Python for Mobile Apps in 2021
Has it really been almost three decades since Python started making every developer’s life infinitely easier? In that time, Python has earned much more popularity among IT professionals, and it has been used in creating some of the most famous apps in existence – Instagram, Spotify, and Google included.
If you’re getting ready to watch your favorite show on Netflix as soon as you’re done reading this article, you can thank Python for enabling many of the platform’s features and functionalities. Getting an Uber ride? Python (combined with other programming languages, of course) powers that service, too.
Its inherent source code versatility, powerful standard library, and selection of available frameworks make it a popular choice for a wide array of programming projects. Not to mention that Python is widely used for scientific purposes, numeric computing, and web development, allowing professionals from all spheres to use it for creating project-specific solutions.
If you’re dabbling with the idea of creating your very own Python-based mobile app, look no further.
Why Use Python for Mobile Apps Development?
With so many programming languages and frameworks available, it’s no wonder most avid developers will pose the question.
Yes, the languages previously predominant in the realm of app development are more than sufficient to get your app up and running, both for Android and iOS platforms. So, why Python?
1) An open-source language
It’s free to download, use, and modify, making it a superbly simple choice for up-and-coming developers who need a cost-effective way to tackle the project.
As a general-purpose programming language, the code you create with Python can be used in virtually every digital environment, so an app is no different.
3) Easy to use
Python’s source code is a logical choice for developers looking to create simple and effective code that even beginner programmers can leverage. The syntax rules make Python easy to master, and the learning process itself doesn’t take long. It means that bringing in new team members without much experience won’t put a strain on the project – Python’s learning curve will not pose an issue.
4) Quick development, testing, deployment
App development is a highly competitive sector, so you need to be able to produce a highly functional product that’s easy to test, deploy, and adapt at any time. Python allows that quite organically since you can quickly get the necessary feedback for your code, spot any errors, and fix them fast to deliver a great experience with your app.
5) Test-driven development
Python has evolved to embrace TDD, which stands for test-driven development. The language helps you create prototypes quickly and efficiently and then develop apps from those prototypes through refactoring. In a sense, Python is the textbook example of a language that supports the ideal app development lifecycle through ongoing testing and coding.
Since apps need to be purpose-driven, developers need the kind of code that will work seamlessly in many different environments. Python is ideal as it is compatible with many platforms, including Android, iOS, and Windows.
Why Is Python So Popular?
The above-mentioned reasons supporting Python app development also back up the use of the language beyond creating apps. Since it’s one of the fastest-growing languages in existence, it’s only natural that more developers will turn to Python to create different solutions.
What makes Python so popular, in addition to the previously listed, app-friendly perks?
1) Supportive community
Even the simplest and most efficient programming languages like Python have their quirks. When you come across one, you’ll also find immediate help and support in the ever-growing Python community. In the close to thirty years of its making, Python has assembled some of the greatest, most agile programming minds into a network of reliable professionals that help each other grow every day. When you’re new to Python, the community steps up. You’ll find a slew of user-friendly tutorials, hands-on explanations, and other helpful materials to master it quickly.
2) Notable sponsorship and support
When you have giants like Google backing you, you’re bound to succeed. That is the case with Python, with a massive corporate sponsorship helping the language advance. Thanks to this growing support, developers have access to a range of helpful development tools, learning materials, and dedicated training courses.
3) Accessible to professionals and companies
The fact that it requires significantly less time, effort, and initial skill to code with Python makes it the primary language of choice for many professionals and organizations alike.
Python is a reliable language that will deliver the kind of code to survive practically every platform or environment you throw it in. That means that the performance of your Python-based product won’t suffer when moved from one platform to another.
5) Ideal for non-programmers
Due to its syntax simplicity and the fact that it’s easy to learn, most research and development projects across many industries and educational sectors are conducted in Python. For scientists and other professionals whose main field of expertise isn’t programming, Python is the most efficient way to use it in their projects daily, especially for all possible forms of data analytics.
