12 Best Programming Languages [Updated 2019]
app development

12 Best Programming Languages [Updated 2019]

There are more than 690 programming languages for the app development process.

12 Best Programming Languages [Updated 2019]

Picking the right app programming language is one of the trickiest parts, and with hundreds of programming languages out, many complexities come along.

A mobile app programming language can be the deciding factor of an application development process and choosing the best programming language for app development is every developer’s priority.

To put more light onto this, we have curated this article on the best programming language for apps, but before that, learn the queries that you need to clear.

Questions to Ask Before Picking the Right Programming Language

As said, the app programming language plays a significant part in the mobile application development process. It can even simplify the most complex processes in no time. Following are a few questions that need to be answered before kicking off with the development process: 

  1. What is the project?
  2. What’s the experience in mathematics and logical thinking?
  3. Are you up for the higher-level language or lower-level language
  4. Do you prefer to work on the front end or back end?
  5. Will you hire a freelancer, a renowned company or a startup?

If you are clear about these queries, you are good to go to the next level of picking the app development languages.

This write-up on the best programming language for mobile apps is equally effective for mobile app developers, as smartphones have become one of the most in-demand audiences engaging platforms.

Top Programming Languages For App Development Process

Let’s get on this journey along with us to know about the commonly used mobile programming languages.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript can be termed as the backbone of mobile app languages. The programming language was introduced in 1995 and till today, is used by almost all the browsers. Due to its popularity and usage, JavaScript stopped StackOverflow’s annual survey of Programming languages for six years in a row.

According to Developer Survey by Stack Overflow's, JavaScript is the most popular and best programming language for mobile apps and web apps, for the sixth year in a row. Around 70 percent of survey participants reported that they had used the app programming language in the past year.

Along with HTML, CSS, and AJAX, JavaScript is used for the mobile app development process. From Facebook and Twitter to Gmail and YouTube, rely on JavaScript to create interactive web and mobile apps that display content to users dynamically.

If we look at the future, then one thing is for sure; JavaScript is here to stay for long and with its server-side applications like Node.js, its utility has increased manifolds. Also, companies like Google and Amazon have employed JavaScript by making use of their applications through runtime environments.

Javascript- programming language

Created: JavaScript was initially coined as LiveScript in September 1995 and was shipped in with Netscape Navigator 2.0.

Pros:

  • Client-side JavaScript is speedy;
  • Comparatively easy to learn.
  • Can be easily integrated with other languages;
  • Grease monkey support to write snippets.

Cons:

  • Enable single inheritance;
  • Unavailability of copy or equal method;
  • Interpreted differently on different browsers.

Usage/ Applications: Web/mobile app development, desktop app development, and game development.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $110,981 per year

Difficulty Curve: Easy

2. TypeScript

After JavaScript, TypeScript has emerged as the next crucial app programming language. In the recent past, many of the startups and tech companies have migrated from JavaScript to TypeScript.

The rise in the popularity of TypeScript can be credited to the fact that it is considered as the must-have extension of the core ECMAScript language, which provides visibility into the code and compile-time static type checking.

The State of JavaScript survey shows TypeScript as the second most used flavor of JS just behind ES6 with 80.4% of developers using it or wanting to learn it.

app programming language

Created: After two years of internal development at Microsoft by Anders Hejlsberg, it came into light in October 2012.

Pros:

  • Simplifies JavaScript code;
  • Provides highly productive development tools;
  • Adds the benefits of ES6;
  • Synced with ECMAScript.

Cons:

  • Unimpressive language configuration;
  • Lacks package manager;

Usage/ Applications: Web apps and mobile apps.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $106,569 per year

Difficulty Curve: Moderate

3. HTML

HTML5 is considered an ideal android and iOS app coding language for mobile application development. The markup language has cross-browser support and is developed to run smoothly on the desktop and mobile browsers. It is responsive and the best feature is that it works on all devices.

This web-fronted app development language is effective from the cost-efficiency point of view too, as HTML5 Can be developed on the current version of HTML. The ease to insert codes and clean coding are additional parameters that make this markup language handy.

Because of its apt features, HTML5 is recommended as one of the best coding languages for developing mobile games. The language has got a phenomenal feature for user interaction. Offline editing, message enhancements and a common SQL database storing makes it one of the most used programming languages for the mobile app developers.

programming languages for app development

Created: Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML in late 1991.

Pros:

  • Neater code;
  • Better consistency;
  • Excellent age layout;
  • Geolocation support.

Cons:

  • The language is still half-baked;
  • Media Licensing Issues;
  • Lags in multiple device functionality.

