The debate over programming frameworks and technologies is going on for a long time and it may continue for a time to come. There can not be one answer right or wrong simply because the same answer can be correct for one project requirement but not for another project. Most of us want to have a programming environment that is easy to install, simple to learn, faster to program, test, reload so on and so forth. I will be making a side-by-side comparison of both Swift and Dart programming languages for your convenience. Hopefully, after studying this article, you will be able to conclude for yourself whether Swift is a better choice for your mobile app development project or Dart. Let’s begin.
What Is Swift
Swift is a power-packed feature-rich programing language to build a native iOS (MacOs, watchOS, tvOS) application. Coding Swift is interactive, syntaxes are concise and it is a type-safe language and enables you to produce a lightning-fast piece of software with ease. It makes native iOS app development quite interesting. Swift not only offers good coding speed but also provides high security and high performance for apps it is used for.
What Is Dart
Dart is a multi-platform programing language developed and released by Google in 2011. Dart can be used to develop an iOS and Android application simultaneously. Dart Software Development Kit (Dart SDK) is fast becoming one of the preferred programming frameworks for many developers as it offers cross-platform programming language. Although Dart is a relatively new but highly popular programming framework with 110K stars on Github.
Onboarding Or Installation
Onboarding is the first step of the iOS building process. Native iOS applications can be Swift and Dart programming languages.
If you are planning to develop an iOS app using native tools then you will be using Xcode as IDE (integrated development environment). It also provides a basic SDK. You will need to install Xcode on macOS. Once installed you can create a new project by selecting File> New > Project > iOS > Single View App.
And if you are planning to use Dart to develop your iOS application then you will be needing to install more components in addition to Xcode like IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio on macOS. It makes Dart installation slightly complicated compared to Swift.
Build time or how long does it take to create a clean build (not incremental build or build without any derived data) application is one of the most important factors for any developer. It is obvious that the longer the build time, the more money it costs. Faster build time means developers can add new features to apps faster and efficiently. Both Swift and Dart have their own commands to measure build time while using Xcode. Swift overshadows Dart and for building an iOS-only app most developers would likely prefer Swift.
Reloading And Testing
Adding a new feature to an iOS app requires reloading and testing on several devices or simulators in order to evaluate the code and how changes reflect on the app. This is one of the critical steps in the app developmental process. Dart has hot reload functionality so you can check changes in a few seconds so Dart is to be much quicker when you need to introduce some changes. If you are using Swift, making changes takes much more time and effort. Now SwiftUI allows hot reload or by using InjectionIII you can add “Hot Reloading” capability.
Profiling is a process to benchmark the performance of an iOS app. It measures CPU, resources, and memory. Swift used with Xcode offers multiple templates for different profiling tests similarly for Dart you can use IDE like Intellij IDEA or command line. It mostly depends on devices and individual apps.
App size is one more important parameter for comparison. Swift fared much better in this parameter as the final app size is smaller compared to Dart. Dart iOS app is likely to be bulky in size. Dart engine doesn’t allow app size to be smaller than a particular value. So if app size is important for you then you should definitely go for Swift.
It is commonly believed that accessibility is an optional feature and most developers tend to consider it unimportant. But it is crucial in today’s world that your app provides ample support for people with disabilities. Swift already has the UIKit framework built-in so there is no need to import any other framework. The only thing developers need to do is provide correct accessibility for every UI element. Dart or Flutter iOS does not have built-in accessibility support. Dart documentation suggests the use of Xcode’s Accessibility Inspector. Swift has much better all-around accessibility support compared to Dart.
Choice of programming language and frameworks should be based on project requirements and resource availability. Both Swift and Dart offer their unique advantages and disadvantages. Although it happens rarely when a client wants to develop an app for iOS only then Swift will be the clear winner but if the client wants the app to be developed in both iOS and Android environments then you will need to evaluate all the above-discussed comparisons on a project to project basis. Techronus is a leading mobile app development company and we will provide you with tailored mobile applications in either of the programming languages. I do hope this article will help you select the best option of programming framework for a particular project.