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MVC vs MVVM vs MVP vs VIPER: Which design architecture is suitable for iOS?

The architectural patterns of design are the ones that aid in de-cluttering and organizing the code. And, regardless of whether you are developing an iOS app yourself, or you are hiring an iOS App Development Company to do the job for you, it is important for you to understand the options that you have in this regard.

There was a time, not too long back, when designing an iOS app meant relying on one of the three design patterns, namely, the singleton pattern, the decorator pattern, and the bridge design pattern. But, since these patterns started throwing up issues of interactions among client and server, iOS moved towards the newer and better patterns of MVP, MVVM, MVC, and Viper.

So, which of these design architecture is the best suited for iOS? Let’s run a thorough analysis of it all, and see for ourselves.

The MVC pattern

MVC, short for Module View Controller, was introduced by Trygve Reenskaug, a Norwegian computer engineer. Given the fact that it has been around since 1970, makes it pretty much the grandfather of the other patterns on this list. It was, in fact, the first approach towards object-oriented programming.

View displays everything for the user of the system. Model handles the business entities, databases, and the rest of the data. Controller has the responsibility to handle the work of the model, provide data to database, and bring the data from the view to the database and vice versa.

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Now, the problem is that Apple has such a tight link between Controller and View that both of these are actually united, while the Model stays separate. Thus, the testing process suffers, as only the Model can be tested, and the tight link between Controller and View prevents them from being tested.

The strong connect between Controller and View is not healthy for software, and thus, in the mvc vs mvp debate, the latter wins by a margin.

The MVP pattern

MVP, or the ‘Model View Presenter,’ has a couple of points working for it, which makes it vastly different from MVC.

The Model

  • View and Model are loosely linked. The Presenter has to bind the View to the Model.
  • The interactions with view take place through a proper interface, which makes it easier for unit testing.
  • Generally Presenter to View happens on a one-to one basis, though complicated views might come with multiple presenters.

The MVC Pattern

  • Controllers depend on behaviors. It can get shared across the View
  • Handles the responsibility of determining the right view for displaying

The functions of the Model stay the same in this case. Business logic is handled by the Presenter. The interesting part of it is the View, which has two components, namely, the View Controller and View, which handle the interaction.

In the mvvm vs mvc debate, the former solves the issues of heavy connection between Controller and View modes that are there in the MVC patterns. The testing troubles also get solved this way, as everything, from Presenter, user interaction, View, and Model can be tested.

The major inconvenience lies in the Presenter because it is still too huge and it still considers all the present business logics.

The MVVM pattern

John Gossman, an architect from Microsoft is credited to have created the ‘Model View-View Model’ pattern in the year 2005. There are three main components of this model:

Model is all about implementing the domain model of the application to include the data model, validation, and business logic. Instances of the Model objects are DTOs (data transfer objects), business objects, POCOs (Plain Old CLR Objects), proxy objects, generated entity, and repositories.

View is all that the user can see, like the structure, the layout, and how everything comes up on screen. It is the app page within the application. View receives and sends out updates to only the View-Model, except the communications that take place between the Model and this part.

View-Model is the chain between the Model and the View components. The logic behind view is handled by this component. The model classes are used by the View-Model to interact with Model. The View-Model then takes the Model data in the form that View can put to use.

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Difference between MVVM and MVC in iOS

The distribution pattern of MVVM is much better than MVC, but the problem is that it is also immensely overloaded. Testing is a significant aspect to keep in mind in here. Just writing the right code is not a guarantee that the project will work as expected. You need the right kind of testing to know that it will actually work.

The Viper pattern

While the search was still on for the right architectural solution, the developers got hold of this clean piece of architecture on the Clean Coders. Clean Coders is a renowned platform that arranges training sessions aimed at software professionals of the world.

This new architecture was all about splitting the logical structure of the application into a number of responsibility levels. This splitting is helpful in increasing the testing capacity of the different levels and solves the tight connection problems.

Viper for iOS app design

Viper is the realization of a cleaner architecture for building the iOS applications. Even this one is an acronym for ‘View-Interaction-Presenter-Entity-Routing.’ Each of these parts handles the responsibility of a particular element, like:

  • View mirrors the actions which the user has for an interface.
  • Entities actually corresponds the most with the Interactor. So, the Interactor is informed by the Presenter regarding the developments in the View. The next up on the contact for the Interactor is the Entity. The data it gets from the Entity is sent to the Presenter. The View, then, mirrors it for the user. All the sites, entities, and data models remain linked to the Interactor.
  • Presenter has, comparatively, limited responsibilities. It just gets the updates from the Entity, with sending data to it.
  • Entity has the objects which the Interactor controls, like the content and the titles. It can never interact with the Presenter without the intervention of the Interactor.
  • Routing, also called the Wireframe, helps in navigating between the screens, and thus, does the job of routing. Routing handles the objects of UINavigationController, UIWindow, and the likes. UIkit is the framework upon which it gets built in an iOS app design architectural pattern. UIkit has all the components of MVC, minus the tight link that makes lives difficult for the codes.

Viper is great in terms of unit testing because the amazing distribution of the patterns allows you to run thorough tests on the available functions. This solves the main issue that developers had while using MVVM, MVP, and MVC software pattern. However, Viper has multiple nuances that are difficult to generate. So, it’s not like Viper is a picture of perfection for the developers.

