In the world of Native mobile app development, both Android and IOS have separate app development frameworks and both have different official IDEs. Now let’s talk about what is XCode? Xcode is the official IDE (Integrated Development Environment) developed by Apple for IOS app development. Also, Swift is the language that is officially used for IOS app development in XCode.
It runs only on Mac OS and it is used to develop software for Mac OS, IOS, IPad OS, Watch OS, and TV OS. It was first introduced in 2003 and its most stable version is 12.4 which is released in January 2021. It is available via the Mac App Store free of charge but it is only for mac users as the XCode can only run on Mac OS and we cannot run it on Windows or Linux etc.
1. Why do we need XCode?
A question that would have popped up in almost every reader’s mind that why there is any need to use XCode for IOS development when there are cross-platform alternatives available on windows. Apparently, it could be easily seen that XCode could be replaced by a cross-platform app development framework on windows but it isn’t replaced at all why is it?
The answer to this question is that cross-platform apps are not as good in performance as native ones are. No matter whether cross-platform app development frameworks are improving themselves more and more still, they can’t completely replace the native one because of more control, reliability, and convenience.
So, cross-platform can never replace XCode or any native app development platform.
2. What is Swift Programming Language?
Swift programming language is also an OOP(Object Oriented Programming) based language and it is very easy to learn and much safer. Previously the Swift language allowed support for Only Mac and Linux platforms but in its latest release, it has also allowed support for windows.
On the Windows platform, it works with visual studio 2019. If you wish to install the Swift programming language on windows, you can do so very easily by just following a few steps very carefully. You can find all this here.
Swift is not just an ordinary language it is much more. In IOS app development, for the smoothness of apps and their fast and secure working, the credit also goes to the swift programming language as they are all programmed using this language.
3. Can we install XCode on windows?
If you wish to install XCode on windows then there is a sad reality that XCode officially has no support for windows and it could only run on Mac OS but here I am going to suggest to you the best way for installing XCode on windows and developing IOS apps, the cheap way if you don’t have a MacBook.
First of all, If you wish to install XCode on windows and you don’t have even a single penny to spend then this is the best option available now. What you can do is simply use a virtual machine on windows and we can install Mac OS over it and then we would be able to install XCode in it. The best free open source virtual machine software available today is VirtualBox which is the best option for you to go for.
Secondly, If you are willing to spend some money but want to go the cheaper way then this option is for you and that is to buy a Mac mini and you can even buy an old version from the market very easily which is the best option available.
4. Is there any alternative option of XCode available on windows?
- It should be noted that an IOS app could be written on windows via different cross-platform frameworks or using swift but still, the code can only be compiled in XCode which runs on a Mac only. Also, one can install IOS virtual devices for testing the apps on Mac OS only. So, any way you are going to need XCode for developing IOS applications.
- There are a lot of IDEs available on the internet but there are many elements that should be addressed here which play a key role in deciding whether it is a proper alternative for XCode or not. These elements include GUI(graphical user interface), language support, reliability, and convenience.
- So, by keeping these elements in mind, the best XCode alternative for windows is the VScode 2019 which now has received support for swift programming language in the latest release of swift. It is the only IDE available on windows for which Swift offered its official support.
- Further detail on how to install swift for windows is given above. In my opinion, VScode is the best IDE available on the internet today because of its simple, fast, and efficient environment. It is developed by Microsoft and it serves its purpose well. It supports almost every programming language. But still, the limitation of compiling an IOS application exists and it can’t be done without XCode.
- VScode is such an IDE that has huge community support among the developer’s community. If a developer hasn’t tried it yet (which is not possible in my opinion) then you should just try it and you’ll probably enjoy working on it. This is one of Microsoft’s best products that couldn’t be replaced as it is very difficult for any other IDE to run and work with that much smoothness.
So, far I’ve discussed in this article what is XCode and why would one be needing it anyway and can we use it on the windows platform or not, or if there is an alternative option for XCode available on windows or not. The purpose of such a detailed discussion is to empower the readers to know in detail about XCode along with its limitations.
So, one can write apps using VScode and then he can compile them on XCode by installing it on a virtual machine or he can simply buy a MacBook for this job.
Also, let me know in the comment section what do you think about all the stuff that I’ve discussed in this article?