Appendix A. C, Objective-C, and Swift

The APIs for Cocoa and its associated frameworks are written in Objective-C or its underlying base language, C. Messages that you send to Cocoa using Swift are being translated for you into Objective-C. Objects that you send and receive back and forth across the Swift/Objective-C bridge are Objective-C objects. Some objects that you send from Swift to Objective-C are even being translated for you into other object types, or into nonobject types.

This appendix summarizes the relevant linguistic features of C and Objective-C, and describes how Swift interfaces with those features. I do not explain here how to write Objective-C! For example, I’ll talk about Objective-C methods and method declarations, because you need to know how to call an Objective-C method from Swift; but I’m not going to explain how to call an Objective-C method using Objective-C.

The C Language

Objective-C is a superset of C; to put it another way, C provides the linguistic underpinnings of Objective-C. Everything that is true of C is true also of Objective-C. It is possible, and often necessary, to write long stretches of Objective-C code that are, in effect, pure C. Some of the Cocoa APIs are written in C. Therefore, in order to know about Objective-C, it is necessary to know about C.

C statements, including declarations, must end in a semicolon. Variables must be declared before use. A variable declaration consists of a data type name followed by the variable name, optionally ...

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