6) Works will advanced technologies
Machine learning, Big Data, as well as AI play well with Python. So far, there isn’t much Python hasn’t been able to do or adapt to, making it an excellent option for various industries out there.
8 Types of Applications That Can Be Developed Using Python
Now, if you have your heart set on a specific type of app, it’s time to look at the following list to see if it’s a good match for this particular programming language. If you haven’t chosen your app yet, this is what you can make with Python.
1) Gaming apps
Ever heard of Battlefield 2 or Sims 4? These are just some of many popular games developed using Python. Its inherent scalability and real-time testing make it a top pick for developing game apps. Even Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean game was created with the help of Python. Superb for setting up dialogs and creating various levels, Python has become a number-one language for game apps.
2) Blockchain apps
Unless you’re familiar with the cryptocurrency world and the blockchain technology that has enabled safe crypto transactions, you won’t be able to fully appreciate Python’s role in this process. This language has made something as intricate and safety-centric as the blockchain much simpler and easier to manage. Developers working on blockchain-based apps rely on the framework called Flask to enable safe and seamless communication between HTTP requests and the blockchain.
3) Apps for data science and analytics
As we’ve already mentioned, academics everywhere rely on Python to conduct painstakingly thorough research and data analysis. The language’s clean and straightforward syntax makes it a great match to help scientists and researchers in their pursuits. We’ve seen a tremendous rise in data science apps over the years, precisely because Python has made that giant leap in development possible. Researchers now use Python-based apps to create effective graphs and represent data in meaningful ways to avoid human error and filter useful information from irrelevant processes that would otherwise take ages.
4) E-commerce apps
Purchased anything online recently? Thanks to its scalability and many available libraries, companies can now use the language to create mobile apps for e-commerce. The sheer convenience of the option is making these apps more prevalent than ever, so more brands are now creating their own dedicated e-commerce apps to empower mobile purchases and similar secure transactions.
5) Machine learning and AI apps
Machine learning alone is impressive enough: used to empower smarter decision-making by providing meaningful data to programs and systems, machine learning can now be even more available and applicable with Python. Thanks to its simplicity, Python makes complex processes like machine learning simpler and more straightforward. The same goes for artificial intelligence apps, now much more widespread than ever before.
6) Entertainment apps
Primarily referring to audio and video content, entertainment-focused apps are taking over the world by storm. Remember we’ve already mentioned that Netflix uses the language, too? Other apps designed to provide entertaining audio and video content are also created with Python.
7) Command-line apps
Valuable for businesses and developers, command-line apps use nothing more than the terminal and shell to give out text-based commands to the system in question.
8) System administration apps
Businesses are constantly on the lookout for more refined, effective apps that help them with dull administrative tasks. Python is widely involved in creating such apps to simplify and clarify admin processes and eliminate human error or bias from the process.
7 Popular Applications Built Using Python
For developers just jumping on the programming bandwagon, it pays to learn about apps that are already in existence made with the help of Python to understand its full potential.
Even if you have ample experience, perhaps you didn’t know some of the most popular apps in use today are actually developed with Python. Getting to know a little bit about these apps will help you understand what options you might have when you decide the time is right to develop your own project.
The streaming service app has become a global phenomenon that so many people use today. And yes, it uses Python for some of its core backend functionalities, for instance, for data analysis. Keep in mind that Spotify has a slew of interconnected and dependent backend services, while around 80% of them are written precisely in Python.
This social media platform delivering visual content has completely transformed how people communicate and how businesses build their influence. Considering that the central part of the Instagram philosophy is simplicity, software engineers working on Instagram naturally gravitate towards a framework and a language that reflects this principle. Python’s scalable yet simple nature has enabled the platform to skyrocket over the years.
