16 March 2023
Tech Tips
Best Programming Languages For Mobile App Development 6 mins read

Article by one of our Subject Matter Expert

  • Smartphone users have an average of 80 apps installed on their phone and use at least 40 of them every month. 40 a month is quite a lot. Maybe you could create an app that breaks into this top 40! That’s right. An average smartphone user spent 2 hours and 55 minutes on a smartphone every day in 2019. This is longer than the time spent watching TV, or engaging with any other media. Clearly, mobile apps are the biggest medium your customers are engaging with digitally.

    A mobile app is the best way to either build a business from scratch, or increase your existing business and give it a digital edge. Backing that, up is data from App Annie, stating that 90% of customers who enjoyed an app interaction will continue to buy from that company, in the future. In fact we have a wonderful post on out blog that gives you excellent statistics proving why apps are good for business. To bring your next big thing app idea to life, all you need is a good mobile app programming language one that is easy to learn, futuristic and scalable. A good coding language for apps must have certain properties that can help to develop high performance apps which make the developers life easier.

  • Generally speaking, mobile app developers can build an app in one of these three categories. Before we continue, I just want to quickly cover the different types of app development from a coding perspective. Below are the categories –

    • Native apps – Native app development is coded in a language that’s supported natively by the specific operating system of a mobile
    • Hybrid apps – Cross-platform development. Apps are coded in one language that can run on multiple
    • Progressive web applications (PWA) – A lightweight app that runs in the URL of a device’s web browser. It looks and feels like a mobile app, but it’s not delivered natively on the device.

    The most common topic you’ll hear when discussing mobile application development is the difference between native and hybrid apps. This has become the great debate for developers for quite some time now. As I briefly mentioned above, native apps are built for a particular operating system. We’ll take a closer look at the advantages and drawbacks of these app development methods as we continue through this guide.


    1. Java

    Since Android was officially launched in 2008, Java has been the default development language to write Android apps. This object oriented language was initially created back in 1995. While Java has its fair share of faults, it’s still the most popular language for Android development since it runs on a virtual machine. As an object oriented option for mobile development, Java is commonly used to develop Android apps.

    In a world where new technology quickly replaces old ones, none has been able to replace Java. One of the biggest reasons why Java is the first choice of all app developers is because it is very easy to learn and get started with, and also offers wide-reaching community support which is an added help to new developers. Some of the best features of Java include:

    • Java’s rich community support helps new developers truly hone their skills and never be stuck without any form of help.
  • The simple, easy to understand syntax of Java is much more readable than Python and other coding languages.
  • Being an Object-Oriented programming language, it handles the complexity of real-world applications
  • Another thing you’ll love about Java is that, it will catch many mistakes you make as a
  • With its rich API, Java allows you to integrate much more into your
  • To sum up, Java is one of the best programming languages for app development, especially if you’re starting out in the field of app development.

    2. Kotlin

    Google announced that it would start supporting the Kotlin programming language in 2017. It’s an alternative language to traditional Java for Android development, and it runs on the Java Virtual Machine. Even as a new language, it’s very popular. If Java is the trusty old Corvette that never let you down, Kotlin is the efficient new Corvette Stingray that combines all the reliability of the old with the modernity of the new.

    When Google announced Kotlin as a 100% first class language for Android development, app developers across the world were overjoyed. Kotlin could be one of the easiest coding languages to begin with as it is one of the cleanest statically typed programming languages used to create apps.

    The documentation for Kotlin is extremely easy, detailed and fun, making for a fantastic learning experience. In fact, there’s even a Kotlin Slack Group where you could easily have your questions answered by some of the best known developers out there.

    Jetbrains the makers of Kotlin ensured that developer concerns were on top while developing the language. A safe Nullability system, Method references, Lambdas, a built-in Mutability/ Immutability system and easy to use stream operators are just a few of the features developers always wanted, making Kotlin the best Android programming language.



    Swift was introduced in 2014 as an Apple programming language. It was eventually available for development in Xcode the following year. Soon after its release in 2014, Swift had an exponential rise in popularity and was rated the most loved programming language on Stack Overflow in 2015. Back then, Apple said their goal for Swift is “total and complete world dominance”, calling it a “modest goal” at that.

    Now about six years later, we can already see Apple reaching towards that goal. Apple’s App store has nearly 500,000 apps written at least partially in Swift. The very initiative with which Swift was created was Apple’s “Anyone Can Code”. Clearly, if you’re looking to get started in app development, Swift is your best programming language. Some of the best apps you’ve heard of including Uber, Lyft, Square and Airbnb use Swift as their primary programming language for iOS apps.

