Top 8 Android App Development Languages for 2022
Nowadays, there seems to be a mobile app for every problem and an Android app language to address every need. Whether you’re bored and want to kill some time with a good Android game or need a proprietary, branded Android application to answer a specific need, you can bet that the Play Store has what you’re looking for.
It’s important to note that the app market is constantly growing worldwide, which has incentivized the creation of a different app coding language for every need. To write an app has become a lucrative prospect for companies and individuals nowadays.
How lucrative, you ask?
Well, considering that worldwide mobile app revenues are expected to reach $935.2 billion by 2023, there’s no denying that learning programming is a good investment.
But before you can start to develop Android apps and dish out some amazing products on the Google Play Store, you have to find the best language for app development. The best part about all of this is that you would be future-proofing your career by becoming an Android developer.
With the arrival of the new Google Pixel 6 and similar high-end smartphones using this operating system, it’s safe to say that the market is hungry for mobile apps focusing on innovative and performance-driven apps. It allows you to enter an industry with tremendous growth potential for the next ten years.
With all of that in mind, today, we will go over the top eight languages required for Android apps in 2022 that you should consider, test for yourself, and use to achieve the best results.
Mobile App Development FAQ
Before we jump into the list of app languages, let’s answer the most common questions.
What are the three types of apps?
A native app is a purpose-built Android application that the developer creates for a specific operating system or even specific devices. This allows the application to utilize the full hardware and software capabilities of the device.
Another benefit of native apps is that they are secure and generally run faster than web-based applications. Along with optimized performance, a native app brings the capability of tapping into the latest technologies and their iterations, such as GPS, NFC, and secure payment systems, cloud tools, and more.
Some of the most common native app examples on modern mobile phones include Twitter, Google Maps, and even games like Pokémon Go.
A hybrid app is another popular way of developing Android apps, but these combine web applications and native applications to deliver a cross-platform experience. A user can access a hybrid app from more than one operating system.
A hybrid app will work both on Android and iOS, and it requires the developer to understand the backend language of both to optimize the app for different systems. The hybrid app’s performance relies on the browser’s speed, however, it typically means that it will run slower than a native application.
Common examples of hybrid apps include Instagram, Gmail, Uber, and Evernote.
A progressive web application is not a purpose-built Android application. Rather, it’s a web application that works on all mobile devices as well as desktops. Many e-commerce apps are developed as PWAs. Basically, a PWA is intended to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser, ensuring interoperability.
As a developer of PWA apps only, you might not need to master smartphone programming languages, but you do need to master web-based languages such as HTML, CSS, and JS. A PWA is essentially a webpage that you can build in one of these coding languages and then publish on popular app stores or anywhere online, so long as the app meets the baseline requirements for installation and decent UX.
Common and popular examples of progressive web applications include Starbucks, BMW, and almost every food delivery app.
What languages are Android apps written in?
Android programming can be done in several app dev languages, including:
What is Google’s preferred language for Android app development?
Back in 2017, Google announced that Kotlin is its preferred mobile app language for Android devices, and Kotlin remains a Google favorite to this day.
However, this doesn’t mean that you need to focus solely on this Android programming language, but that you need to master Kotlin and other languages that support object-oriented programming and other programming paradigms.
What language is iOS written in?
When it comes to the iOS operating system and Apple mobile phones, the coding languages include:
- Assembly language
Most Popular Android App Development Languages – Infographic
8 Android Mobile App Development Languages
We’ve studied the pros and cons for each of the Android app languages. Now, let’s do a deep dive into each of them to help you better understand their nature.
Python is, without a doubt, one of the most popular and widely used Android programming languages in the world. This should come as no surprise, of course, considering the benefits of using this object-oriented language that developers love for its full-stack features.
Python is used as a backend language but its frameworks are applied in the frontend as well because it’s a full stack solution. Using Python for app development is one of the primary requirements for many teams and companies around the world, so mastering this language is a worthwhile investment for every aspiring developer.
One of the reasons why companies and software teams love Python is because, for one, it is a full-stack language, but also because it is intuitive and easy to learn. If you want to develop an Android app with Python but are unsure where to start, you can then turn to the vast open source community for help.
One of the most popular apps built with Python app source code as well as frontend design is, of course, Instagram.
Python is one of the easiest smartphone programming languages to get into in 2022. That said, you should keep in mind that Python is slower than some other languages, such as Java or Kotlin. This is because Python is an interpreted language, meaning that it executes the code line by line, making speed one clear disadvantage.