Another visual platform that has become more popular over the years, Pinterest depends on Python (and one of its most popular frameworks, Django) to process and handle vast amounts of visually rich content, and very successfully so.
A cloud solution gaining momentum and helping businesses collaborate and share files, Dropbox is a multi-platform tool powered by Python. You can use it on Windows , some forms of Linux, and macOS, which helps Dropbox gain more users, all the while adapting to different environments very well.
The ride-sharing service has become a global standard for digitalization in sectors that have been somewhat impervious to change. Uber demands a highly responsive, speedy, and scalable backend, which is why Python was up to the challenge. With millions of users and plenty of still expanding services on offer, Uber requires a secure environment and access to skilled developers to handle the ongoing work smoothly.
Another streaming platform that has made the pandemic somewhat bearable, Netflix uses Python for the vast majority of its tools, content management, data analysis, as well as security. In fact, the personalized Netflix experience the brand is so praised for relies on Python. Their machine learning infrastructure pairs with Python to deliver recommendation algorithms that optimize the whole experience.
Unlike image-centric Pinterest or visually-dominant Instagram, Reddit is a social platform for collating news, discussions, and debates for thousands of users every day. Its content is not just visual, so Python enables a masterful use of its libraries to handle various content formats. Even though it was originally written in Common Lisp, they switched to Python due to its scalability and straightforward code.
Using Python for Android Apps
When you think “Android”, you most likely consider programming languages like Java or Kotlin. These and a few other languages have been regarded as staples of Android app creation, for several excellent reasons. They’ve served developers well so far, but Python is quickly stealing the programming spotlight in the Android app development sector.
Python programming has thus far enabled developers to create an impressive range of applications that one can use on various devices and platforms. That said, you can absolutely develop Android apps using Python, but if you’re aiming for an Android-exclusive app, then you might be better off using the native Android tools.
On the other hand, cross-platform app development with Python allows you to build apps for various operating systems and devices. With Python, you can create a mobile app that will function well on Android and iOS phones, but also desktop computers.
Using Python for iOS Apps
If you’ve stuck with us so far, you’ve learned that both Android and iOS applications can, indeed, be made with Python. However, the actual process isn’t always as simple as it seems, even though the language itself and its core app development frameworks enable the development.
Much like Android apps have had their own staple languages for effective coding, iOS apps have so far been primarily developed with the help of Swift and Objective-C. The speed that Swift provides (the hint is in the name, isn’t it?) has often tipped the scales in its favor. Simplicity and reliability are two additional factors that programmers tend to consider when making their choice.
This is why Python has become another valid player in the process. Ever since two key frameworks have been introduced, Kivy and BeeWare, Python has earned a place in the iOS app development world. Now, Python’s applicability in iOS is far more extensive, helping app developers create solutions that can be sold and used across different platforms.
Is Python Good for Creating Apps?
If you want to develop a web app with Python, you have many different options at your disposal. As for mobile apps, the truth is simple: in the hands of an expert developer with ample knowledge on how to use its finest mobile app development frameworks, Python is absolutely one of the most trustworthy solutions out there.
It has the speed, scalability, flexibility, versatility, and security to deliver the kind of code you need for a performance-driven app. It’s far from perfect, and developers will need to come up with various workarounds when an issue arises for cross-platform apps, but it’s certainly a highly functional opportunity.
Bring on new developers with little to no experience, and Python is the language that they will learn quickly and be able to contribute to your work. Partner up with Python experts in app development, and you’ll certainly get the kind of software that will live up to its promise.
In the right hands, Python is definitely one of the most promising programming languages, which is evident due to its popularity since it’s the fastest growing language in app development right now.
The Best Python Frameworks for Mobile Development (Cross-Platform Mobile Frameworks for Python)
Once upon a time, developers would have to use entirely different programming languages to develop the same app for different platforms. That would easily transform a project into a nightmare since you would need double the time, effort, and funds to set up the same application and fit with different operating systems.
