Top Programming Languages for Android App Development in 2020 and 2021
Learning to code can be a complex and daunting experience. Most of the time it’s not even clear where to start, but you likely have a large number of questions to answer before you start.
Knowing about the different types of languages gives you a good idea of the type of programming language you need to choose for different types of applications. Although Java is the official language, an Android app can be created in other languages. Since you are mostly interested in how to build Android apps, here are some options to consider.
If you want to develop Android apps, the first step is to choose the language. The differences between the different Android programming languages can be a bit complex and subtle. Choosing who to start with requires an understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Here are the programming languages currently in use for Android development:
- Kotlin – Kotlin is the latest Android language and secondary official Java language; It is similar to Java, but in many ways, it is easy for you to understand.
- Java is the main language of Android development and is supported by Android Studio. However, she has a steep learning curve.
- C / C ++ – Android Studio supports C ++ using Java NDK. This allows for native coding, which can be useful for things like games. C ++ is more complicated.
- C # – C # is a more beginner-friendly alternative to C or C ++ that blocks more code. It is backed by some easy-to-use tools like Unity and Xamarin, which are great for game development and common platform development.
- BASIC – Bonus option is to learn BASIC and try out B4S IDE from Anywhere Software. This is an easy but also powerful tool, although it is definitely a bit more specialized!
- Corona / LUA – Another cross-platform tool built on LUA, it greatly simplifies the application building process and allows you to connect to native libraries.
The best way to programming Android apps is to download Android Studio. This is a part of the program called the IDE, or Integrated Development Environment. It is presented as a package with the Android SDK, and it is only a set of tools used to facilitate Android development. This will give you everything you need in one place to get up and move on.
Tutorials and official documents from Google are referenced in this method and you will find the largest number of free libraries and icons to enhance your applications and tutorials focusing on this method.
Life is much better with Android Studio, which has amassed its power over the past few years. Features like visual designer and suggestions make the process more seamless, while advanced and powerful features are being added all the time to give developers access to things like cloud storage with ease of implementation.
Kotlin has recently emerged on the scene as the “other” official language of Android development. Some speculation is that this will likely raise the profile of the language and that it will likely become the next Swift.
Kotlin runs on the Java Virtual Machine. It is also fully interoperable with Java and does not cause any hitches or file size increases.
The main difference is that Kotlin requires less “standard” code, which means that it is a more streamlined and easy-to-read system. It also removes errors like null point exceptions and even excuses you from ending each line with a semicolon. This is a great programming language if you are just learning to develop Android apps for the first time.
With that said, you know that Kotlin is definitely an easier starting point for beginners, and the fact that you can still use Android Studio is a huge plus. Capture is still not that simple, for example, C # with Unity, and community support is relatively in its infancy. In fact, you currently need to download a beta version of Android Studio in order to get external support.
But even so, Kotlin should definitely be on your radar and could provide an easier entry point for “proper” Android development, which is probably the reason Google introduced it in the first place.
Java itself was developed by Sun Microsystems in 1995, and it is used for a wide variety of programming applications. Java code is run by a virtual machine that runs on Android devices and interprets the code.
Unfortunately, Java is also a bit complicated and not a great language to deal with if you are a beginner. This is the biggest problem faced by people who plan to get into Android app development. Java is an object-oriented programming language with confusing topics like constructors, null pointer exceptions, specified exceptions, and much more. It’s not terribly legible and you’ll be using a lot of code for the simple things.
If you add the Java SDK, things can get more complicated – a first-time programmer might have a hard time figuring out what is Java and what is Android! Development using this path also requires a basic understanding of concepts like Gradle, such as Android Manifest and XML markup language. There are a lot of communities in Java for this reason, and it is also one of the most diverse and widely used communities.
So, is it the best programming language you need to learn? Sure – especially for those who want a full Android development experience, diving into Java is the best place to start, if you ask me.
For those of you who are concerned about complex code, it’s possible to pretty much work with the designer and follow tutorials for anything more complicated. But, if you are a beginner looking to make a game, or you just want to start learning for the sake of learning and want to get some rewarding projects on the ground, I recommend that you start with something easier and go back to this once you get a little more grounding.
C / C ++
If you ask me, it’s not really a good idea to choose this path for Android app development. Android Studio offers C / C ++ support with the Android Native Development Kit. This means that you will write code that does not run on the Java Virtual Machine, but works locally on the machine and gives you more control over things like memory.
C # is basically an easier and object-oriented version of C and C + developed by Microsoft. Microsoft’s primary goal was to bring the power of C ++ and the ease of Visual Basic, and it’s a bit like a simplified version of Java.
Unity is a “game engine,” which means it offers things like physical calculations, 3D graphics rendering, and IDEs like Android Studio. It is an open source tool, which makes it extremely easy to create your own games, and the community is powerful, which means you get a lot of support. With a few lines of code, you have a basic platform game set up in less than an hour. It is quite an effective tool, being the one most of the game studios use on the Google Play Store. And it’s cross-platform too.
What we learned about C # was an attempt to introduce the power of C with Visual BASIC ease. This is because BASIC (All-Purpose Code Code for Beginners) is very fun to use and a totally perfect jump point for learning to code.
Unfortunately, it is not officially supported by Android Studio and you cannot use it in Unity or Xamarin. The good news is that there is a lesser known option for developing Android apps in BASIC called B4A than Anywhere Software. This is an acronym for “BASIC 4 Android” and, as you might expect, it lets you encode Android applications using BASIC. It is definitely not the first choice for most Android app development programmers, but it is always nice to have more options.
B4A is designed as Rapid Application Development Environment. There are loads of other smart design decisions to make life easier, and there is a very supportive community if you have any questions.
This is a great way to learn programming, and you can build some very powerful applications using this method alone. It’s not ideal for making high-quality games, however, once again it suffers from being a “casual” option, so it’s hard to create something that fully meets your multi-dimensional design specifications, and you’ll find it more difficult to work as a professional developer with only the basic. The other big drawback is that this is the only option on the list that isn’t free.
Corona it offers another, much simpler option for developing Android apps while still giving you a fair amount of power and control. You’ll be coding in LUA, it’s really much simpler than Java, and on top of that, the Corona SDK will make things easier. It supports all native libraries, allowing you to publish on multiple platforms.
It is used widely for creating games, but it can be used in many other ways as well. You will need to use a text editor like Notepad ++ to input your code and you can run said code on an emulator without compiling first. When you are ready to create an APK and publish, you will be able to do so with an online tool.
This requires basic programming skills, but it provides a nice and sweet introduction to the world of programming. At the same time, though, it’s definitely somewhat limited and still a few steps away from hitting the App Builder area. This is most useful for someone who wants to create something relatively simple and isn’t interested in developing their coding skills or becoming a professional. If you want to use features like in-app purchase, you will need to pay a fee. The same goes for using the native Android APIs.
Finally, the last major ‘simplified’ option you can choose for developing Android apps is PhoneGap, unless you want to switch instead to app builder software.