Using Java to develop Android apps is a common practice worldwide that every aspiring developer looking to capitalize on smartphone programming languages should master. Whether you are looking to build apps independently or become a part of a dev company, you will be required to know how to code in the Java language.
If you want to learn Java quickly, you’ll be glad to know that it’s easy enough. With a vast online community and a network of supporting developer groups, websites, and forums, you can quickly start using Java to create apps in native and hybrid environments.
Java is one of those full-stack coding languages primarily used for developing web applications, allowing for project-oriented programming and seamless cross-platform development. This is because Java is mainly a computer programming language that expert devs use for developing Android apps for almost all makes and models of mobile phones.
That said, keep in mind that Java is not perfect and that there are a couple of drawbacks when you’re trying to code apps on Android using this language. For one, Java does have a slightly outdated UI, but the bigger problem is memory management.
Probably the most famous example of an Android (and iOS, for that matter) app built with Java is Spotify.
Because Java apps manage memory through garbage collection, the app may experience performance drops when the garbage collector is activated. Unfortunately, there is not much that modern Android devices can do about this because the app source code is to blame. For the garbage collector thread to work, other threads need to be stopped.
Not to repeat ourselves too much, but C++ is also one of those app dev languages you simply need to have in your resume. By now, it probably looks like you need to master every mobile app language out there. Even though that’s not the case, the more coding languages you know, the higher the chances that you’ll get hired at a software company or that you’ll land more clients independently.
Employers are looking for versatility and a developer who can leverage the most powerful Android programming languages out there, and C++ is definitely on that list. In fact, C++ is one of the oldest and most reliable of the bunch, in fact.
C++ is used not only for Android apps but also for developing Windows phone apps, which will make you a more versatile developer. One of the biggest advantages of C++ is that it’s portable, meaning that you can run the same app on more than one operating system. This is a huge perk for any developer, and with the support of a large community, you can develop an Android app using C++ relatively quickly as a beginner.
Using C++ also allows for object-oriented programming, ensuring a clean app source code and better performance, reliability, and maintenance. Software teams and companies love C++ because of its scalability as well.
So, what we’re trying to say here is that you can use the C++ program on a smaller or a larger scale, involving small or large amounts of resource-intensive data. This is a good thing, especially if you build something data-heavy, like healthcare applications.
A popular example of an app written in C++ is YouTube. While YouTube is written in a few languages, C++ makes up the app’s source code and its core functionalities.
One of the potential drawbacks of this backend language is that C++ doesn’t have an automatic garbage collector. To get rid of unnecessary data that might be slowing down the apps and the Android devices they’re on, you need to do it manually.
You might also want to keep an eye out for some potential security risks. Because C++ uses pointers and has features like the friend functions and global variables, it might open up unwanted access points. This is a rarity, but it’s still crucial for a developer to know.
Kotlin is a powerful, easy-to-use mobile app language used by more and more developers and companies across the globe. This is because Kotlin has experienced exponential adoption rates across the board ever since it became Google’s preferred language.
The fact that new features and functionalities are available on Kotlin before they become accessible in other coding languages means that developers can use Kotlin for mobile app development in an innovative way and bring advanced features to the market before everyone else.
But aside from the fact that Google loves a good Kotlin Android application, there are some distinct advantages to using this full-stack language. For one, Kotlin is clean, concise, and an easy language to learn for Android apps. It means that aspiring developers can kick-start their Kotlin journey quickly, but also that this language elevates team efficiency and collaboration.
Interoperability is another big selling point for Kotlin because this Android programming language is 100% compatible with Java and its tools and frameworks. You can use Kotlin along with Java if you require two languages to build your app, and you can even make the switch to Kotlin step by step.
Some other advantages here include easy maintenance due to the vast support this language gets from Google and various IDEs, and the app source code is less buggy due to the concise nature of the language.
When it comes to the most popular apps written in Kotlin, the Target App is an obvious example of a clean, performance-driven Android application that’s intuitive and easy to use.
Like all other languages, Kotlin also has some potential drawbacks. One of these is the obvious fact that Kotlin and Java are not the same, so making the shift means that you need to spend some time learning Kotlin if you’re primarily a Java developer. Another drawback for companies is that there isn’t a lot of Kotlin talent out there, which is an opportunity for aspiring developers to fill this skill gap.