Python’s ability to work seamlessly across platforms has made it a popular pick to help developers create apps that will be multifunctional, and that can be accessed by a much wider range of customers. However, Python didn’t initially have the bandwidth for such projects. It was only with the invention of two core frameworks, Kivy and BeeWare, that the language finally became available for cross-platform mobile app development.
Let’s go over the two main Python frameworks in greater detail to help you understand their applicability and make an informed choice when creating your mobile app.
Why use Kivy for Python Mobile App Development?
If you’ve relied on Python in the past, you know that creating apps hasn’t really been all that smooth. When Kivy was first released in 2011, it became the answer to various app development problems.
Today, many programmers gladly develop apps using Python’s Kivy for a range of reasons:
- Free access – As an open-source framework, Kivy is completely free to use, continuing the Python legacy. That means you can use, modify, and customize it whether you’re an individual or a business.
- Easier cross-platform app development – Kivy is great for cross-platform app development – the topic we’ll discuss shortly.
- Supports multitouch events – In addition to processing regular keyboard, mouse, or touchpad interactions, it can also support multitouch events.
- It enables NUI – It lets you create a user-friendly app with NUI or Natural User Interface, which means that people can quickly and intuitively figure out how to use each app feature.
- Easy to modify – Kivy is highly customizable, as it doesn’t use any native widgets, so you have the freedom to create everything from scratch.
- Authentic look and feel – A high level of customization makes each Kivy app look unique, although different from native apps found on your user’s phone. It can be a perk, making your app stand out, but it might also lead to some user-facing issues. Some users simply like the consistency of native apps, so they might not opt to use your app on their device.
- Dependability – The Kivy framework is exceptionally stable, and you’ll find plenty of supporting documentation to help you get started with programming.
- Solid graphics – Kivy comes with powerful graphics since it’s built with OpenGL ES 2, allowing GPU acceleration.
- Purposeful app development – Thanks to its simplicity, Kivy is a fast, reliable framework helping you create a highly functional app for all platforms.
Kivy as a Cross-Platform Python Framework
The main feature of this framework is that you can deploy the app on various platforms without changing its features or functions. It works seamlessly on Linux, Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, and Raspberry Pi, making it an excellent choice for multi-platform apps.
Kivy also makes it possible for developers to build apps for Android without relying on Java, which is a great perk for those already familiar with Python. At the same time, you can use the same code to deploy the app for iOS systems, making the use of Swift unnecessary.
The UI built with Kivy can be both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional without affecting the app’s performance on each of the listed platforms. The app might not look like your typical Android or iOS app, but that can be an advantage in the hands of the right, experienced developer.
With a fast turnaround time, Kivy is a great framework for building apps that need to hit the market quickly. Considering that your Kivy-made app will be user-friendly for PCs and mobile devices, the framework helps developers build highly-competitive apps that can easily reach a tremendous number of users.
Kivy’s Key Features
Before we move onto the second Python framework stealing the coding spotlight in app development, let’s summarize Kivy’s most vital features that make it an appealing choice for this process:
- A single framework for all platforms – This kind of uniformity, however, doesn’t take away any of the app’s authenticity.
- High levels of customization – With so many built-in options, Kivy’s UI toolkit is impressively customizable to make sure you can give your users precisely what you want.
- Great for graphics-intensive apps – The OpenGL ES 2 graphics engine makes Kivy an excellent choice for graphics-heavy apps, such as games.
- A massive community of dedicated developers – If you ever find yourself in a conundrum, you’ll easily track a fellow developer with enough know-how to help you with your issues.
- Abundant documentation and guides – Even newbies can get a taste of Kivy coding for apps.
- Additional projects available – You can use a number of associated projects in addition to the core framework.
- Multitouch widgets – Widgets you can use to enable events or gestures that involve touching the screen with multiple pointers or fingers.
- An open-source framework – Kivy is free for commercial and personal use.
