What is Objective-C?Objective-C is a general purpose programming language used in iOS and OS X operating systems and APIs. It’s a superset of the C programming language and can call C++ code. Programmers describe the language as a cross between C and Smalltalk, from which it derives its object-oriented capabilities. Though Objective-C is one of the earliest programming languages, it can still be useful. It’s still needed when working before iOS 7+, Mac OS 10.9+, and in all versions of tvOS and watchOS. In Objective-C categories offer the ability to add functionality to an object without changing the actual object. Programmers can define new methods and add them to classes for which the source code isn’t available. Rather than calling methods, Objective-C uses message passing. It interacts with objects by sending messages. The object then has options for how to interpret the message. For example, it can invoke a method that matches the message, broadcast the message to a group of objects, forward it to a single object, or introspect it & apply custom logic. Messages are implemented at runtime and don’t throw runtime errors when they go unexecuted. Memory management is reasonably simple, with limited options for how to accomplish it. Objective-C is entirely geared towards simplicity, in fact. There are no templates, multiple inheritance, or other features which lead to complexity.
Benefits of Objective-C
SimplicityObjective-C is small, direct, and easy to learn.
Dynamic typingThere’s also support for static typing when desired.
Intuitive message syntaxMessage patterns read much like spoken sentences interspersed with colons.
Automatic garbage collectionThis is optional; programmers can use a reference counting system if they prefer.
Limitations of Objective-C
Steep learning curveDevelopers need to have a grounding in C, so they effectively must learn two languages.
Mainly for iOS applicationsOther platform implementations exist but aren’t really used
Older languageObjective-C is vulnerable to being phased out as Swift gains more attention and usage.
Benefits of React Native
Faster developmentSmaller teams are needed, and development timelines are shorter.
Mobile-focusedReact Native apps perform better than many hybrid apps.
Active and engaged communityThe huge community of enthusiastic React Native developers is constantly adding to their catalogs of freely-available components.
Limitations of React Native
Newer frameworkReact doesn’t have a component for everything yet, and there aren’t as many skilled developers available.
Not suited for heavy graphics and calculationsObjective-C outperforms it here.
SlowPerformance can be lower than with native apps. Developers can get around this by incorporating native modules.
Technically in betaSome developers fear React will be abandoned, like Parse was.
How They Stack UpComparing Objective-C and React Native is a bit of a mis-step. They’re different tools for different jobs. Objective-C is mainly for iOS and OS X while React Native is meant for cross-platform mobile development. Objective-C has its loyalists and is still a decent choice for iOS apps. However, there are very few reasons not to move to Swift when working solely for Apple devices. When going cross-platform, React Native is a solid alternative to hybrid. The concern now is longevity. All signs indicate Facebook will continue to maintain React Native but longevity is always something to consider when using a new tool.
No tool is always the best for every project. If your company is working on a mobile app, set up a complimentary appointment with Concepta’s developers to discuss the best tools for your specific purposes.