Best Programming Language for Mobile App Development

Do you want to know what the best programming language is for mobile app development? Find out which programming language you should choose for your next mobile app development project.

Are you building a new native mobile app? Don't know which language is best for you. Is it Java or Objective-C? In this article, I'm going to discuss the top 5 mobile app development programming languages. Let's find out which programming language should you choose for your next native mobile app.
Mobile app development language    
Mobile apps are growing and so is the demand for mobile app developers. There are billions of app downloads every year. The following chart shows the number of worldwide app downloads from 2012 to 2017.
Mobile app downloads 
Android and iOS are the two most-used mobile operating systems in the world. If you look at worldwide usages of mobile operating systems in the following chart from statcounter, Android rules. Total worldwide market share of Android is 75% compared to iOS at 20 percent. Every other operating system doesn’t deserve to be mentioned.
Mobile OS 
Now, let’s look at the mobile usages in the U.S.A from the below chart, i.e., iOS is 55% and Android is 45 percent.
Mobile operating system market share 
There are dozens of programming languages to build mobiles apps for both of these platforms. I’m not even going to mention other operating systems.
They really don’t matter.
The following is a list of the top 10 mobile app development programming languages.
1. Java
2. Objective-C
3. Swift
4. Kotlin
5. C#
6. HTML 5
7. JavaScript
8. React Native
9. NativeScript
In this article, I will discuss the top 5 programming languages only.
1. Kotlin
Kotlin is a modern, concise, safe, object-oriented, and cross-platform programming language that was created by a software product company, JetBrains, in 2011. Kotlin is used to build JVM, Android, Browser, and Native apps. Currently, Kotlin is supported by Google under the Kotlin Foundation.
Since the release of Android Studio 3.0 in Oct 2017, Kotlin has been announced as the official programming language of Android.
Kotlin is designed to build modern apps and provides the functionality modern app developers need. Kotlin development is seamless via Android Studio. Kotlin offers simplicity, flexibility, and productivity. Kotlin also writes cleaner and less code for the same functionality in Java.
For your next Android mobile app, I highly recommend using Kotlin.
To learn Kotlin, here is a complete training course on Kotlin.
2. Swift
Swift is the primary programming language of the iOS operating system. Swift was developed and launched by Apple in 2014. In Dec 2015, Apple open sourced Swift under the Apache License 2.0. Besides iOS, Swift is also a programming language of macOS, watchOS, tvOS, Linux and z/OS.
Prior to Swift, Objective-C was the primary language for iOS development. Objective C being 30 years old, the language did not support modern needs. Swift is a modern programming language that provides modern language features such as dynamic, safe, late binding, and extensibility.
Earlier in 2018, Swift surpassed Objective-C in popularity and became the #1 programming language for iOS and other Apple operating systems. Swift is the most highly recommend language for building your new iOS, tvOS, and watchOS platforms.
To learn Swift, here is a complete training course on Swift.
3. Java
Java is the most popular programming language in the word. There are close to 9 million Java developers in the world, among 23 million developers total. Java is the primary programming language of Android.
Unlike Swift, Kotlin, and C#, Java may not be a modern programming language and does not upgrade frequently. Java however, offers a starting point for new developers. Java is much easier to learn compared to Kotlin. If you’re a new developer who wants to learn Android development, Java may be one of the easiest ways to begin.
4. Objective-C
Objective-C was developed by Tom Love and Brad Cox in 1984. Prior to Apple launching Swift in 2014, Objective C was the primary language of Apple iOS mobile apps. Objective-C is a general purpose, object-oriented programming language that brings Smalltalk flavor to C programming language. Message passing among objects is a key feature of Objective-C that became really useful for Apple iOS operating systems.
Today, Swift has taken over Objective-C in popularity and usefulness.
Objective-C is a superset of the C programming language and provides object-oriented capabilities and a dynamic runtime. Objective-C inherits the syntax, primitive types, and flow control statements of C and adds syntax for defining classes and methods. It also adds language-level support for object graph management and object literals while providing dynamic typing and binding, deferring many responsibilities until runtime.
5. C#
The C# language was created by Anders Hejlsberg at Microsoft and launched in 2000. C# is a simple, modern, flexible, object-oriented, safe, and open source programming language. C# is one of the most versatile programming languages in the world.
C# allows developers to build all kind of applications including Windows clients, consoles, Web apps, mobile apps, and backend systems.
C# developers can build native iOS and Android mobile apps with the help of Xamarin. Xamarin is a tool as a part of Visual Studio which allows developers to write C# code that is compiled to native iOS and native Android binaries. These binaries work exactly as any native app written using other iOS and Android languages such as Swift or Kotlin works.
C# offers developers the ability to build native iOS and Android mobile apps without learning a new programming language.
Learn more here What C# Can Do For You
Besides Kotlin, Java, Objective-C, Swift, and C#, there are other language that provides an alternate for mobile app development. HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS is one of the most popular ways to build hybrid (non native) mobile apps. Hybrid apps use a browser control to render HTML and CSS inside a shell of a mobile app. There are several tools to build hybrid apps.
There are several other options are out there including React Native and NativeScript. React Native.
React-native is a mobile apps building framework using only JavaScript. It uses the same design as React, letting you utilize/include a rich mobile UI library/ declarative components. Here is an introduction to React Native:
Native Script is another framework that is used to build iOS and Android apps. Learn more here: Mobile App Development Using NativeScript
There are several programming languages to build iOS and Android mobile apps. In this article, I covered the most popular programming languages. Kotlin and Swift are the recommended languages for Android and iOS app development, respectively.