- Great for tailor-made widgets – Its easy-to-use language (Kv) is perfect for coding custom widgets.
- An exact framework – Kivy is very precise, leaving no guesswork for the developers using it for app creation.
Why Choose BeeWare for Mobile App Development?
The new code on the block, BeeWare, has become another staple framework for developers and businesses alike for writing an app in Python. On the one hand, the fact that BeeWare is still relatively new compared to other tools available through Python might mean that it lacks some features or tools you need for your project. It all depends on the app’s complexity and the functionalities you want to create.
On the other hand, it’s still updated regularly, and you retain the same freedom to write one code for all intended platforms – hence the “Write once. Deploy everywhere.” slogan that perfectly summarizes the philosophy of Python and BeeWare by extension.
With Kivy available, you might wonder why go for BeeWare in the first place. The framework is perfectly suited for developing apps, so here are a few core reasons to help you pick BeeWare:
- Free for all use cases – Being open-source and accessible for all intents and purposes, BeeWare matches all other Python-based frameworks.
- A growing, helpful community – Despite being relatively new, BeeWare also has a massive and very supportive community of developers happy to share how they’ve resolved bugs.
- Generous coding materials – The available documentation will help guide even the least experienced developers to success and simplify the coding process for experienced app developers, too.
- Easy to use – Being so user-friendly, BeeWare lets you develop mobile and desktop apps without spending more time on the code itself.
- Native-adapted programming – The libraries available through BeeWare work in a unique way to ensure a native experience for each app you deploy. This is also the key difference between Kivy and BeeWare since Kivy cannot mimic the native environment of the device for which you want to build the app.
- A framework-specific toolkit – BeeWare comes with a highly specialized selection of gadgets (with tools such as Toga and Briefcase) so that you can perform specific actions while building your app.
- Better UX – The user experience with apps built on BeeWare is typically better simply because the app will perform in alignment with the native environment, despite the fact that you’ve developed it for multiple systems. As a result, your app will look, feel, and behave just like an Android app when deployed in this environment, while the same code will adapt to the iOS system and behave, look, and feel the same as all the other iOS apps.
- Great growth potential – Chances are, we have yet to learn about the true potential of BeeWare. As a young framework, it is still under development, and we’ll most likely learn more about its capabilities over time.
BeeWare’s Key Features
You now have a solid understanding of how BeeWare enables app development through Python, so let’s sum up the core features that make BeeWare so development-friendly for your next app project.
- Great for native apps – BeeWare uses the features and elements of the target operating system where it is deployed.
- Ideal for cross-platform development – BeeWare can work smoothly on every system, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux.
- Specialized tools for widget creation – This framework gives you a set of pre-built tools for making your own custom widgets.
- Open-source – Free to use and modify both for personal and commercial purposes.
- User-friendly – Fast and easy to use, a framework true to Python’s source code simplicity.
- A growing developer network – The BeeWare community is ready to jump in and help any newcomers or exchange coding ideas with experienced developers.
- A diamond in the rough – The more we develop apps using BeeWare, the more we’ll learn of its untapped potential.
Kivy Vs. BeeWare
Both frameworks allow developing a mobile app with Python seamlessly for any platform you wish – and for all of them, for that matter. If you’re familiar with Python, then these two frameworks will be a breeze to master, together with their various libraries and tools.
However, one main difference that inspires developers to choose one over the other is the ability to create a native-like look and feel for the app. Beeware has that ability; Kivy doesn’t.
BeeWare uses the features and details that define the native environment of an operating system, thus creating an app that fits into the expected parameters of UX. Kivy doesn’t. Kivy allows you to fully customize those features, making the app unique, albeit consistent across all platforms.
The truth is, both approaches have their perks, and you can perceive them as an advantage in any scenario. If you want to develop an app in Python to create a native experience, then BeeWare is the better pick. Should you choose to go the authentic route, then Kivy is the way to go.
