Android app development is an excellent start for a beginner developer. Unlike with iOS apps, Android apps are compatible with multiple programming languages. The flexibility offers convenience for developers but also leads to confusion in determining which language to use.
Java is the primary language for Android, but other types also work just as efficiently, including Kotlin, C/C++, PhoneGap, Corona, Basic, and more. Additionally, the Android platform is open-source, meaning developers have access to all documents and texts available within the community.
On the other hand, the device fragmentation with android devices, makes app development complicated. Developers need to design and test an app that functions on multiple OS versions.
Learning programming languages will help you understand what you need for Android app development, whether you are hiring professionals or making it yourself. That said, here are the top programming languages preferred for Android app development:
Android platform is compatible and agile as developers can use various languages to code any app. Some types are ideal for cross-platform programming, but some are specific for Android. Here are the primary programming languages for Android development:
Java is the first of the programming languages and the initial choice for Android apps. It has the most support from Google with many of the apps in the Play Store written in Java.
Additionally, the language is well-documented and open-sourced, meaning all Android application developers have access to the libraries and support from the community. It has a steep learning curve, with topics like constructors, null pointer exceptions, concurrency, and more.
It is compatible with Android Studio and Android SDK kit, which adds a level to its complexity. However, the language is not modern and does not offer frequent upgrades. Still, it is the best starting point for a new developer. With its vast array of texts and support from the community, it is easy to understand.
C++ is another one of the older languages with many rules and limitations that make it challenging for a beginner. It is useful for Android development, but it is far less flexible than Java and challenging to set up.
It is not a language designed to build user interfaces, app pages, or controls in apps. Instead, its role is in backend development, building APIs for Android apps. Frontend developers have no use for C++. That said, you cannot rely on C++ for the entire app development process.
Android Native Development Kit is used to implement parts of the code in the C++ language and helps in accessing C++ code libraries where required.
Kotlin is the modern and a much more secure version of Java. It is gaining preference among the software development community because of its simplicity, cleaner, concise syntax, security, and clarity. The features are also responsible for Kotlin’s interoperability which makes it an ideal alternative for Java.
Kotlin has access to all the Java libraries and frameworks. It has an LLVM architecture and is based on Java Virtual Machine. It has a similar structure as Java but minus the limitations and is less prone to coding errors because of no null point exceptions.
Android development is not limited to only three programming languages. The open-sourced platform is compatible with various languages and supports cross-platform code as well. Here are some of the other programming languages you can use for Android apps:
When you want to develop a mobile game for multiple platforms, C# is the language you should choose. Launched in 2000, it offers simplicity and flexibility. It is object-oriented, secure, and open-sourced, plus one of the most versatile programming languages.
C# is similar to Java in its memory management system, Garbage Collection. It is easy to understand and suitable for developing applications for Windows, consoles, web apps, mobile apps, and also backend coding.
Xamarin.Android and Unity are two tools developers can use to write codes for native Android apps, shareable across multiple platforms.
Android does not support native Python development, but with the help of specific tools, Python can be used for Android apps. The platforms convert Python apps into Android packages, compatible with Android devices.
Kivy is one Python library that supports the Android platform, useable for designing mobile apps. It offers faster development and is easy to understand with its natural, simple, and clean syntax that reads like English.
Corona is another language that developers can use for Android app development with Lua. It has two operational formats, Corona Simulator and Corona Native. The two modes differ in their working. Where Corona Simulator can be used to build apps directly, the Corona Native integrates the Lua code with an Android Studio to build an app with native features.
Lua is limited compared to Java, but it has a more straightforward structure and a more natural learning curve. It offers in-built monetization features and plugins that enhance the development experience. The language is mostly preferred for graphics and game development, but it has potential for other software projects.
BASIC or Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, as the name suggests, is an ideal programming language for developers beginning their careers. The drawback of BASIC is that it neither Android Studio or Unity and Xamarin support it. Alternatively, however, you can use B4A from Anywhere Software to develop apps for Android.
BASIC is not the first option for Android developers, but it is perfect for amateurs learning to code. You can build robust, intuitive apps with it, but for more advanced features and functionality, you would need Java or Kotlin.
Whether its gaming apps, chat messengers, music players, or other categories of applications, you can use any of the above languages to code your android app. No language is the 'correct' option, and each one can be used to develop apps with basic functionality. But if you're going to learn one or two languages, stick with Kotlin and Java for Android development.
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