Wrapping up

So, who gets the crown for the best design architecture for iOS? Actually, no one! This is because each of these has its underlying issues and none of them are perfect enough to be universally used for every project you take up.

They say ‘fortune favors the brave.’ So, perhaps it’s time to take the bold step of playing with a mix of two or three patterns!

Swift vs Objective-C: Which is Ideal for iOS App Development in 2020

When you aim to develop the perfect iOS app, one of the first things that you need to decide is the language that you will need for the project. In terms of native mobile app development for iOS, you basically get two choices: either use the good old Objective-C or go with the next-gen Swift.

Now, understanding the ideal programming language for iOS app development needs you to consider the features, differences, pros, and cons of both the options that you have on hand.

So, without further ado, let’s get right into the details of Swift vs. Objective-C.

The main features and characteristics of the languages

Objective-C

         

Way back in the 1980s, Brad Cox and Tom Love of the Stepstone Company came up with the programming language Objective-C, as the extension of C. It was released in the market in 1988, and the response it received was quite amazing. “Object-Oriented Programming: An Evolutionary Approach”: a book written by Brad Cox and Tom Love in the same year was instrumental in the success of this programming language.

Finally, during the late 1980s, NeXT Computer, Inc. acquired the license for Objective-C for developing the frameworks for ‘NeXTStep,’ which was again, picked up by Apple. Thus, Objective-C came up to be the standard in terms of iOS app development for many years.

Basically, two programming languages were brought together to create Objective-C, namely, Smalltalk and C. This is what makes it a language with an extensive, complex syntax. Smalltalk gives it the object syntax, and the non-object syntax comes from C.

Message passing and dynamic tapping are used by Objective-C. The code blocks of implementation and interface are also required in this case for dividing classes.

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Swift

Swift is younger than Objective-C, as Apple began developing it in 2010 and it was released in the market four years after that. A year after that Swift was made open source. Swift goes way past C and Smalltalk and rather embraces the features of modern programming languages. So, here you will find type inference, optional, generics, and other such higher-order functions.

The speed of app development with both the languages

The features that a programming language comes with are crucial in ensuring that you get the speed of app development that you aim for. Swift is actually swifter than Objective-C when it comes to speed!

The use of higher order functions and generics make the codes much more reusable and cleaner. Type inference and options also make sure that the codes are safe as they are being transferred to the compilator from the programmer.

Moreover, the syntax is highly concise and you don’t have to make two code blocks for implementation and class interface. So, the programmers don’t need to write codes as lengthy in Swift as they have to in the case of Objective-C. In addition to that, there is a general consensus among the developers that this factor alone gives Swift an edge over Objective-C.

The pros and cons of both the languages

There is no denying the fact that you can develop apps faster in Swift, but that’s not the be-all and end-all of the decision to choose a programming language for your iOS app. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both languages.

Objective-C

Pros:

It’s been tried and tested for years. Objective-C has literally been used for writing millions of codes from its beginning till this day. You will get an answer to almost each question and every doubt thanks to the third party frameworks and the documentation that exists.

The compatibility with C++ and C. Objective-C is actually a superset of the programming language C. Thus, it works pretty smoothly for both C++ and C codes.

The stability factor. If an application is developed in Objective-C, you will not really have to spend your money for taking the application to a new language after a couple of months.

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Not the easiest to learn. It is significantly different from other common programming languages. The memory management of Objective-C is really complex. Thus, if a developer has an idea about Objective-C, he can learn and start working with Swift easily.

Dwindling number of supporters. With the difficulty posed in learning Objective-C, the new-age developers are keener to learn Swift rather than Objective-C. On the other hand, the seasoned developers who know all about Objective-C, find it easy to learn Swift. So, there is a steady stream of migration of developers from Objective-C to Swift.

The reverse engineering tools. The app that has been made with Objective-C is easier to hack into compared to a Swift app. Objective-C is renowned by now, and it has been here for years. So, the tools of reverse engineering are quite sharp, as well.

Swift

Pros:

The safety factor. The number of features on offer, right from type interference, optional, to generics, make sure that the Swift apps are not as prone to bugs or crash as frequently as Objective-C.

Apple is Swift-focused. Apple develops the language and offers support to the community constantly. The developers are raving about the technicalities of Swift, which is an indication that this language deserves all the attention.

The developer’s team will love you! survey reveals that Swift is one of the leading programming languages, while Objective-C is the most shied away from.

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Changes and migrations. The weakest link of Swift is the change and migration associated with it. However, it is already not as difficult as it was, but still there is definitely chances of improvement after the introduction of ABI stability.

The constant changes in the language used to be a problem earlier. Developers had to shift to the new versions, which costs both money and time. The good thing is that, as time goes on, the subsequent versions are becoming better than ever before.

Summing up

According to the ongoing discussions on this topic among the developers’ community, Swift is perfect for the latest, small apps. However, when it comes to large projects that already come with extensive Objective-C codebases, Swift might pose some difficulties at the onset. With that being said, Swift has become really advanced and many of its glitches are being progressively fixed, which makes it the ideal language for iOS app development.