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How to Choose a Technology Stack for iOS Development

A technology stack combines technologies, platforms, and services that create web apps or mobile applications. The tech stack should simplify the application development process instead of complicating it. This article discusses the steps involved in choosing a technology stack for iOS development for your company. 

What is iOS?

iOS is a mobile operating system for Apple devices. iOS develops mobile apps for all tech products such as Apple iPhone and Apple watches. The basis of iOS is MAC OS that runs MAC laptops and desktop personal computers. 

The term for the earliest version of the iOS operating system was iPhone OS. The launching date of the first ios version was in June 2007. Now, every year Apple releases a new version of iOS. 

As of 2019, the market share for Apple iOS was 13.4% worldwide, making it the second most popular mobile OS. For 2022, Apple iPhones took over android devices in the US. Therefore, Apple iOS has come a long way since its introduction.

What is iOS app development?

Before learning about the technology stack for iOS development, it is crucial to know about iOS app development and its background. iOS app development involves building mobile apps for Apple devices such as Apple iPads, Apple tv, iPhone mobiles, etc. 

The creation of iOS was primarily for Apple hardware. Therefore, iOS app developers rely on specific languages for mobile app development.

Benefits of iOS app development for businesses

Mobile app popularity is at its peak. Mobile devices and technological tools have become a prominent part of our daily routines. 

An average number of 1123 new apps are released daily on the iOS Apple app store. Companies are looking to hire iOS developers to sell their products to a large customer base. Let us discuss the advantages of iOS development for businesses.

  • iOS app development takes less time than android app development
  • Apple has a following of its own which means you get to improve your brand image
  • Apple security and iOS have higher security when it comes to online transactions.
  • With iPhone app development, you can transfer data on Apple devices
  • The average iOS app cost is lower than an android app. 
  • iOS app tools help to understand customer behavior.
  • iOS applications have an aesthetically appealing UI/UX design that attracts more users. 

Apple app store statistics

  • During the second quarter of 2022, around 2.18 million mobile apps were available in the Apple App Store which represents a 5% increase from the first quarter. (Statista)
  • Apps in the Apple app store double the revenue of those in the Google play store. (SensorTower)
  • Minecraft, Heads up! and Muscle trigger points are some of the top paid iPhone apps in the US. (iOSappstats)

What is a tech stack?

A technology stack combines technologies, platforms, and services that create web apps or mobile applications. A tech stack is an integral part of every software development project. Tech stacks are also known as solutions stacks. 

Every layer contributes through its features and functions. In other words, a tech stack is a set of digital tools that helps organizations complete their daily tasks and big projects. Software development teams use this combination which comprises of: 

  • Programming languages
  • Operating systems
  • Web servers
  • Software products

How to choose the right tech stack for your iOS app

There needs to be a well-thought process involved. The tech stack should simplify the application development process instead of complicating it. Let us discuss the steps in choosing a technology stack for iOS development for your company. 

Create a strategy

It is so crucial to do research before taking any step. The same applies to creating an iOS tech stack for app development. You cannot rely on the “one model fits all” concept. Want to build an iOS app that stands out from its competitors? This means you need to devise a strategic approach. Here is a list of questions that can help to kick-start the tech stack selection process. Also, it is better to sit down with your tech team. 

  • How can creating an iOS app help the business?
  • Which business processes do you need to break down?
  • What is your budget?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Do you need a tablet version of the iOS app?
  • What are the critical components of the front-end and back-end?

Which processes to automate?

The first step mentioned breaking down primary business processes. Why is this so important? It helps you determine what process needs automation. These are some sub-questions that can help in the best choice for an iOS app tech stack. 

  • Does a particular process take too much time?
  • Are there any steps that are of little or no use?
  • What bottlenecks will the software engineering team have to resolve?

Consider your users

The right iOS tech stack will simplify tasks rather than complicate them. At the same time, the person in charge needs to consider the needs of the software development team. First of all, one should assess the caliber of the software developers. 

