Even though smartphones and similar technology are no longer considered incredibly “new” or “ground breaking”, there are still a ton of ways to use the technology for your benefit. Whether you’re looking to design your own app or simply want to understand more about the world of smartphones, app development or android apps, there may be many things that surprise you.
Mobile applications are a great way to make money and if they’re done well, you can almost make a living off of them. However, if you’re going to try develop android apps, you first need to know which programming language to use and how they are built.
There are almost too many coding languages to choose from when it comes to figuring out which one you will need for your app development. You want to be sure you pick one that you will be able to understand and produce a great app with, but it can seem pretty intimidating.
Luckily, there are many coding languages to choose from that will work for android apps. Most of the time, any number of languages would be fine as long as you know what you’re doing. However, there may be certain coding languages that are more ideal for you based on your experience and how comfortable you are with each type.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the main android coding languages for android apps so you can have a better idea for each one.
First, you’ll need to know what type of app development you are engaged in, but once you have that figured out, you’ll be good to go and start choosing which programming language to develop your android app in.
You’ve probably heard a lot about Java before, and for good reason. Java is one of two official android app coding languages and is widely supported by Google. In fact, most apps you see on the app store are created using either Java or Kotlin, another programming language we’ll talk about more later.
To use Java, you download Android Studio. It’s native coding or programming language is used here in Android’s Integrated Development Environment. Android Studio comes equipped with everything you would need to code an application and keep it all in one easy place for using. You can get official documentation from Google and receive even more support once you launch your app on the app store and online.
Launched in 1995, Java is used for just about every type of mobile app development. It’s a favorite of many development teams so you’ll be able to find a lot of support if you need help or have a question.
Not only that, but Java was created so that you only have to code an app once before running it. Anywhere Java is supported, your app can be run from so you won’t need to convert it to reach different platforms.
While Java is a well loved programming language, it’s not great for beginners. It’s full of complicated topics and it can be difficult to tell the difference between Java and Android if you aren’t familiar with them. You’ll also need an understanding of other concepts such as XML, Gradle, and the Android Manifest.
Java will provide you with powerful and advanced features, but if you’ve never used coding languages before, it’s not a great place to start. That being said, if you’re interested in expanding your knowledge and don’t mind having to take the time to become familiar with other concepts, then Java may be a relatively good option for you.
The second official platform supported by Google is Kotlin. If an app wasn’t made with Java, then it most likely came from Kotlin. Kotlin is newer to the coding world, but Google has come out and made it their favorite. Many developers still prefer Java, but Kotlin is quickly closing in.
Kotlin was designed to be efficient and practical while also working across platforms and being open-sourced. It runs on the Java Virtual Machine and can be used with Java without causing any problems or slowing down the app. It’s a fully compatible version that is statically typed and great for any general purpose.
Unlike Java, Kotlin does not require so many “boilerplate” code. While Java practically runs off the stuff, Kotlin has a more streamlined and logical system. It’s much easier to read and you won’t feel like you’re wasting your time typing out so much code.
Kotlin has shorter code and more security features integrated. It’s much easier to type than Java and a much better option for beginners who want to get into the world of Android apps. You can even use Android Studio with it to keep everything all in one place.
As far as coding languages go, Kotlin is fairly easy. Of course, there are still many things you have to know and learn, but it isn’t as difficult to read as Java. Since it is also a main platform and an official programming language in the eyes of Google, you’ll find a good sized community to help you with any questions or problems that may arise while you’re working.
We would not recommend C or C++ for beginners at all. These languages are much more complex and the mobile apps built with them don’t run on the Java Virtual Machine. While Android Studio does offer support for C and C++, it uses the Android NDK, Native Development Kit. This essentially means that your code will run natively on your device.
Now, the fact that it runs natively on your device isn’t all bad. This allows you to have more control and is great for running complicated 3D games. You can also use any library written in C or C++.
Unfortunately, C and C++ are likely to have more bugs and be much less flexible than some other programs. There’s also a steep learning curve that comes with choosing one of these languages so if you’re a beginner, it can be very tiring and frustrating.
However, if you want to build a truly phenomenal 3D game, then these are great languages to do it with. C++ in particular is one of the more popular coding languages and has been used in complex video games and even for producing 3D movies. The programs were built with the programmer’s interests in mind which is what makes it such a great language, but it is challenging to learn and use.
One language that is similar to C and C++ is C#. It has the power without all the complications or difficult programming. It’s incredibly similar to Java so if you already know one of these languages, it shouldn’t be too challenging to learn the other. C# makes sure you don’t have to worry about clearing up memory or checking for leaks, just like Java programs.
Fortunately, C# is a little more modern than Java is. It has a cleaner syntax and is pretty easy to use when combined with Unity, a common game building platform. Unity is a game building platform and an IDE (similar to Android Studio) that will render 3D graphics and do physics construction for you.
Using Unity and C# together is almost unfairly easy. It makes coding your own game quick and easy so that after just a short bit of work, you can have a basic game up and running. C# can be described as just a higher level C-based language without all the complexities.
C# is a newer program, but it was ranked highly around the world. It was ranked the 7th most preferred coding language and the 9th when it came to the most loved technology. C# is great for beginners because it can be used for a wide range of things and isn’t full of code that’s difficult to understand or learn.
Despite being called ‘BASIC’, the name is actually a rather long acronym. It stands for ‘Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code’ and is exactly what it sounds like. Designed for beginners, it’s simple, logical, and useful. It’s ideal for those who are just looking to dip their toes into the world of coding and aren’t particularly interested in becoming dedicated developers.
While BASIC is not a universally supported system, it’s still possible to develop android apps with it. Nothing too complicated, but basic mobile apps and general programs are easy enough to build with it. If you want to build something incredible or with multiple facets, then you really should look into another language. However, BASIC is a good place for beginners and can help you figure out if you are really interested in programming games or not.
Lua is an open-sourced and simple language that can be used on the Corona Software Development Kit. It’s used for games like Angry Birds and is a high-level language without all the complexities of languages such as Java. It’s perfect for simple games, but anything too complicated and you’ll need to use C or C++.
Lua, or Corona, allows you to publish your mobile app across multiple different platforms, making it easy for your android app to be used by other people. It is great for running your code on an emulator before even compiling it and can be written on any basic text editor such as Notepad++.
The program does require you to have basic coding knowledge, but it’s relatively forgiving. It’s a great introduction to the game development world and with a little research or work beforehand, you should be able to use Lua without too much complication.
Unfortunately, Lua does have some limits in what it can do, but it’s a bit of a more developed way to try out the world or game development. It’s perfect for simple games and as long as you aren’t trying to further develop your coding skills and become a professional game coder, it would be a great place to start.
You can certainly use PhoneGap if you want to see what it is or try your hand in a different area of coding, but if you want to be considered a true “Android app developer”, you should definitely use one of the other codes above. Check out PhoneGap in your free time and just for fun, but don’t try to make an app with it and claim to be an android developer.
Now that you know what types of languages you can use for writing your android app, it’s time to pick one and get started. If you’re a beginner, try picking one of the easier android app development platforms and eventually working your way up. If you’re familiar with coding and are looking for a bit of a challenge, go ahead and try something you’re not familiar with.
Alternatively, you can always hire expert android app development companies in Orlando to help you develop android apps and take the hassle off you.