Objective-C and C++ both got their start in 1983 as derivatives of the original C class of programming languages. From the very beginning, both were in competition to win the right as the standard of object- orientated languages. It was a long battle that eventually saw C++ win out, but Objective-C recently made a huge comeback. In fact, it looks like this recent streak may have enabled it to outpace its old rival for good.
We’re Number 3!
The Objective-C programming language has surpassed C++ in popularity. This is according to the index published on TIOBE, a well known developer community that lists it as number three behind number two Java, and number one C. The growing popularity of mobile device usage and development appears to have something to do with the language’s fast rise popularity. Objective-C reigns supreme in the world of Mac OS X and iOS programming. Thanks to the iPhone and iPad in particular, this language has been able to climb high atop the ladder of mobile development.
Objective-C’s rise in the ranks is definitely something the developer community should be aware of, but not because it means they need to ditch C++, which is still very useful. It is because this language offers unique benefits that are finally starting to be realized – benefits they may not have known about previously. Some programmers say Objective-C enjoys the best of both worlds, those worlds being C++ and Java, both of which it shares many commonalties with. For example, it boasts the speed and high level of performance C++ is known for, in addition to the ease of use and API efficiency that is associated with Java.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Objective-C offers is its flexibility. The very same code a programmer compiles for Mac OS X and its Intel processor can work flawlessly on iOS and its ARM processor. A good compiler is all that is needed. This essentially means that an application can be written just one time, and then run on any device equipped with a capable operating system. For skilled developers with access to the right tools, it makes programming faster while delivering noticeably better results.
The Future of Object-Orientated Programming
As we alluded to, being surpassed by Objective-C doesn’t make C++ any less important in the realm of programming. It is still widely used in robust high-performance systems, often alongside Java. Objective-C, on the other hand, is primarily used in mobile development. Programmers working on Apple projects have obviously learned to make the most of it features. However, the slide could signal the trend of mobile development moving faster than enterprise systems and other traditional applications. If the trend continues, C++ may never be able to catch up.