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Mike Kreuzer

Whither Objective C

3 April 2014

John Siracusa has kicked off a discussion about the future of Objective C again. A lot of his premise is basically right, writing in Objective C feels like travelling back in time compared to writing in C# or even Java.

Siracusa has kicked this can around before, this time he was on the iMore Debug podcast and it's lead to some interesting analysis written by Ash Furrow and Steve Streza.

The podcast has an interesting discussion about the effort that was required at Microsoft to shift to Windows NT, and to build the CLR. And Siracusa's point that a replacement for Objective C means replacing Cocoa and the whole OS is something I hadn't properly considered before: Siracusa believes (as I understand it) that no amount of tweaking of the syntax is going to fix the bigger picture problem. For him cutting back on the boilerplate and the brackets is not the issue.

Maybe. I'm not entirely convinced that it has to be an all or nothing deal. Evolutionary changes to the syntax could lead to better libraries which could lead to the new features. Perhaps starting with something like Eero, or perhaps less ambitiously something like Nimrod or Rust. Something like that syntax-wise maybe combined with something like ReactiveCocoa.

Maybe. Maybe a revolution is required. It would be something to be the next NeXT and be swooped up to save the day. Maybe that's a potential opportunity for somebody.

It's bizarre & deeply disappointing to me that the web & iOS devices, two of the most interesting problem domains around right now are both locked up with two of the more horrible languages, Javascript & Objective C. Something needs to be done about that. The argument as far as I'm concerned is just about how far we have to go now, not that we have to get moving.