Best programming language for app development

Last Updated on May 27, 2022

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Developing apps has become a big business in the past few years. There are a wide variety of mobile operating systems out there, and new ones coming out all the time. With more than 2 million apps available on app stores worldwide, it’s important to know which languages are most popular for developing apps.

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Types of Mobile App

Before choosing the best app coding language for your mobile product to write the best code for apps, deal with the types of mobile applications that exist there on the market. There’s a choice.

  • Native apps

The Native app is an app developed for the chosen OS on the device that can be accessed from the app launch icon. These applications are called native because they are written in the native programming language for a specific platform. For Android OS, this android coding language is Java, while ios native language is Objective-C or Swift Mobile web apps.

Mobile web apps may not be mobile apps per se. These are rather websites that look and feel a lot like native apps. The fact is that a web application is, by nature, a website that is adapted and optimized for any smartphone. And to use it, it is enough to have a browser on the device, know its address, and have an Internet connection (thanks to it, information in this type of application is updated).

  • Hybrid apps

They are a symbiosis of native apps & web apps. Like native apps, they may be loaded from within the app, and they can also use various features of the device they’re installed on.

Hybrid apps are a mix of web and native apps, which means their cross-platform and have access to the functionality of a smartphone. These apps may be found exclusively on the markets like Google Play and the App Store.

Just like web applications, their platform is HTML5. They are processed through the browser, which is built into the application itself.

Best programming language for app development

1. Swift (for Apple devices)

Swift (for Apple devices) the Best Language for App Development
Swift (for Apple devices) the Best Language for App Development

The first candidate is Swift. It is a programming language by Apple, originally designed as a successor to Objective-C. It has been used since 2014 as a replacement for Objective-C in most Apple products.

Swift is a general-purpose programming language, with modern features targeting desktop and server development. Swift’s syntax is based on that of Objective-C, but it introduces many changes to the original Concepts from that language.

Pros

Swift is a programming language for iOS and macOS app development. Swift is a general-purpose programming language but was designed with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks in mind, making it very effective for developing iOS apps.

There are several reasons why Swift is a good choice for app development:

  • Swift uses less lines of code than other languages to do the same job.
  • The syntax is easy to learn by following rules that are similar to other languages like Java, C++, and Python.
  • It has many powerful features like type inference, generics, closures, fast compile times, and more that make coding simpler and faster than it would be otherwise.
  • The compiler is really intelligent so it can catch errors quickly during compilation rather than you having to run your code before it finds any errors which would cause delays in development time later on in the process.
  • There are great online resources available to help you learn how to use Swift efficiently including books about Swift or courses through Stanford University’s open courseware or MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) project (www.ocw.mit.edu).

Cons 

Programming in Swift is not always easy.

The learning curve for this language is much higher than in other programming languages, which means it will take much longer before you’re able to create an app.

The code for Swift also tends to be more verbose and can sometimes be more difficult to read. This is because the language was designed with safety in mind and reads like English.

Swift has much stricter type-checking than other languages, so if your code doesn’t match the type you set, an error will occur preventing you from compiling the app.

Lastly, due to Apple’s tightly-controlled ecosystem, Swift is exclusively limited to iOS development, meaning that there’s no way for developers who work on Android devices to use this language.

2. Java (for Android devices)

The Best Language for App DevelopmentJava (for Android devices)
The Best Language for App DevelopmentJava (for Android devices)

Java is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It’s also widely used for mobile devices.

Java was created by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are many reasons why it’s useful for app development:

1. Java is a general-purpose language, meaning it can be used for a wide range of purposes.

2. It offers portability across different platforms and operating systems because it can run on any system with a JVM (Java Virtual Machine).

3. It’s object-oriented, which means you can write software that uses objects to represent things or actions in your program—so, if you wanted to create a car in Java, you could create a car object and use it to interact with other pieces of code inside your program.

Pros

Java is a programming language that was designed to function well with the Internet and its security needs. Java is one of just a handful of languages that can be used to develop apps for Android and iOS devices, and it’s the most popular language for app development.

The pros of using Java as your programming language include:

  • It’s object-oriented
  • Its syntax is similar to C++, C#, and more
  • Its code is easy to read
  • It has a large digital library (available online)

There are many reasons why you should learn Java programming. Learning this language will help you get better at app development and make more money in the future.

