iOS Demand May Put Objective-C in the Spotlight

Joe Purcell By Joe Purcell
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One of the most popular trends among programmers is the iOS platform. The onset of Apple’s fleet of mobile devices combined with their high demand has created a huge demand for Objective-C programmers. The “underdog” status of Objective-C compared to other C variants may change.

A report from Indeed.com showing job trends reveals that absolute numbers for Objective-C jobs are significantly lower than other languages, Java being head and shoulders above the rest, followed by C++ and C#. In fact, C#’s rising popularity is evident, as it passed C++ in late 2010.

However, looking at the statistics relative to their starting point values, one sees a very different picture. Job growth for Visual Basic and Perl have stopped or are decreasing, Java and Perl have had steady growth, and C# even more steady. What becomes clear at first glance is that Objective-C jobs have had nearly exponential growth since 2006.

One new development may change the effect iOS is having on Objective-C jobs. Cross-development IDEs have been around for a while. However, none have been viable solutions. Appcelerator’s Titanium Developer, on the other hand, offers a promosing solution for developers.

Titanium applications are written in JavaScript and then converted to Objective-C. A comment on StackOverflow delves a bit into how Titanium does this. In essence, the JavaScript code is pre-compiled into symbols that are then handled by Titanium’s API which knows which symbols to associate with which procedures to call, and the compiled ‘.o’ files are written. The same process applies to whatever platform the developer chooses, such as Java for Android.

Mobile trends will certainly have an impact on computer languages. Currently, iOS platforms are high in demand, as an Appcelerator’s April Report shows. However, many platform SDKs are including Common Language Runtime (CLR) support so that any language can be used. Additionally, cross-platform IDEs, like Titanium, are leveling the playing field, or more likely, pulling developers towards the language the cross platform IDE uses.

Even so, the drastic increase in demand for Objective-C jobs has put the language in the spotlight and will certainly spark interest in the C programming community.

About Joe Purcell
Joe Purcell is a technology virtuoso, cyberspace frontiersman, and connoisseur of Linux, Mac, and Windows alike.

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