Swift vs SwiftUI: What’s The Difference?

Swift vs SwiftUI:

What's The


By Ronald Tuch

By Ronald Tuch

Swift vs SwiftUI: What's The Difference?

One crucial question must be answered before you can begin to write code for a new application. Which framework should I use? If you’re familiar with developing apps for Apple platforms, you’ve probably heard the terms Swift and SwiftUI and wondered what’s the difference.  While both are very powerful tools used to create apps, the way they’re implemented into the development process can be quite different.

Are they two distinct languages?  

Let’s find out!

Read on to compare Swift vs SwiftUI.

What Is Swift?

Swift app development framework

In June 2014, Apple announced Swift, its new programming language; before Swift, Objective-C was the go-to programming language for developing software on Apple platforms. Since its announcement, Apple has continued to invest in Swift, and it has become the preferred language for Apple device applications for most developers.

Some key features distinguish Swift from other programming languages commonly used to develop apps.

Pros of Swift

  • Readability/conciseness

Type inference, concise closure syntax, and guard statements are just a few features that make code written with Swift much shorter and easier to read. When code is more readable and concise, coders can efficiently check their work for errors and onboard new talent to their projects.

  • Safety features

The Swift programming language was also designed with safety in mind. It includes a host of protections, such as optionals and automatic memory management, which make Swift code less prone to null/undefined references and memory leaks.

  • Performance

Despite having a more modern syntax, Swift maintains a high level of efficiency and performance. This makes it a programming language ideal for designing more resource-intensive apps such as games.

  • Interoperable with Objective-C

Development teams working with older code written in Objective-C need not worry about updating their application to run on Swift. Swift is interoperable with Objective-C, decreasing the effort required to incorporate new Swift code into an existing codebase.

  • Open Source

As an open-source programming language, Swift benefits from community collaboration and the ability to be adopted by third-party platforms. While it is intended to be used for Apple platforms, developers are not restricted to using Swift for that purpose alone.

  • Multi-paradigm programming language

Swift employs both the imperative and declarative paradigms in its syntax. This makes it more accessible to developers with different backgrounds and allows for a high degree of flexibility in a programmer’s approach.

Cons of Swift

  • Limited domains outside of Apple platforms

While Swift is an open-source platform, it is still ultimately up to third-party platforms to allow for swift integration. It’s the perfect choice for any apps targeted for Apple platforms and devices, but other programming languages might be better for developers looking to broaden their scope.

  • Limited libraries

Swift is still a newer programming language compared to some of the more established ones like Python, C#, Javascript, or even Objective-C. Because of this, it hasn’t had as much time to accumulate a more robust library ecosystem. Its focus on Apple also limits its viability for other platforms.

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What Is SwiftUI?

SwiftUI is a framework written in Swift

SwiftUI is a newer alternative to some of the more established UI frameworks that exist within Swift. Developed by Apple to replace their previous UI framework, UIKit, SwiftUI is widely regarded as the default choice for creating user interfaces on Apple platforms. With its modern and declarative approach, SwiftUI simplifies the process of designing and building user interfaces, offering developers a powerful tool for crafting applications across a range of Apple devices.

It’s important to note that SwiftUI is Apple’s new front-end framework that is written in Swift. (As in, under the hood, Apple wrote the whole thing using Swift) The old one, UIKit, is written in the older Apple programming language Objective-C. 

SwiftUI also boasts an array of features that set it apart from other alternatives.

Pros of SwiftUI

  • Compatibility with Swift

Compatibility when using a framework (SwiftUI) written in the same language (Swift) as your app is a huge advantage. Unless, of course, you’re using an older app to create your app (that’s not Swift).

  • Quicker to write

Since SwiftUI code is written with a declarative framework, it allows development to progress at a notably quicker pace than UIKit. Put simply, the syntax requires fewer words. This means programmers don’t have to spend as much time typing to get the same result.

  • Easier to review

Declarative frameworks are widely considered to be much more readable. This means that reviewing code, whether to uncover errors or onboard new team members, isn’t as much of a hassle as it would otherwise be with UIKit.

  • Preview and live editing

SwiftUI integrates with Xcode’s live preview, allowing engineers to see real-time updates to the UI as they write code. Developers no longer need to build/compile their code in order to see if their user interfaces are working as intended.