Cons

Java is a programming language that was created for the Java platform to enable programmers to build and use objects.

The language is very popular, but not without its negatives. Java is often criticized for being overused and bloated, which can make it run slowly. This is especially true if you are developing an app for an older cell phone. With this in mind, you may want to explore other languages, such as Swift or C++, which are newer and more efficient.

Java also requires developers to use large amounts of code just to do simple tasks, which can be frustrating for less experienced programmers who are just getting started with the language.

3. Objective-C (for both iOS and Android)

Objective-C (for both iOS and Android)
Objective-C (for both iOS and Android)

Generally, Objective-C is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that adds Smalltalk-style messaging to the C programming language. This language features dynamic typing, partial typing, named parameters for methods and function calls, and numerous data types including objects, structs, arrays, strings, etc.

Objective-C was originally developed in the 1980s by Brad Cox and Tom Love at Stepstone (now part of Novell). It was created as an extension of the C programming language to support OOP (object-oriented programming) techniques.

It supports both OS X and Windows ora.

Pros

  • Objective-C is a powerful programming language that was developed to work on both Apple and Android devices.
  • Unlike Swift, Objective-C does not have a runtime library, meaning that the software has to be compiled before it can run. Because of this, Objective-C is considered a lower-level programming language.
  • Objective-C is object-oriented and supports procedural programming as well as functional programming.
  • It also allows for inheritance from parent classes, which makes it easier to build upon other people’s work without having to start from scratch.

Cons

Objective-C is a difficult language to learn. In order to become an effective programmer in the language, you have to know a lot of different concepts and commands.

You can’t do as much with Objective-C as you can with other languages. There are not a lot of options for developers when it comes to using this language, so if you want your app idea to be successful, it has to be simple enough for the Objective-C programming language.

Some say that it’s not as efficient as other languages. For example, Java is more efficient because of how it handles memory allocation.

4. C++

C++ is one of the most popular programming languages in the world.

It is the language that’s used by many game developers and software engineers.

It’s also great for beginners too, as it has object-oriented capabilities, which makes it easier to learn.

C++ the best language for app development
C++ the best language for app development

Pros

C++ is a general-purpose programming language that has been around for more than 40 years. It’s still used by students to learn to program, and it’s one of the most popular languages among professional software developers.

C++ has powerful features that allow you to find bugs quickly and produce high-performance code. It is often used in cases where speed is essential, such as video games or operating systems. One feature, const, allows you to define immutable values at the time of definition rather than when they are used for the first time.

Another plus for C++ is that it supports both object-oriented programming and procedural programming styles, which makes it easy to switch between them depending on your needs. C++ also offers better support for inline assembly than other languages like Java or Objective-C do.

Cons

C++ is an object-oriented programming language that was developed in 1980. It offers many benefits, but it also has disadvantages.

There are positives to C++, like the ability to create more secure code and debug errors quickly. However, it can be difficult to find programmers who know this language and it is less user-friendly than other languages.

Additionally, not all web browsers support C++, which makes it difficult for programmers to use this language for web apps.

It’s also worth noting that C++ cannot run on devices with low system RAM (random access memory). The only benefit of this is that the app will be much faster if it does work on these devices!

5. C#

C# and Python are two popular choices among app developers, but they’re not as common as the other languages. If you want to learn a new language and need some guidance, these two will give you the best return on your time investment.

C# the best language for app development
C# the best language for app development

If you’re an app developer looking for a new challenge, C# is a formidable choice. It’s one of the most common programming languages in the world, and it’s used by Microsoft. You can use C# to write programs for all Windows devices as well as for apps on Windows Phone and Xbox One.

Python is one of many popular programming languages used by app developers. It is also designed with usability in mind and is supported by a large user base. You can use it to develop cross-platform apps and games on iOS and Android devices. It’s also powerful enough to be used in web applications, machine learning projects, data science problems, and hardware interfaces – basically anything you want!

Pros

If you’re looking for a language that’s easy to learn, has an efficient syntax, and is open source then the C# programming language might be a good choice.

