ones with no or less experience in programming can easily learn Swift.
Q. Can you use Swift for web development?
Yes, developers use Swift for web development to build highly responsive websites, HTTP servers, server-side apps, and application programming interfaces (APIs).
Q. Is Dart used for backend programming?
Yes, Dart could be used to build mobile applications, web scripts, consoles, and also for backend development.
Q. In Swift vs Dart, which one’s faster in making changes to the code?
When it comes to Swift vs Dart, the latter is much faster in terms of introducing changes in the code. Making just a slight change in Swift asks for rebuilding the native code, which could be time-consuming.
CEO at Appventurez
Ajay Kumar has 15+ years of experience in entrepreneurship, project management, and team handling. He has technical expertise in software development and database management. He currently directs the company’s day-to-day functioning and administration.
Posted : 3 May 2021
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