Apple Replacing Objective C With New Programming Language For iOS App Development?

9to5Mac writes on an interesting speculation that has been doing the rounds lately. Apple could be working on an alternative new programming language that will replace Objective C as the default coding language for developers on the Apple OS platform.

Swedish developer Jesper writes on his blog,

“After watching the eminently early and freely available WWDC 2010 session videos, I think my scales have finally tipped. It is my belief that Apple is definitely working on a new language to surpass Objective-C as their intended, primary, publicly recommended programming language, which I will call “xlang”.”

The new language is expected to be based off Objective C and still be “modern” enough to cater to all of Apple’s requirements. Jesper says this new platform will give Apple a modern language with a modern environment that is low-level enough to perform at the speed of Objective C and still be thin enough to carry out most of the modern amenties efficiently.

You may also note that Apple has been working on a compiler front-end called Clang to replace the GNU compiler collection. Development of Clang was completed last month and Apple is expected to make the replacement soon.

2 thoughts on “Apple Replacing Objective C With New Programming Language For iOS App Development?”

  1. Funny, this is completely made up. I was at WWDC and there is absolutely nothing there that would even remotely suggest this as a possibility.

    Not that I would be against it, I am banging my head on some code right now that I would think would be simple.

  2. Of course they are not going to say anything at WWDC. If you look at the SDKs for Clang, they definitely have things abstracted in a way to support a new programming language. This is all complete speculation, but it is a fact that some of the ground work laid out now could make it easier to transition to a new language. The blocks feature also suggests that they are laying ground work for a new language. Closures are becoming very mainstream these days and probably deserve more of a role then they currently have in Objective-C. I would say that it will be at least a year before it would start to be seeded to developers. They guy behind LLVM and Clang (Chris Lattner) doesn’t like to put tradition over innovation. It is possible we could see some really revolutionary (perhaps in their simplicity) ideas in a new language. The new Xcode could be partially motivated as preparation for a new language. If you see the new integration with Interface Builder, it could even take a step away from traditional text based editing. The key indicators are the design of the Clang SDK (it was designed to be modular to support additional languages) and blocks feel like they could be a core part of a new language. I expect that we would see more innovation at the language level then the runtime level. Chris Lattner has been a proponent of really lightweight runtimes. LLVM is a great example of that philosophy and makes it really credible because LLVM works so well compared to alternatives like Microsofts .net.

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