Apple’s Swift Is Killing Objective-C

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When Apple rolled out Swift last summer, it expected its new programming language to eventually replace Objective-C, which developers have used for years to build iOS and Mac OS X apps.

Thanks to Apple’s huge developer ecosystem (and equally massive footprint in the world of consumer devices), Swift quickly became one of the most buzzed-about programming languages, as cited by sites such as Stack Overflow. And now, according to new data from TIOBE Software, which keeps a regularly updated index of popular programming languages, Swift might be seriously cannibalizing Objective-C.

On TIOBE’s latest index, Objective-C is ranked fourteenth among programming languages, a considerable drop from its third-place spot in October 2014. Swift managed to climb from nineteenth to fifteenth during the same period.

“Soon after Apple announced to switch from Objective-C to Swift, Objective-C went into free fall,” read TIOBE’s text accompanying the data. “This month Objective-C dropped out of the TIOBE index top 10.”

If the present trend holds, it seems likely that, within a few months, Swift could very easily outrank Objective-C. Apple’s plans to make Swift open-source could also help spur its adoption (later this year, the company will release the source code under an OSI-approve permissive license, while encouraging contributions from the community).

The current version of Swift, 2.0, includes features such as an error-handling model that works seamlessly with Apple SDKs, and the ability to display error messages if a developer attempts to use an API too new for the target OS. Check out Dice’s recent breakdown of the Swift’s most interesting new tweaks.

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