C# (C Sharp) is a widely used, multi-paradigm, general-purpose coding language used to create everything from apps for Android devices to desktop computer applications and programs. The language has been around since the year 2000 and is used to this day by developers to create web applications and native apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.
Developing mobile apps with C# is standard practice nowadays due to the numerous advantages this language brings to the table, like the ability to seamlessly develop an app for the Android and Windows operating systems. Aspiring developers are expected to know C# Android programming to be able to leverage its numerous programming disciplines.
C# encompasses object oriented programming, static typing, strong typing, lexically scoped, imperative, declarative, functional, generic, and component-oriented programming disciplines. These features make it a powerful tool when developing Android apps and applications that work on mobile phones and desktop computers.
It’s also worth mentioning that C# boasts an automated garbage collector to help with cleaning up the app source code and unwanted data and is compatible with previous iterations and stable releases.
A well-known example of a cross-platform Android application built with C# is the award-winning video game Hearthstone.
On the flip side, C# does suffer from a couple of drawbacks. While it allows for seamless cross-platform app development, C# is an internal part of the .NET framework, meaning that it requires a Windows-based server to run. The app source code is thus less portable than the code from some other languages, like Java or Python, because it depends on the .NET framework.
PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is one of the most well-known and widely-used coding languages around. This is the best server-side mobile app language, which means that the application doesn’t run through a web browser but the web server.
It’s important to note that PHP is not just a backend language for Android but a comprehensive server-side scripting language with numerous possible implementations and applications.
From developing dynamic web pages, all the way to desktop applications and apps for Android devices, developers can use PHP for a variety of projects. As a general coding language and given its popularity in app and web-based design, learning PHP is an essential step towards becoming a successful developer in 2022.
PHP is also a fairly easy language to learn for Android apps, not because the language is easy itself, but because there is a ton of learning material available for you to enjoy. Plus, PHP as a concept enjoys a lot of support from a devoted global community, so you can quickly get the necessary guidance during the learning period.
What’s more, it’s important to note that PHP also supports object oriented programming since the release of version 5. With this and other features, PHP is a great language for you to combine with other coding languages such as the C family of languages and numerous libraries and frameworks.
There are many popular web applications built with PHP, one of the most popular being Facebook.
There are two distinct drawbacks, though – security and a lack of dedicated libraries for the modern developer. There’s also the problem that this language is slowly dropping in popularity, but that could just be a passing trend.
The security concerns are attributed to the open-source nature of PHP, meaning that news of possible app source code vulnerabilities can spread quickly across the online world.
For one, keep in mind that you need to run the code in different browsers prior to publication because different browsers might interpret your code differently. This could cause various issues and prevent the app from running. Secondly, potential hackers or anyone with malicious intent could inspect the app source code, which is visible to the user, and uncover security vulnerabilities.
In the end, we have the Corona SDK (software development kit), a third-party Android programming language designed primarily for developing games for mobile phones. Gaming has always been the most popular category on the Google Play Store.any professionals get into developing Android apps by building free-to-play games for Android devices and the iOS platform.
The interesting thing about Corona is that, instead of Java, it uses a powerful scripting language called Lua. Lua is not only an easy language to learn for Android apps, but it’s also a fast scripting language with a ton of possibilities. You can use many online references and learning materials to test Lua out yourself and start building your app.
It’s also easy to cross-platform your apps from Android to iOS, and interestingly, Corona has a built-in simulator that you can use for real-time testing and optimization.
There are many popular games on the Play Store that were written with Corona, one of them being Designer City.
There aren’t many drawbacks when it comes to using Corona for developing mobile games. Save for the fact that you don’t have a dedicated GUI editor and that the SDK is not really built for other types of apps – although you can create anything with this toolkit by using complementary software.
Is there a single operating system that all developers should use in 2022 for Android programming?
No, there isn’t. As you can see, each of these app dev languages has its unique advantages and some disadvantages when compared to other popular choices.
What does that mean for you as someone who is looking to develop apps?
It means that you need to test these smartphone programming languages yourself, consider the pros and cons of each, and just get a feel for the coding languages that work for you.
Over time, you will start to master more than one app programming language, and you’ll be able to create amazing apps for various clients around the world. In fact, you can even kick-start your own company and start to code apps on Android with a dedicated team of professionals.
The possibilities are endless, and these coding languages are the cornerstone of long-term success in this lucrative but competitive industry.