The Best Language for Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

Mobile app development has undergone incredible transformation in the last decade or so, as businesses shift their business strategies from the desktop to a mobile-first approach. Perhaps the most convincing grist in this discussion is the exponential growth of the mobile devices industry. In the United States for instance, for every 10 people, 9 own a smartphone. This provides green opportunities for growth for many companies. The best way to achieve this, businesses now realize is via mobile applications.

As business organizations scramble to create mobile applications through which they can keep in direct contact with their customers while selling their goods and services, mobile app development has taken the center stage. Mobile app developers have had to create mobile applications that work seamlessly across various devices available in the market as well as within the different operating systems installed in different mobile devices. Cross-platform mobile app development is developers’ solution to simplifying the development process. The process happens faster because you can reuse code (sometimes as much as 60% or more) for different devices, ultimately lowering the overall cost of mobile app development.

The one challenge that incessantly shows up in cross-platform application development is the programming language to use. Each programming language you can use for this will have its pros and cons. Therefore, the language you end up using will largely depend on the intended outcome and your personal preference. All the same, many developers agree that for cross-platform app development, a list of the best languages you should consider must include JavaScript, Java, C# and C++.

JavaScript

JavaScript is the programming language of choice for developers who intend to create mobile applications that can run on Android, Windows Phone, iOS and practically all browsers. One major reason for this is that compared to other languages, JavaScript has more advanced libraries and frameworks, and is constantly improving. Any serious software developer must be conversant with the intricacies of this programming language.

Some of the coveted JavaScript features include classes, arrow functions and promises. Most programming languages use libs to build cross-platform mobile applications. JavaScript, on the other hand, has complete frameworks and practically all the necessary development tools. What’s more, an increasing number of companies is preferring JavaScript to other languages, gradually obscuring the boundaries that have existed native apps and web apps.

Some of the JavaScript frameworks that most developers recommend include Ionic, React Native, Native Script, and Phonegap. Ionic is a powerful framework that allows you to make iOS, Android and Windows phone applications using the same code. React Native and Native Script make it possible to create fully native apps. Phonegap is the old school option for creating cross-platform applications with vanilla JavaScript.

Java

Many mobile platforms require developers to create applications in a specific framework or programming language. For example, if you are creating an application for iOS, then you will need to use Objective-C or Swift. The advantage of using Java is that it checks most of these boxes. In addition to being a pretty common programming language on desktops, Java is perfect for developing Android apps. This is because Android OS is based on Java.

In addition, Android’s API is specifically crafted for Java programs. Now that over 82% of all smartphones in the world run Android, it is not a surprise that Java would rank high in the list of the best programming languages for Cross-Platform mobile application development. Many developers prefer Java for back end APIs. Given that any mobile app you can create will need to delicately balance between the device side of things (client side) and the server’s side where data, updates and permissions are processes, Java is an excellent choice because it is super portable for server environments.

C# and C++

Windows as well as OS X heavily rely on C# and C++, making the two languages a good option if you are creating applications that should run on mobile platforms as well as desktop platforms. Your preferred platform could also be the core determinant of the language you use. If you plan to use Visual Studio, then C# and C++ would serve your needs quite effectively. C#, developers agree, is the language of choice if you are after enduring industry credibility.

On the other hand, C++ is perfect if your app will be audio or graphics heavy. This is because the language is big on performance by making use of practically all available resources. While you may sometimes need to add some lines of code when you reuse the code for one mobile platform to another, it is usually a relatively easy and fast task to undertake.

Author Bio: Jane Shel is a co-founder and content strategist at MiroMind SEO & Digital agency. Self-starter and blog-reader, she likes to share her know-how in digital marketing world.

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Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.

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