Both frameworks have the innate Python speed, syntax simplicity, a slew of available tools and libraries, and thriving developer communities ready to help at any time.
Python has a plethora of frameworks one can use to create various tools and web apps. But BeeWare and Kivy have been specifically created to solve the problem of leveraging Python in cross-platform app development.
In that sense, there are no full-scale alternative frameworks you can use within Python to achieve the same results. However, there are alternative Python frameworks that let you develop specific types of applications for particular environments. Here are a few noteworthy examples:
One of the best-known Python frameworks in general, Django is a versatile option for web development. Since it’s used to create famous apps like Instagram and Netflix, Django is well developed, has useful APIs, templates, and documents to simplify the coding process, and it’s easy to scale.
A set of tools designed to help developers package apps for the Android platform, the p4a toolkit is a great way to leverage Python to adapt your app for this environment.
Specifically designed for game development, Pygame is a collection of modules designed to simplify the process of making a game with Python.
This framework comes with a robust configuration system that makes it easy to run the app across multiple HTTP servers, as well as flexible plugins.
A backend favorite and easy to use for large-scale apps, Falcon is another Python classic favored by those familiar with the language. Its WSGI helpers ensure rapid testing, while numerous additional packages make it easier to use for efficient and quick development.
There are, of course, many other frameworks and toolkits built with Python that help in the app development process. The more you learn about them, the more you realize the immense potential of this language to simplify and speed up app creation, not to mention making it more secure and stable for the end-users, too.
Should You Outsource Python App Development?
If you’ve stuck around this far, you’ve already learned plenty about Python to know that this particular programming language is relatively easy to master, even for those new to coding. But although Python is fairly straightforward, building apps with Python is a complex process requiring ongoing collaboration, clear goals, and plenty of knowledge.
Developing software using Python demands more than rudimentary coding skills, so more businesses and professionals are opting for outsourcing. Instead of learning the ropes themselves, which takes time, practice, and dedication, companies today tend to outsource app development – it’s more cost-effective and saves time.
As a result, you can deploy a fully functional app more quickly to the market, and the sooner you make it available, the sooner you’re able to profit from it and build a dedicated audience.
Finally, outsourcing app development means gaining access to a global developer workforce. You can choose the most qualified, experienced professionals available, and the price range varies enough from region to region so that you can find a good match for your budget, as well.
Brilliant developers combined with a quick turnaround make it a smart and economical choice for the vast majority of companies.
How Much Do Python Developers Charge?
Keep in mind that most developers today don’t have a single flat fee for every type of work they do. Depending on the app’s complexity, the time it would take to complete the project, and the skill it requires, developers can charge accordingly.
It’s also important to note that developers in different countries charge based on other factors, from their level of experience, education all the way to their quality of life. Remember that hiring internationally also means you should take their English language skills into account because your developers need to understand the application design brief and all your requirements.
In general terms and according to current market trends, developers’ hourly rates range from $40 to $160 in the US and some wealthier European countries. On the other hand, in China and India, you’ll notice a steep price drop, but the demand is through the roof.
Here’s a rough breakdown of the prices you can anticipate in different countries globally, but you can expect the rates to vary from person to person and from project to project:
- China – average hourly rate is approximately $26; junior developers charge around $38 per hour, mid-level developers go for $55, and senior devs might cost as much as $68 per hour.
- India – the staggeringly low hourly rate can be as low as $2, although experienced developers will certainly charge more.
- USA – $42-$48 per hour on average, although more experienced developers charge closer to $60 or $80.
- Germany – $30 per hour
- United Kingdom – $35-$45 per hour
- Denmark – $37 per hour
- Australia – $69 per hour
Over to You
Programming in Python is getting more popular by the day, with more developers mastering this language to diversify their skills and to be able to create highly functional apps that can be used across all platforms and devices. If your plan is to get into the software development game, then you should definitely give Python a chance.