Usage/ Applications: Web pages.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $75,487 per year

Difficulty Curve: Moderate

Notable features of HTML5:

  • Cost effective multi-platform development with cleaner markup and improved code;
  • Enhances page ranking and enables offline browsing;
  • Consistency across multiple browsers;
  • Better mobile access to Business Intelligence;
  • Apps are not restricted by the window frames, and browsers can run in full-screen mode.

4. Java

Java is one of the most preferred and the best language for app development for Android. This object-oriented programming language can run in two different ways: either in a browser window or in a virtual machine that works without a browser too.

This flexibility of Java helps developers when mobile app developers need to re-use the codes to update the software. Java is considered much of an Android programming language, as the Android language framework is based on Java.

To learn about Python Multithreading And Multiprocessing, click here.

However, you can choose Java when considering cross-platform application development. The benefit of reusing the code when updating the software makes it a favorite to mobile app developers.

Owing to the same reason, it is one preferred programming language for cross-platform app development frameworks too. Java also gives the freedom to come up with any application you would like to develop for Android.

app development frameworks

Created by: James Gosling designed Java in the year 1996.

Pros:

  • Object- Oriented language;
  • Offers APIs;
  • Has efficient open source Rapid Development tools;
  • Plenty open source libraries.

Cons:

  • Memory management is expensive;
  • Lacks templates, which can hinder the development of high-quality data structures;

Usage/Application: Developing Android apps, web apps, and Big data.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $101,013 per year.

Difficulty Curve: Simple and easy.

Notable features of Java:

  • Higher cross-functionality;
  • A large active user community and support;
  • Programs are independently compiled, which allows the same programs to run on different machines;
  • Offers development tools like NetBeans, and Eclipse SDK, which have debugging capability;
  • Compatible with Scala, Groovy, JRuby, and Clojure.

5. Python

Python has become popular among the best programming languages for app developers to consider for mobile app development. Along with developing mobile apps, the programing language is popularly used in web development too.

The language can easily be transferred across platforms; that is why it is one among the most favorite to many web/mobile app developers. The language is easy to learn as well as implement, and that is another reason for the language to become popular among the app developers.

The best thing about Python is that it is considered ideal as both the Android and iOS programming language, which offers it much more popularity. This programming language is great for scalability and readability that runs across all operating systems. Because of its scalability, Python is greatly used in the development of cross-platform mobile applications.

In another survey, Python toppled JavaScript to become the most favored programming language in the developers’ community.

most favored programming language

Created: It was developed by Guido van Rossum and got released in 1991.

Pros:

  • Support multiple platforms and systems;
  • Object-Oriented Programming or OOPs driven;
  • Efficiently increases programmer's productivity;
  • Extensive Support Libraries.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer much support for mobile computing;
  • Python's database access layer is in the initial stage.

Usage/Application: Desktop GUIs, Web and Internet Development, Scientific and Numeric applications, and Business applications.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $114,383 per year.

Difficulty Curve: Easy

Notable features of Python:

  • Presence of third-party modules making it capable of interacting with most of the other languages and platforms;
  • Extensive support libraries - NumPy for numerical calculations, Pandas for data analytics, etc;
  • Open source and community development;
  • Fast run-time, user-friendly, built-in data structures;
  • No need to mention data type, it takes data type based on the value assigned;
  • Portable and Interactive across Operating systems.

6. R

R is a well-known programming language for statistical computing and graphics. It can be considered as a different implementation of S. Its statistical and graphical techniques include linear and nonlinear modeling, classification, clustering, classical statistical tests, etc.

The best thing about R programming language is the ease in designing publication-quality plots that may include mathematical symbols and formulae. It can be compiled and run on many UNIX platforms and also on Windows and MacOS.

In the below image, it’s clearly visible that Stack Overflow traffic for R is considerably high as compared to other languages like Swift and TypeScript.

well-known programming language for statistical computing

Created: It was developed by Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka at the University of Auckland.

Pros:

  • Excellent statistical analysis language;
  • Easy to code;
  • Open-source software;
  • Can easily be used for GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows;
  • Effortlessly run on different operating systems.

Cons:

  • Lacks in package quality.
  • Unimpressive memory management

Usage/ Applications: Data Science projects, Statistical computing, Machine learning

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: Ranges from $90,042 to $136,616 per year.

Difficulty Curve: Hard

Notable features of R:

  • Efficient data handling and storage facility,
  • Best for calculations on arrays;
  • An integrated collection of tools for data analysis;
  • graphical facilities for data analysis;
  • Include user-defined recursive functions, conditionals, loops, and input and output facilities.

7. C/C++

Among the Android programming languages, C/C++ is again considered as one of the most veteran and popular mobile programming languages. Since android app development has become one of the critical concerns for developers today, the programing language has become important for creating apps for android.

Android app coding language native development kit helps developers greatly in creating the apps using this programming language. C/C++ is one exceptional for apps like 3D Games.