C# is a general-purpose object-oriented programming language created by Microsoft designed for building a variety of different apps. It was released in 2000 as a successor to another Microsoft language called C++.

C#’s features include:

  • Powerful object-oriented programming capabilities
  • Support for multiple languages 
  • Support for libraries of code written in other languages, such as C++ and Visual Basic .NET 
  • Support for multitasking and multithreading
  • Garbage collection

Cons

The C# language is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft. It is currently one of the most popular languages that support app development for Windows, Android, iOS, and many other devices.

C# has a great deal of similarities to Java in syntax and structure. However, it does have its own unique aspects.

One downside to this programming language is that it lacks a large community of developers and programmers who can help enhance the code or provide support. This means that if you are looking for more information on how to use this language, you will not find as much readily available information as you would with another language such as Java.

6. Python

Like others, Python is a great language for app development because it’s both easy to read and learn. It is also very popular among developers, which means there are plenty of resources available to help you out as you develop your skills.

Python
Python

It’s also cross-platform, so you can use it on either iOS or Android devices without having to switch languages.

Python has a ton of libraries that make it easier than ever before to build the perfect app. Some of these libraries include:

  • Xcode (for iOS) 2. Interface Builder (for Android)
  • REST API
  • WebSocket API
  • SQLite3

Pros

Python is a general-purpose language that is easy to learn and has a user-friendly design. The language, in many ways, can be viewed as the “staircase” of programming languages. It has been designed to make your programming journey easier and more intuitive.

The language is interpreted rather than compiled, which means it executes one line at a time rather than all at once. This makes developing with Python a lot quicker and simpler- not to mention that it’s also free!

Python was built with the beginner in mind, so you won’t have to worry about any confusing parts of the code when you’re just starting out. Developed by Guido van Rossum, Python was first presented publicly on December 2, 1989. Those who have learned this programming language have praised its simplicity and readability. 

Cons

The benefits of this language are many, but it’s not without its drawbacks.

Python is a good language for beginners to learn because it has fewer rules and is easy to read. You can create programs with fewer lines of code, which reduces the time needed for coding.

However, this language isn’t suitable for large-scale projects. For this reason, you need to know another programming language, like Java or C++.

Further, if you work in an academic setting or want to use this language in your research or data analysis project, you’ll find that there are very few libraries available to help with these tasks.

7. JavaScript

JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language that is primarily used for client-side scripting on web pages. It has been standardized in the ECMA standardization committee.

JavaScript the best language for app development
JavaScript is the best language for app development

Brendan Eich of Netscape Communications initially developed the language to allow programmers to reuse code that had already been written. This allowed programmers to focus more on the design of the app instead of writing code from scratch.

The language was originally known as LiveScript until version 1.0 when it was renamed NetScape JavaScript due to trademark issues.

Pros

  • The language is relatively new and therefore less ‘dated’ than other languages
  • The language has support from the most popular browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc.
  • It’s a versatile language that offers you to build apps with backend dynamism and frontend complexity.
  • It has a vast community of developers and programmers who are willing to help beginners in their journey of learning the language.
  • JavaScript is easy to learn as it doesn’t require any formal education and basic computer/web knowledge is enough to start programming in it.
  • The language can be used for web development but can also be used for desktop app development which makes it a highly flexible language for various purposes.

Cons

  • JavaScript is not a compiled programming language, meaning that it cannot be easily changed and updated.
  • It’s difficult to find qualified developers who know JavaScript.
  • There are many cross-platform programming languages available (e.g., Java, iOS, Android).

Best language for ios app development

1. Swift

Swift is a programming language for developing macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS solutions. Apple created it in 2014 as the successor to Objective-C. Swift is designed to work with the frameworks such as Cocoa, Cocoa Touch, and the extensive codebase written in Objective-C for Apple products. 

According to the Stack Overflow 2020 Developer Survey, Swift is the 17th most popular programming language globally and is used by 5.9% of developers worldwide.

Swift for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use Swift for iOS app development?

If you want to create an application relatively quickly that you can easily expand later, Swift will be a great choice. The language is relatively easy to learn and ensures a fast development process, as well as write safe and reliable code. Moreover, it is regularly updated, so you can easily make any improvements to your application.

