Introduction: Why Android app development?
This article explores the importance of choosing the right programming language for Android app development. Selecting an Android mobile development allows you to expand your audience; 80% of smartphones are equipped with it. However, to create an Android app that uses the camera and other smartphone features, you have to code natively, but there is a wide range of mobile development programming languages from which to choose, so we’ve looked at the most popular.
So if you have made your pick between Mobile and Web development, let’s check the top languages for Android app development.
Top 5 programming languages for Android today
Java is the oldest and the official native language of Android; it is also the most popular mobile application. It is supported by the Android Studio development environment. However, it is a rather tricky mobile development tool to master and can be sluggish.
Kotlin was introduced in 2017 as a secondary “official” language by Google. It is similar to Java in many ways but easier to use. This language is interoperable and can be combined with Java. It is increasingly becoming the new standard and it can be used on several tools and IDEs. Kotlin requires fewer lines of code are needed to achieve the same functionality. Kotlin and Java are both native development programming apps which have their own pros and cons.
Hybrid programming languages
C# and C++
C# and C++ are compatible languages for Android Studio and iOS mobile development software. They can be used with the Android NDK, allowing you to implement native code with C/C++. The C language is often the basis of 3D games. Indeed, it pushes to the maximum the optimisation of the potentialities of Android smartphones.
C# is another functional language. It is easier to use for beginners than C/C++. It’s a popular language for game development and command-line scripting for Android operating systems.
Python is an example of a PWA or a Progressive Web App programming language. It is a popular, powerful, versatile and widely used language. Until recently, Python was unsuitable for mobile app development, but the emergence of new frameworks means that its extensive library can be used to create dynamic Android apps. Developers use fewer lines of code to express a function. Python is currently enjoying the fastest usage growth, according to StackOverflow Trends (1.) However, Python is more challenging to use than Java. It has a steeper learning curve compared to other languages in this category.
Comparison of Programming Languages
Syntax and Learning Curve
Kotlin has Intuitive syntax that lets you code faster and more efficiently than Java. Its strong type system helps prevent errors and provides many valuable features, such as null safety and data classes. Null annotations allow you to specify which variables can be null or non-null when declared. So you don’t have to worry about runtime exceptions caused by forgetting this important detail while coding. It’s considered by many developers to be a cleaner, neater version of Java.
Performance and Efficiency
In terms of performance and efficiency, C is the fastest programming language. However, the performance of the technology is data to be verified without discriminating against your choice in specific cases. The main thing is to develop a platform offering response times of around 500 ms. Most known development languages fulfil this objective.
Tooling and Ecosystem
Java is the clear front-runner in this respect. Taking into account the ecosystem from which the language benefits is an important point. Its ecosystem includes the tools made available to developers and the extent of the community around the language that contributes to its development. Stable tools and an active community is preferable.
Community and Support
One of the main reasons why Java is the first choice among application developers is that it has a vast community, which is a welcome help for new developers. In addition, despite its ease of learning, Java is a powerful programming language for mobile applications.
Platform and Device Compatibility
Java is the official Android programming language and is compatible with iOS app development.
Why cross-platform is key
There are several technological possibilities when creating an app. Hybrid apps are mobile apps called cross-platform apps. They allow you to design a mobile app for iOS and Android simultaneously. Hybrid mobile applications are, therefore, independent of OS. Only one unique code base is needed for all platforms. They are eligible for Apple and Google Stores, like native apps. The user feels little difference between the two.
Hybrid apps are halfway between the native mobile app and the web app. They are entirely geared towards responsive web design (RWD). Hybrid apps mobilise the essential functions of smartphones, such as the use of the camera.
Technically, they combine web and native tools. Specific frameworks establish links with the native code of the smartphone. The most promising is React Native. They provide a common API to access essential functionalities. The hybrid SDK will communicate with the iOS or Android SDK. Other elements are processed via the mobile web browser. This is, for the most part, server data.
Different hybrid development technologies exist. The web programming language is still used. This source code is compiled and then associated with native packages. This mobile development is quite simple for a novice. The best-known frameworks are React Native, Ionic and Cordova.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Programming Language
Generally, it is certainly possible to write adequate software in Python, Java, C#, PHP, or any other popular language. Of course, it is equally possible to write terrible software using them! However, the criteria below focus on the points that should be analysed.
- Project Requirements and Constraints: Web apps, mobile apps, embedded firmware – the application type in development strongly influences the best language to choose. General programming languages like Java, Python and C# can create different apps on various platforms. In some circumstances, specific languages will work better. Building a native Android app, for example, needs a working knowledge of Java, while creating a native iOS app utilises an Objective-C skill set. Understanding C# or C++ is essential if you’re using embedded firmware.
- Team Skills and Expertise: It is not advisable to embark on a language in which you have resources who have little experience, so it’s vital to consider the skill set of your team. Is it realistic to introduce a new language to your people? If there isn’t a solid reason to bring in new technology, working with existing skill sets is usually better for getting projects off the ground faster. Learning new languages and technologies should be reserved for less urgent tasks.
- App Complexity and Performance: The size and complexity of a new app play a crucial role in determining which technology to use, which is also an important factor in deciding which programming language to utilise. Minor projects, such as simple web application forms to gather data, can be carried out with some CMS systems like WordPress, requiring PHP knowledge. Medium-scale projects, such as e-commerce sites and IoT solutions, frequently have varying layers, integrations and components. In contrast, a programming language such as Java or C# could help simplify the required skill sets needed to maintain the products. Complex applications are typically broken down into smaller components where each element provides a particular function and utilises a different technology language and stack to deliver the optimal result.
- Time and Budget Constraints: The expected development speed may vary depending on your project goals. In the case of the realisation of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), your imperative will be to develop quickly for a rapid test on the market. Your application does not necessarily have to be developed by the same technology for its entire lifespan.
Summing up, when it comes to choosing the right language for Android app development, there are several options available. Java has been the official language for Android, but Kotlin has emerged as a popular choice for developers due to its modern features and ease of use.
C++ and C# are also great choices for native apps, while Python is useful for scripting and rapid prototyping. Ultimately, the language you choose will depend on your specific project needs and personal preferences.
Consider the pros and cons of each language, and consult with experienced developers to make an informed decision. Overall, no matter which language you choose, the key is to focus on creating a high-quality app that delivers a great user experience.