C++ works with objective C, and thus, the mobile app developers can also use it effectively as iOS coding language. It saves the additional time and efforts of developers. In case, mobile app developers only want to write the native codes; the libraries are all there to develop the code for the same.

Android programming languages,

Created: C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1983.

Pros:

  • Plenty of compilers and libraries;
  • Similar syntaxes as C and C#;
  • No garbage collector runs in the background.

Cons:

  • Difficult for the beginner programmer due to its complex syntax;
  • Doesn’t support garbage collection or Dynamic Memory Allocation;
  • The object orientation system is quite basic.

Usage applications: Game Development, Graphics Compilers, and Advance Computations.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $113,865 per year.

Learning Difficulty: Hard

Notable features of C/C++:

  • Apt for multi-device and multi-platform app development;
  • Includes classes, data abstraction,  encapsulation, and inheritance, polymorphism;
  • Rich function library;
  • Exception handling and function overloading feature;
  • Wide range of applications – from 3D graphics for games to GUI applications to real-time mathematical simulations.

8. C#

Being an object-oriented programming language, C# is used widely by Microsoft on Windows mobile platforms. It is a pure objective version of C & C++. It has been surveyed that 38% of mobile developers use C# as their part of a programming language while 16% use C# as the primary programming language.

For all those developers who are working on the windows platform, it is profitable to use the language. Great news about this mobile programming languages is that it can be used for cross-platform mobile app development. Additionally, it can also be used instead of Swift, Java, as well as Objective C.

C#, as one of the best coding languages, offers exceptional support to web developers in the form of lambda expressions, enumerations, and nullable values as well as direct memory access that is not available for the developers when they work with Java. With the same reason, it becomes easy for mobile app developers to create custom iteration behaviors that can easy to use at client-side.

C# excels in the safety and productivity scale, but do lack when the performance is weighed.

object-oriented programming language

Created: Its first version was released in 2001.

Pros:

  • Due to similar syntax, it’s easy for the developers who know C language;
  • Integration with Windows;
  • Integrated with the .NET library;
  • Pointer types are not permitted.

Cons:

  • Allows pointers in 'unsafe' blocks;

Usage applications: Enterprise Cross-Applications Development and Web Applications.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: Ranges from $66,493 per year to $101,775 per year.

Learning Difficulty: Hard

Notable features of C#:

  • Pure object-oriented, not a mixture of procedure or object-oriented;
  • More type safe and no such problems as memory leak;
  • Assembly concept solves the versioning control;
  • Easy to be implemented functions due to the rich class library;
  • Cross-platform, just need the .NET framework to be installed on the machine;
  • Good support for a distributed system.

9. PHP

Hypertext Preprocessor or PHP was created in 1995  and is a popular scripting language. Even after the inception of new programming languages, the significance of PHP wasn’t affected, and till date, PHP has its dominance in the development in the field of the content management system and web apps.

The secret behind its immense popularity can be credited to its regular updates and patches that it got since years. The best example of PHP’s dominance can be considered as WordPress, the world’s most widely used CMS platform.

As per a survey by w3techs.com, PHP is the best server-side programming language.

popular scripting language

The programming language has various advantages like extensive libraries and modules which assure dynamic software development.

Developed by: It was developed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994.

Pros:

  • Running is simple;
  • Functional and object-oriented programming;
  • Large-scale open source software community;
  • Excellent automation tools for testing and deploying.

Cons:

  • Lacks debugging;
  • Not secure enough;
  • Website development is slower with PHP Web Development.

Usage applications: Web Applications, eCommerce Applications, and Content Management Systems.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $84,727 per year

Difficulty Curve: Easy

Notable features of PHP:

  • Easy to use;
  • Being an interpreted language, there is no need for compilation;
  • Can run on various platforms like Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows;
  • PHP keywords, classes, functions, and user-defined functions are not case-sensitive.

10. Swift

Swift is primarily created as an iOS programming language by Apple and has become the best language for app development in the iOS domain. It is a great option for the developers as the programing language offers many features and functionalities to include into the app for iOS app development.

Owing to its capabilities, Swift, the iOS development language, is now considered the future of mobile app development. It is one of the most important mobile app programming languages that is growing at a higher pace.

Swift is an open source programming language, and this is another reason for its popularity. The programing language is easy to learn, and that is why several developers opt for the same. Programmers who are familiar with Objective C can easily create apps with the help of Swift programing language.

If we talk about the competition between Swift and Objective C, Swift outplays Objective-C by a good margin.

iOS programming language

Created: It’s developed by Apple in July 2010.

Pros:

  • Swift program codes are easy to read;
  • Easy to add new features;
  • Short long code line;
  • No memory leaks.

Cons:

Its regular updates make it somewhat unstable;
Availability of Swift developers is less.