  • What kind of tech tools are the software engineers already familiar with?
  • Is there an in-house IT team, or do you want to hire remote iOS developers?
  • Will it be easy to shift from the current tools to the new tech stack?

What are your app requirements?

Apple claims that the app industry has created more than 1.5 million jobs in the United States. Therefore, it is a necessity for businesses to cut down on extra costs by choosing an advantageous iOS app tech stack

For an iOS tech stack selection, think about a long-term plan. This approach minimizes errors during the mobile app development process. A  few factors come into play when developing iOS apps. 

  • Network conditions
  • Intended user experience
  • The primary audience of the app
  • Development cycles and frameworks involved. 

iOS app main features

Every app stack has these features. Before choosing a technology stack for iOS development, the team leader or startup founder is familiar with these terms. 

  • Front-end technology is the client-side interface or the UI/UX aspect.
  • Backend technologies take care of the code logic and processing
  • Database stores all the information related to the application
  • The platform is a framework of services that serves your app to the user’s device. 

iOS development tech stack for mobiles

A business needs to invest in a tech stack that saves time and precious resources.  Any haphazard decision can negatively impact the mobile app design and development. Now let us discuss iOS tech stacks:

Programming languages: Objective C & Swift

Objective -C

Before Swift, Objective -C was the primary programming language for iOS app development. It is an object-oriented coding language and supports older versions of MAC OS. Objective -C simplifies code.

  • Objective -C does not require regular updates.
  • It is compatible with the C++ language
  • Objective -C for beginners is not hard to learn
  • It is a mature and flexible language 
  • Objective -C gives easy solutions to programming issues.
  • Higher speed means less time wastage.
  • The memory management feature removes objects you don’t need during program execution.
  • There is a diverse user community.
  • It is a stable yet mature language.
  • Obj -C has a diverse collection of libraries available online.

Swift

The goal behind introducing Swift was that it would act as a replacement for Objective -C. It is a modern and intuitive programming language with a friendly user interface. Swift language offers a higher security level.

  • Swift has more speed and increased scalability.
  • It is easy to build new features by integrating Swift with a new application.
  • Swift reduces the risk of errors.
  • It has a clear syntax along with more powerful tools
  • It is a more cost-effective option for mobile app development
  • Swift has one of the best online communities for tools, resources, etc.
  • There is no license fee for Swift language.
  • It is compatible with Objective -C.
  • It is 2.6 times faster than Objective-C.
  • Swift has the  Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) feature, which gives developers more time to focus on development. 

iOS App Toolset: Apple’s X-code, Appcode & iOS SDK

The iOS app development toolkit includes integrated development environments (IDEs). These tools are an essential part of the technology stack for iOS. The definition of IDE is that it is dedicated software for creating applications. 

Apple’s X-code

X-code is an integrated development environment for developing software for Apple products. It is a free platform that helps to create iOS mobile apps. 

  • It has a built-in assistant editor to provide codes
  • Application testing enables developers to test their apps
  • X-code promotes a seamless development workflow. 
  • It comes equipped with a variety of tools.
  • The X-code editor debugs your app directly.

AppCode

AppCode is an alternative to X-code. According to some developers, AppCode performs faster than X-code. It is a popular IDE for mac OS and iOS app development. 

  • AppCode supports web technologies such as Javascript, HTML, CSS, etc.
  • It automates routine tasks.
  • One can select a predefined user interface theme.
  • It is fully compatible with the latest X-code version.
  • AppCode supports 50+ IDE plugins.

iOS SDK

iOS SDK is a software development kit developed by Apple. Initially, it was called iPhone SDK. It consists of tools for developing iOS applications. It includes API, Xcode IDE, frameworks, etc. 

  • iOS SDK gives developers access to various features such as touchscreen interface
  • It is a huge time-saver.
  • API acts as a link between platforms and software applications.
  • iOS SDK plays a prominent part in streamlining tasks
  • iPhone simulator mimics user interactions

App integrations tools

Application integration tools enable applications and services to work together. Application integration refers to the communication and exchange of information between different applications. Listed below are examples of some tools:

  • Mapping technologies such as Apple Maps and Google maps
  • Payment platforms such as Paypal and Stripe
  • Customer relationship management applications such as Salesforce
  • Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram

What working model will you follow?