  • New keyboard input support

SwiftUI supports keyboard input in its framework, allowing developers to create user interfaces that respond to keyboard interactions. This is essential for building apps that require text input or navigation through keyboard shortcuts.

  • Expanded animation support

SwiftUI provides built-in support for animations, and with each release, Apple introduces enhancements to animation capabilities. Developers can manage multiple animation tracks simultaneously with SwiftUI, allowing them to compose more complex animations involving multiple elements or properties.

  • One UI for different devices

Building user interfaces can be difficult when one has to consider how to make them compatible with a host of unique devices and screen sizes. SwiftUI has built-in features for creating device-independent layouts for user interfaces.

Cons of SwiftUI

  • Hybrid solution may be required in some cases

It’s entirely possible that you may run into cases where you have to use a hybrid solution of UIKit and SwiftUI to cover where SwiftUI comes up short.

  • Some platforms don’t fully support SwiftUI

SwiftUI is compatible with iOS 13, macOS 10.15, tvOS 13, watchOS 6, visionOS 1. Any prior versions of these platforms will not be able to support SwiftUI apps.

  • Less flexible than UIKit

One potential drawback to creating a user interface with a declarative framework is that it might not always do exactly what you want it to. Since you’re essentially telling the machine what you want it to do instead of how to do it, you run the risk of missing out on finer tuning.

Comparison by Key Features: What’s the Difference Between Swift vs SwiftUI?

Let's look at the differences between Swift and SwiftUI

Both are essential tools for any developer interested in developing applications, especially for Apple platforms. Using Swift and the SwiftUI framework, programmers can craft powerful, stable backend code and intuitive, visually appealing user interfaces. The key difference between the two is that Swift is a coding language, and SwiftUI is a framework that exists within it.

Key Features of Swift Programming Language

key features comparison for swift and SwiftUI

Some of the key features are:

  • Automatic reference counting (ARC)
  • Closures
  • Generics
  • Interoperability
  • Modern syntax
  • Safety
  • Speed
  • Type inference

Key Features of SwiftUI Toolkit

Some of the key features are:

  • Automatic Layout
  • Cross-platform Support
  • Declarative Syntax
  • Dynamic UI
  • Pre-built Components
  • Real-time Preview

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Choosing a Mobile App Development Company for Swift and SwiftUI

When choosing a mobile app development company, it’s important to use the expertise of the company in leveraging these technologies. A company proficient with these tools can enhance the development process, accelerate time-to-market, and ensure a modern and scalable app.

Assess Your Preferred Soft Skills

Knowing how to code in Swift and utilizing SwiftUI aren’t all that matters when it comes to developing an app. Effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving are all essential soft skills when it comes to succeeding as a team of developers. A development team with strong soft skills can better understand your vision, adapt to changes, and provide a positive and collaborative development experience.

​​Investigate Their Essential Technical Skills

It’s essential to know you’re working with a company that stays updated with the latest advancements in Swift and SwiftUI to deliver cutting-edge solutions. You should take into consideration whether a company has proven experience with Apple platforms and if the style of applications they’ve developed is in tune with what you’re trying to create.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which One is Better for Apple Platforms?

Both Swift and SwiftUI excel at enabling developers to create applications for Mac, iOS, or any of Apple’s other platforms. If you’re designing an app specifically for Apple products, using them together will generally be your best choice. Keep in mind that SwiftUI runs on Swift. So you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of crafting your user interface with SwiftUI if your app isn’t built in Swift.

Should I Start With Swift or SwiftUI?

Depending on your role within a development team, you might want to focus on improving your skills with Swift as a whole or fine-tuning your knowledge of SwiftUI. If your main focuses are on managing data and developing potent backend code, you might not ever need to interact with SwiftUI. On the other hand, if you specialize in designing the user interface, you’ll want to be as proficient with SwiftUI as you can be.

Is SwiftUI Easier to Learn Than Swift?

If you’re an experienced coder who knows different languages, you’ll likely find that Swift is relatively easy to pick up. If you’re already proficient with Swift, much of your knowledge will transition to learning SwiftUI. However, if you’re new to both, there might be elements of SwiftUI that are more approachable than the Swift language as a whole. In either case, learning the basics of Swift is foundational to being able to work effectively within the SwiftUI framework.

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