Usage applications: Works exceptionally well with Apple's Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks for the development of iOS apps.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $130,801 per year

Difficulty Curve: Easy

Notable features of Swift:

  • Apple is releasing new material and new features to Swift only;
  • Syntax is shorter, clearer, and readable;
  • Runtime crash if a nil optional variable is used, gives eases in the bug-fixing process ;
  • High-performance and automatic memory management;
  • Easier to learn, friendlier syntax, can be used as a scripting language;
  • Open source, and supports dynamic libraries.

11. SQL

If we go by the claims of Evans Data Corporation, at one time, there were about 19 million developers in the world, of whom, 7 million were using SQL. This app coding language gives us a fair idea about the SQL’s popularity among the top app developers.

Structured Query Language or SQL enables the developer to retrieve database records swiftly. The reason behind its popularity can be credited to its feature of managing data structures and stored information.

According to the StackOverflow 2018 Dev survey, SQL is the most used language by data scientists and data analysts.

Structured Query Language

Developed by: It was developed by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce and was made available publicly in 1979.

Pros:

  • Robust query language:
  • Ideal for large numbers of table rows;
  • High availability of data;
  • Splendid data consistency;
  • Data retrieval from multiple tables is fast.

Cons:

  • Converting data from Objects into database tables is difficult;
  • Run on a single server;

Usage applications: Used in Any Database

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $84,792 per year.

Difficulty Curve: Easy

Notable features of SQL:

  • Provide high performance programming for high usage database system;
  • Multiple database support;
  • It is easy to create new tables with SQL;
  • Efficiently manages numerous transactions.

12. Kotlin

Kotlin was majorly developed to address the issues in Java. Kotlin Syntax is simple, clean, and leads to less code bloat. Java can accompany Kotlin as an Android app coding language to make it compelling. Google has also announced that it is officially adding support for Kotlin. The programing language is on the list of languages that are too friendly for the developers.

This app development programing language has recently been used by Uber, Evernote, and Pinterest to add the same to their mobile applications. Kotlin improves Java support and for the same reason, it is one of the favorites to the developers. The mobile app programming language helps developers to focus on the problem-solving while coding a new application.

Kotlin as an Android app coding language

Created: Created by JetBrains and was rolled out in 2011.

Pros:

  • Increases team efficiency;
  • Complies with existing Java code;
  • Easily maintainable;
  • Less buggy.

Cons:

  • Still not Java;
  • Fluctuating compilation speed;
  • Limited learning resources;
  • Shortage in the number of Kotlin experts.

Usage/ Applications: Android app development and Backend APIs.

Average Developer Salary Using This Programming Language: $115,166 per year.

Difficulty Curve: Moderate

Notable features of Kotlin:

  • Both functional and object-oriented, particularly useful for beginner programmers;
  • Need not require to put a semicolon at the end of every statement;
  • Small and light library and runs in JVM;
  • Works side by side with Java and c++, previous code can be added and used with Kotkin's library;
  • Reduce extra code and create apps more quickly;
  • No null-pointer exceptions address the issue with “null safety.”

Which is The Most In-Demand Programming Language?

Among all app development languages, JavaScript is the most in-demand programming language in the app development industry. JavaScript is the go-to language for most of the application developers due to its ease of use and applications.

According to Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey, the most preferred programming language is JavaScript, closely followed by HTML/CSS, and SQL.

Most Popular Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages

If we take a look at the worldwide Google search trends, from June 2018  to May 2019, JavaScript again topped the table, but this time, Python was the second most searched programming language.

Google search trends

Time to Code

Choosing the best programming language for mobile apps is a step further to validate your mobile app development idea into a functional application. At one hand, where the idea is going to play a dominant role, on the other hand, the choice of best coding language will help to take your business strategy to a global level.

The developer needs to understand the project requirements and make decisions depending upon the interests and the type of software development. However, the landscape of computer programming changes rapidly, and knowing a couple of programming language will be a huge benefit, especially for the developers.

Following are possibilities that mobile app developers needs to check:

  • Front-end web development: JavaScript
  • Back-end web development: JavaScript, Java, Python
  • Mobile development: Swift, Java, C#
  • Game development: C++, C#
  • Desktop applications: Java, C++, Python
  • Systems programming: C

Many a time, the programming language won’t suit the requirements of the developer, and in that case, it’s best to stick to the language which is known to the developer. And keep coding to learn new things.

If you are an aspiring developer or a startup who is in search of an audience to showcase your potential through an application, MobileAppDaily is there to review and showcase your apps, to help you get the desired response from the viewers.

MAD Team
Written By

MobileAppDaily host a team of experienced technical writers, industry wizards, and app experts who have an exact knack of content that caters to the needs of the mobile app targeted audience. We strive to bring you the best of tech!

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