While the number of smartphone users is reaching 6.6 billion globally, the mobile app industry is evolving by leaps and bounds.

Since 2016, mobile app downloads have increased by 60%! As a result, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 613 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2025.

Number of mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 to 2021

You'll find dozens of search results if you google the app development languages. However, they vary depending on the operating system, application type, etc.

Understanding the specifics of the app development languages is handy for developers wanting to write the best code for apps and customers willing to figure out the project process intricacies better and know which language to choose for their app.

In the blog post, we have gathered the five best languages for app development! So read and choose the most suitable one!

Best Programming Language for App Development

Applications for mobile devices, websites, and operating systems are created using programming languages - a set of stable rules by which code is written. The choice of mobile development languages depends on the developers' tasks and goals, the capabilities of the devices, the type of applications, the operating system, and technical requirements.

The application is a vital channel for a business to get more customers and increase brand awareness. But, of course, it faces a choice: what app language to choose for developing a mobile application.

What criteria do you have when choosing the best programming language for app development? We focused on the functionality, app type, and pros and cons. Stay tuned!  

Swift

Overview

Swift is a programming language developed by Apple as an up-to-date substitute for the Objective-C formerly used to build iOS apps.

Apple employees have been developing the current version of the language since 2010. It is noteworthy that Swift creators took some features from different languages, such as Obj-C, Haskell, Python, C#, CLU, and others.

Swift is a compiled language in mobile app programming. This means that the program does not run line by line. Before launch, it is totally translated into machine codes employing special software - a compiler. This makes applications run faster. The compiler for Swift is integrated into the XCode programming environment for macOS.

Where to use:

  • apps for iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV;
  • server apps.

Companies that support Swift: Apple, Coursera, Facebook, Lyft, and Uber

Pros & Cons

Swift pros & cons

Flutter (mobile)

Overview

Flutter is a free and open-source mobile user interface development kit created by Google and launched in 2017. Flutter is an SDK for developing first-rate, intuitive GUIs (graphical user interfaces) for iOS and Android. Flutter freely joins ongoing developments and is known as the best language for app development among many specialists. Unlike other programming languages, Flutter is one of the Integrated Development Environments used to create software. Among its competitors are Angular, mBaas, or React js.)

Flutter is closely related to Dart, as Dart offers a unified approach to iOS and Android app development using Flutter. In addition, Flutter allows you to develop cross-platform applications; thus, it is effective when creating Android apps with a common Dart codebase.

Despite their short existence, Flutter and Dart have already gained great popularity among mobile app programming experts. So many libraries and tools have been adapted for this framework, and you can easily find documentation and examples.

Where to use:

  • apps for mobile OS;
  • web apps;
  • cross-platform mobile apps;
  • desktop apps.

Companies that support Flutter: Amazon, Philips Hue, Toyota, and Tizen

Pros & Cons

Flutter pros & cons

Check our blog post - 5 things about Flutter everyone should know about

Kotlin

Overview

Kotlin is the latest programming language fully compatible with Java. In 2019, Google announced that Android development would become increasingly Kotlin-first. Among the advantages compared to Java, it is worth noting the scalability of Kotlin. It is among the most commonly used mobile programming languages.

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Kotlin is a statically typed kind of app languages. In contrast to Java, where programs are built on classes, the basic building block of a Kotlin program is a function. Still, this language also employs object-oriented programming practice.

Where to use:

  • mobile apps for Android and iOS, including cross-platform ones;
  • web apps (both the server part and the interface);
  • desktop apps;
  • Big Data processing software.

Companies that support Kotlin: Atlassian, Evernote, and Pinterest

Pros & Cons

Kotlin pros & cons

React-Native

Overview

React Native is a cross-platform open-source framework released by Meta Platforms in 2015. This framework uses the JavaScript app coding language for mobile development platforms. With the help of these frameworks and libraries, it is easy to develop cross-platform mobile applications. This means you only need to write one app version that will run on iOS or Android.

React Native supports platforms like Android, iOS, macOS, Web, Windows, and UWP, allowing developers to use the power of the React library outside of the browser to build apps that have full access to the platform's system APIs.

Where to use:

  • applications for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, and UWP;
  • web and desktop applications.

Companies that support React-Native: Bloomberg, Netflix, Pinterest, and Uber Eats

Pros & Cons

React-Native pros & cons

Java

Overview

Java is undoubtedly a well-known leader among app languages and has long been called the primary development language for Android. The significant advantage of Java is that it is continually evolving regardless of 25 years of functioning in the market. The technology is continuously being improved to maintain a strong position in the IT market.

Now the language has not lost demand, but it is more often used for Back-End development. New Android applications in Java are rarely written, but developers continue to use them to support old projects.

Where to use:

  • mobile and web apps;
  • desktop GUI apps;
  • gaming apps;
  • Big Data technologies and cloud-based apps;
  • IoT apps.

Companies that support Java: Eclipse, IntelliJ, and Netbeans

Pros & Cons

Java pros & cons

Questions to ask when choosing a programming language

When choosing best language for app development, ask yourself the following questions:

Does the language have proper ecosystem support? Will it work over the long term? Is vendor support available for the language?

Do we need to think about infrastructure, such as new hardware? What type of deployment do we need?

What are the client's preferences?

Are there any specific requirements for libraries, functions and tools for the programming language?

Can the developer write in the language or do we need to hire new developers? Are they experienced and comfortable with the language, or do they need to learn the language quickly?

What are some important limitations of this project? Time, budget, resources?

What is the performance and is the language suitable for that performance?

What are the security considerations and do we need to use any third party tools?

The many questions above take the confusion out of choosing a programming language for your project.

Now in programming, let's assume that you have a task that relies very heavily on calculating numbers. In that case, you need an app coding language that supports some libraries to perform complex mathematical operations and can easily handle numbers. Another example is the processing of large amounts of text. In this case, you need a language whose feature set makes it easy to slice, slice and search text data.

Conclusion

To determine the choice of a programming language for a mobile app, it is necessary to take into account the specifics of the target audience, the goals and objectives of the project, and the operating system. A comprehensive analysis of all the factors will allow you to choose the right programming language and achieve success.

These five mobile development languages will be handy for every mobile app developer and people willing to create their own app.

Of course, no one can name a specific best language for app development. The choice of programming language is conditional. If you still have doubts about the choice of programming language to write the best code for apps, feel free to contact us. In any project, we strive to create a product that will solve customer problems and increase profits!

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