    Swift Playgrounds is an app that Apple specially built to help beginners learn to code easily with community experts willing to teach. You can use this app to learn coding from scratch in a highly interactive and engaging environment.

    4. Objective-C

    While Swift has largely become the go-to programming language used for iOS app development today, its older sibling Objective-C still remains the wiser one for many developers. Objective-C is a superset of C, the earliest of computer programming languages. This makes it highly compatible with C and C++ codes. It has been around for more than 30 years now and still remains a top choice when it comes to iOS programming languages.

    Having been around so long, it has an unmatched level of maturity, as a highly approved, well tested coding languages; that is behind hundreds of successful apps. Objective-C is a very dynamic language, allowing you to choose between static typing and dynamic typing. Connecting Objective-C with private API’s is easier and faster.

    Being a highly dynamic, object oriented language; Objective-C offers you a great deal of adaptability at runtime. So you can access private API’s or even mock objects at runtime. This makes coding a whole lot faster and simpler. Objective-C, having been around for a long time, is also one of the more stable languages that work excellently for a wide range of project types. It’s less error-prone, has fewer bugs and compiles easier than its counterparts.


    5. React Native

    React Native began as an internal hackathon project in Facebook, and turned out to be so good that it went on to become one of the best coding languages that could build apps that run on any platform. That’s right, cross platform apps are apps that don’t need to be built separately for Android and iOS.

    React Native is a robust programming language used for app development that is not limited to only one platform. It has been used in the development of widely popular apps like Uber and Airbnb. For various reasons, React Native is the future of hybrid apps. In addition to code reusability, React Native also has a number of pre-built components in an open-source library. This means that components already developed by other developed and uploaded to the library can be easily used by you, allowing a great deal of development speed.

    Another major advantage React Native offers is the third party plug-in support. So if your ecommerce app needs calendar support, you don’t have to build a calendar from scratch. Modular architecture, live and hot reloading, declarative coding style, and a number of other capabilities make React Native especially well-suited to app development.

    6. Flutter

    Flutter is essentially a mobile app development framework that uses the coding language Dart, and has a rich library of widgets and tools to help build highly visual, immersive app experiences. Flutter, developed by Google as a mobile app SDK, gives developers a quick and easy way to build rich, high performance mobile apps that can easily be deployed on both platforms.

    Thanks to its rich widgets, Flutter builds cross-platform apps that look and feel just as smooth as native apps. It enables faster code writing by fully utilizing code reusability. All you do is add in a few defining UI elements individually to app and you can have a fully functional cross-platform app in half the time.

    Since the code-base is smaller and same for both platform, Flutter requires much less testing than its native counterparts. Not only does Flutter have a rich library of UI widgets to help you create visually stunning apps, but also it allows you to customize your widgets, really nailing in that rich native experience you covet in a programming language used for mobile apps.


    Hybrid applications are developed once, but written with a programming language that works for multiple platforms. Most commonly, a single development will work for both iOS and Android. Some hybrid languages extend their functionality to other platforms, like progressive web apps (PWA) or mobile web apps. This is nice to have for those of you moving into a more web-friendly environment.

    When you’re building a hybrid application or want to develop cross platform apps, you’re generally dealing with some sort of JavaScript-based language, framework, or toolkit. Hybrid apps work on varying mobile devices. Let’s take a closer look at some of these options below

    Xamarin and C# App Development

    Developed by Microsoft, C# (pronounced C sharp) is another object oriented programming language. It’s a popular programming language for game development and command line scripting for Android. Microsoft eventually acquired the Xamarin framework, which allows app developers to program using C# against other frameworks.

    Other low-code types of alternatives like OutSystems and Kony have an SDK that can be used with different languages, not just one. There are other languages for mobile app development that use system programming language with syntax similar to C#. Using an IDE for hybrid development, the C# code is cross- compiled to run natively on iOS and Android devices.


    So above are the best programming languages for mobile app development. Of course there are a number of other wonderful languages like Ruby, Python and HTML5, but when starting out, it is best to choose the most popular ones and get to work instead of spending too much time researching 30 different languages.

    There is no right or wrong answer to what programming language you should learn or what framework you should invest in. The best programming languages for me and my mobile apps might not be the best for you and your app development scenario. All of the options listed in this guide are good and valid choices to consider. They each have pros and cons. There are even additional programming languages for mobile app development, like Python for server-side programming, and more.

    You just need to find out what’s best for you, your business, and your goals. What type of application are you building? What does the application need? Where do you want to put the most effort? Do you want to develop it once or multiple times? What mobile device will the end-user be on? Are you building for multiple platforms?

    What about data access control, statistically typed programming language, or interpreted programming language? These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself to determine where your time, effort, and resources are best served. At the end of the day, just make sure you can go to market quickly with the best possible app.

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