2. Objective-C 

Objective-C is a language created as an extension of the C programming language with object-oriented programming capabilities.

It was developed in the early 1980s by Tom Love and Brad Cox at their software company Stepstone, formerly known as PPI (Productivity Products International). 

It is a general-purpose language, primarily used for programming for Apple’s operating systems such as OS X and iOS and their APIs: Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. 

According to Stack Overflow’s popularity report, Objective-C is ranked 20th, making it three positions lower than Swift. It is currently only used by 4.1% of developers worldwide.

Objective-C for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use Objective-C for iOS app development?

Comparing Swift with Objective-C, there are few cases where Objective-C will be the better choice. It’s a mature language, and maybe even a bit outdated (the last version was released in 2016). Its popularity is declining, so finding developers programming in this language can be challenging. 

So when will Objective-C actually be a better choice? You should consider it only if you want to create an app available for all, including older versions of iOS that Swift doesn’t support.

3. C#

C# is a high-level, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language. It was created as Microsoft’s answer to the Java language. C# is tightly integrated with the .NET platform, which is both a framework and a runtime environment.

C# was developed and is most commonly used to write applications for Windows systems. Still, since the .NET framework came to Linux and Mac systems, it is possible to develop native software in this language for virtually any platform, including iOS.

C# is the 7th most popular programming language globally and is used by 31.4% of software developers worldwide.

C# for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use C# for iOS app development?

The key to mobile C# development was creating the Xamarin platform for building Android and iOS apps. It uses Mono — an open-source implementation of the .NET platform that runs on all major operating systems.

This programming language a particularly good choice if:

  • you have experienced C# developers in your team,
  • you plan to create mobile applications also for Android users.

4. HTML5

HTML5 (HyperText Markup Language 5) is the fifth and currently the last major HTML version — technology used to create and present websites by defining their content’s meaning and structure. 

Developers usually use it in combination with CSS and JavaScript, and together they are referred to as the “big three of frontend”.

Interestingly, thanks to tools such as Apache Cordova or the aforementioned Visual Studio for Mac, knowledge of HTML5 also makes it possible to develop iOS apps.

HTML, together with CSS, ranks as the 2nd most popular technology in 2020.

HTML5 for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use HTML5 for iOS app development?

HTML5 is the right choice if you want to quickly develop a simple iOS application that can also be accessed offline. It is worth considering this choice if you have people in your team who specialize in HTML5 and who will be able to develop such an application.

5. Java

Java is an object-oriented, class-based, and general-purpose programming language. What’s important, its code doesn’t need recompilation to run on any platform.

Java and is currently used by over 9 million programmers worldwide, which makes it the 5th most popular programming language in the world.

Java is also one of the most preferred languages for Android app development. However, with its wide flexibility, you can also use it to build cross-platform apps.

Java for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use Java for iOS app development?

Despite its popularity and flexibility, Java is not a popular choice when it comes to iOS app development. However, if you already have an Android mobile application developed in Java, you should consider using the same programming language to create the iOS version.

6. React Native

React Native is a cross-platform framework introduced in 2015 by Facebook. Today it is one of the most popular cross-platform tools. It uses JavaScript to create native applications, allowing software developers to build mobile apps using website technology. 

It is used by brands such as Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, so you can be sure that this solution is worth trusting.

React Native for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use React Native for mobile app development?

React Native is a perfect choice if you want to develop a mobile app for iOS and Android at the same time, and your team includes JavaScript or React Native experts. This solution will enable you to save time and money, and – considering its popularity among the world’s most popular mobile apps – you can be sure that it’s a proven solution.

react native guide

7. Flutter

Flutter is a comprehensive app Software Development Kit (SDK), including ready-to-use widgets and tools. It was created by Google in 2015 and officially launched in 2017. 

This tool allows to build cross-platform apps, providing Flutter developers an easy way to make visually attractive, natively-compiled mobile, web, and desktop applications using only one codebase.

Flutter for iOS development — pros and cons

When to use Flutter for mobile app development?

Flutter is worth considering, especially if you want to create not only an iOS and Android app but you also plan to create a desktop and web version. 

Moreover, this tool is based on the Dart programming language, so if your team members know this language —  it will be the right choice for your company.

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