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Objective-C

The meaning of «objective-c»

Objective-C is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that adds Smalltalk-style messaging to the C programming language. It was the main programming language supported by Apple for macOS, iOS, and their respective application programming interfaces (APIs), Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, until the introduction of Swift in 2014.[3]

The language was originally developed in the early 1980s. It was later selected as the main language used by NeXT for its NeXTSTEP operating system, from which macOS and iOS are derived.[4] Portable Objective-C programs that do not use Apple libraries, or those using parts that may be ported or reimplemented for other systems, can also be compiled for any system supported by GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) or Clang.

Objective-C source code 'implementation' program files usually have .mw-parser-output .monospaced{font-family:monospace,monospace}.m filename extensions, while Objective-C 'header/interface' files have .h extensions, the same as C header files. Objective-C++ files are denoted with a .mm file extension.

Objective-C was created primarily by Brad Cox and Tom Love in the early 1980s at their company Productivity Products International.[5]

Leading up to the creation of their company, both had been introduced to Smalltalk while at ITT Corporation's Programming Technology Center in 1981. The earliest work on Objective-C traces back to around that time.[6] Cox was intrigued by problems of true reusability in software design and programming. He realized that a language like Smalltalk would be invaluable in building development environments for system developers at ITT. However, he and Tom Love also recognized that backward compatibility with C was critically important in ITT's telecom engineering milieu.[7]

Cox began writing a pre-processor for C to add some of the abilities of Smalltalk. He soon had a working implementation of an object-oriented extension to the C language, which he called "OOPC" for Object-Oriented Pre-Compiler.[8] Love was hired by Schlumberger Research in 1982 and had the opportunity to acquire the first commercial copy of Smalltalk-80, which further influenced the development of their brainchild. In order to demonstrate that real progress could be made, Cox showed that making interchangeable software components really needed only a few practical changes to existing tools. Specifically, they needed to support objects in a flexible manner, come supplied with a usable set of libraries, and allow for the code (and any resources needed by the code) to be bundled into one cross-platform format.

Love and Cox eventually formed PPI to commercialize their product, which coupled an Objective-C compiler with class libraries. In 1986, Cox published the main description of Objective-C in its original form in the book Object-Oriented Programming, An Evolutionary Approach. Although he was careful to point out that there is more to the problem of reusability than just what Objective-C provides, the language often found itself compared feature for feature with other languages.

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