Objective-C is basically the C language with a few add-ons. It is an object-oriented programming language with Smalltalk-style messaging, along with C. Apple used this language for a long time, both for OS X and iOS operating systems; then they created Swift (which is basically Objective-C, without the C). It is also the code developers use to write most iPhone and iPad apps. If you want to get into making apps or working for Apple, we suggest learning it.
The Features of Objective-C
Apple used Objective-C for a long time to program both OS X (Macbooks) and iOS (iPhones). It is still used to create apps for Apple devices. It includes the pillars of object-oriented development, which are:
- Encapsulation, binding data and function together
- Data hiding, showing only essential features of the object to the public
- Inheritance, creating new classes from existing classes
- Polymorphism, objects can take different forms
Objective-C has the same syntax as C, which makes it easier to learn if you already know C. With “Smalltalk” you send messages to objects, which makes the language object-oriented. For example, a code can be: [cup makeEmpty], which means that a cup can be emptied. Objective-C uses brackets () while most other coding languages do not.
The History of the Language
Brad Cox and Tom Love created Objective-C early in the 1980’s. They began trying to write Smalltalk into C. In 1986 Cox published the description of Object-Oriented C in the book Object-Oriented Programming, An Evolutionary Approach. After that, NeXT began working on Objective-C in 1988; they made compiler changes, and wrote the runtime. In 1996, Apple Computer acquired NeXT and began using the language in their new operating system, OS X. Along with the code, this included the developer tool Project Builder, and its interface design tool Interface Builder, and merged it into X code application. Apple continued to use this until 2014, when they introduced a new language called “Swift”.
Overall, Objective-C is a useful language to learn, especially for app development. This code isn’t terribly hard to learn, but like all other languages, it takes practice and dedication. And if you already know C, it shouldn’t be too hard to learn at all.