It is crucial to sit down with your team and formulate a working plan. For example, hiring a remote team might be a cost-effective solution for a small business. The software developer skillset should match company requirements. 

In-house tech team

Feel free to discuss the technical skillset of team members. As a team leader or startup founder, one can compile a questionnaire. The response of the software development team determines the next step. 

  • Do you know Swift programming language?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Share an experience of iOS app development.
  • What is an Apple mindset?
  • What are protocols?
  • How is volatility achieved in Swift and Objective-c?
  • What are generics?
  • Explain iOS architecture
  • What are the properties of iOS?
  • What is the difference between Android and iOS?

Online hiring platforms

When it comes to finding developers to work with a technology stack for iOS, online job boards can prove to be resourceful. You can easily set up an account, and mention your company details, tech stack, etc. 

Due to inflation and rising costs, businesses prefer to hire remote software developers. It saves them the expenses of rent, utilities, training newcomers, etc. There are plenty of options for virtual hiring platforms.

An example of such a website is Gaper.io. It connects startups with the top software engineers. Gaper is a marketplace for the best software developers from around the world. After a strict vetting process and assessments, the developers become a part of the Gaper community. 

Before beginning the online software developer search, there are a few considerations to be made:

  • Are you looking for a freelance iOS developer or a remote iOS development team?
  • What are your deadlines?
  • Have you finalized the iOS tech stack for the project?
  • Are you looking for a junior iOS developer or a senior iOS programmer?

Conclusion

According to Medium, iOS developers are in high demand because businesses are looking to invest in cutting-edge technologies. Apple offers an iOS developer program for budding iOS developers. Selecting an appropriate tech stack is an essential part of software development. It has a major influence on the workings and efficiency of the iOS mobile app. Do not forget to define the goal of your app!

FAQs

  • What is iOS tech stack?

The iOS tech stack is a collection of programming languages, tools, and products that help to create an iOS application. Also known as solutions stacks, iOS tech stacks help to streamline the process of iOS app development. Some essential components of iOS tech stacks include:

  1. Programming languages: Objective -C and Swift programming language
  2. iOS App Toolset: Apple’s X-code, AppCode & iOS SDK
  3. App integrations tools
  • Is Objective-C still used in 2022?

The number of developers using Objective -C might have decreased. However, it is still here to stay. According to a  StackOverflow 2021 survey, we see that 5.1% of respondents use Swift, whereas 2.8% use Objective-C.

Objective -C is an object-oriented programming language that has been around since the 1980s. Objective -C might be old-fashioned to many, however, it is still the most used programming language at Apple. It is compatible with older versions of iOS and macOS. It is a stable yet mature language. 

  • What language is iOS written in?

Primarily, iOS apps are written in Swift language and Objective -C. Objective -C is an older language therefore it offers more stability. Swift programming language is an intuitive programming language that has a modern approach to coding. It was introduced in 2014 as an alternative to Java, C++, and Objective -C. 

  • Which is better Swift or Objective-C?

Although Swift programming language is rapidly becoming the ideal choice for iOS development, it does not mean that Objective -C has been entirely forgotten. The Swift stack as its name indicates might offer higher speed and increased security. However, it is relatively new. iOS developers have been using Objective -C for decades. 

Objective -C is older however it is a bit harder to learn. Swift is becoming popular among software developers however it might be not the most suitable option for large projects. It is easier to learn Swift programming. If Objective -C is the language of the present, then Swift is the language of the future. 

  • What is a mobile tech stack?

A mobile technology stack comprises all the tools, technologies, languages, and frameworks that you can use during mobile app development. The primary goal of using a mobile app tech stack is to streamline the software development phase. Examples of mobile tech stacks include the android tech stack and technology stack for iOS development.

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