Mobile apps are everywhere today and form an integral part of our lives. From social media apps to necessary apps, from gaming apps to shopping apps, our mobiles are filled with them.
Just glance through the statistics to know why mobile apps rule the world and will continue to do in the years ahead-
- The mobile app downloads worldwide increased from 140 billion in 2016 to 200 billion in 2019.
- There are about 2.56 million apps on Android in 2020 and about 1.85 million apps for iOS.
- The worldwide app revenue in 2020 was 582 billion dollars and is expected to reach 935 billion dollars in 2023.
- The average consumer spend on mobile apps is 4.48 dollars up from 3.90 dollars in 2019.
- The annual mobile app download in China is expected to reach 147 billion in 2023 from 90 billion in 2018.
For each app you see on your mobile, a lot of software goes into it to make it rich in UI/UX and functionality. Now let us know the languages for mobile application development and see what brings these apps to life.
The 10 top mobile application development languages are-
Java is an open-source, object-oriented mobile app development language that has the core benefit of write once, run anywhere (WORA). The benefits of Java being the preferred mobile app development language are-
Multithreading- This allows for running and executing multitasks simultaneously. This increases the efficiency, response time and performance of the app.
Memory management- The Java objects are stored in a heap that can increase or decrease in size during the execution. The garbage is eliminated automatically thus making space for the entry of new objects. This increases the performance, decreases the crash chances and makes the app optimized.
Scalability- It is easy to scale the app either in depth or width when coding in Java.
Platform independent- Java codes, once written, can be used on any platform with minimal changes. This reduces coding time and increases efficiency.
Increased security- The inbuilt Java language features like cryptography, sandbox, exception handling helps in preventing threats. Also, security policies can be tweaked to individual apps thus safeguarding it against attacks.
Open-source- Java has a vast repository of resources, libraries, and online communities on the internet that will help for easy mobile app development.
Java is the official mobile app development language but other languages have tried to cover up its shortcomings. One of them is Kotlin. It is an open-source programming language that combines object-oriented and functional programming features. It offers some benefits over Java, like-
Compatibility- It is interoperable with Java and programs written in Java can be easily changed to Kotlin by adding the given tools and frameworks.
Fewer codes- With Kotlin, you require fewer codes for the same app when compared to Java due to its better data classes, type interface, properties and smart casts. This makes it easy to maintain and apply changes when needed.
Safe code- The code simplicity of Kotlin allows for fewer errors thus reducing the chances of crashes and system failures.
Faster coding- Its object declarations, parameter values and extension functions speed up the development thus reducing the coding time.
Null safety- Kotlin has null in its type system thus reducing the danger of null references from code.
Swift replaced Objective-C as the primary programming language for iOS applications. The benefits of using Swift for iOS app development are-
Clean syntax- The codes in Swift is compact and concise giving it a simplified view. Also, the code resembles simple English language making it more readable and easy to understand. Also, compact code means faster development and better speed.
Easy file maintenance- With Swift, you have a single code file (.swift) instead of two as in Objective-C (header file .h and implementation file .m).
Easy bug testing- Swift generates compiler error making it easy to fix bugs while writing the code.
Open-source- Swift has good support from online communities thus making improvements on a regular basis.
Dynamic libraries- Dynamic libraries linked to an app helps in linking newer versions of the language.
Interactive coding- The Playgrounds feature helps coders to test new algorithms first by writing a chunk of code while receiving feedbacks without having to create the entire app.
Other than these mobile app languages there are the hugely popular frameworks that are used to develop mobile apps. The most common examples of frameworks for mobile app development is Flutter, Ionic, PhoneGap, Xamarin, and Framework7.
HTML5 can be used for cross-platform applications. The frameworks that use HTML5 are Apache Cordova (formerly known as PhoneGap), JQuery Mobile, SproutCore and Sencha Touch. HTML5 mobile apps are cheaper and easier to build.
XML is used as a frontend markup language to define the appearance of the app and for parsing data either from the database or server to the Android app.
C# is an object-oriented, functional and component-oriented programming language. It works best for simple mobile application development. When hardware-specific native features are required, then Java from Android and Objective-C for iOS is required. Xamarin framework uses C# language and is great for cross-platform mobile apps. C# is reliable, easy to adopt with powerful features. It is also best for game development. The cross-platform game engine, Unity uses C# as the scripting API.
C++ is used where close interaction with the hardware is required like in mobile gaming development, signal processing and simulations. NDK toolset is required to enable the development of apps in Android using C++. But using the NDK tool has disadvantages like compatibility issues, hard debugging and decreased flexibility.
9. Java Script
The Dart, a typed object programming language was developed by Google in October 2011. The Flutter UI framework uses Dart programming language. We can say that Dart has become known because of Flutter’s popularity. Google has documented it extensively, but the online support from communities is limited.
Mobile app development is easy now thanks to the countless frameworks and toolkits available. Selecting a framework depends on your expertise, the client requirement and the use of advanced technologies.
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