Code Institute’s Daragh Ó Tuama explains what budding app developers need to know when it comes to programming languages.
Application development is the complex process of designing, implementing and developing mobile applications. The apps are either developed by independent professional freelancers or by a team of skilled developers belonging to a giant company.
There are countless aspects to consider while developing apps such as app size, design, concept and many more. To achieve optimal results, a competent developer must be skilled in all of these areas.
Is it easy to create an application? The answer depends on you. It is very easy to develop an application if you understand and practice correctly.
The first thing, even before choosing a programming language, is to decide what platform they are writing the program for. As we all know, there are two main platforms for mobile apps: iOS and Android. So, to get started, choose one of the two options.
You can choose one or both, but you should be familiar with two concepts: native development and cross-platform programming.
With native development, developers choose a platform and produce programs exclusively for that platform. If you are a native Android developer, you create native Android apps that only run on Android; similarly, if you are an iOS developer, you create native iOS apps that only work on iOS.
Cross-platform development is the term used to describe applications that are created once and can work on any platform, including Android and iOS.
After choosing the above options, one needs to learn the related programming languages.
Whether it’s software, website, or app development, there’s no way Python won’t go unused.
The increasingly popular programming language, known for its simple syntax and robust features, has earned a reputation among novices and professionals alike.
Python is used to program the back-ends of several important applications that we use daily, such as YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. We can see the power of Python by looking at the applications above, which are renowned for their popularity, efficiency, and security.
Other reasons to learn Python:
- Easy to read, learn and write codes
- It is an interpreted language
- Free and open-source
- Has extensive library support
- Python is flexible
Python is also widely used in various technology fields including machine learning, data analytics, and many more.
- As it is an interpreted language, the execution speed is immaculate
- The syntax structure is simple and easy to grasp
- It has several valuable frameworks such as jQuery, Angular, Vue and Svelte
Java is an approved language for Android application development. Therefore, to start your app developer journey, studying Java will likely not only help you quickly master app development, but also help you quickly understand other relevant languages.
Java has its own set of open source libraries, including a host of features and APIs that developers can easily integrate into their coding.
Other reasons to learn Java:
- Java is an object oriented language
- Java can run in various settings including virtual machines and browsers
- Code reusability and portability
- Strong memory management
Another advantage of mastering Java is its ubiquity. Since Java is a versatile programming language, it is also used in website and software development. By learning it, you can learn more than just app development and it can be useful in the long run if you need to change careers.
Kotlin is yet another official Android development language. This is thanks to its roots in Java. So yes, Kotlin is very similar to Java and can be considered a more advanced version of Java programming.
Kotlin enables developers to create more robust and complex mobile applications.
Other reasons to learn Kotlin:
- Writing programs in Kotlin means less robust code
- It is fully compatible with Java
- Developers can use Kotlin to build platform independent apps
- It has a simple and straightforward syntax
- Includes Android Toolkit and SDK
Kotlin could be a wonderful and accessible alternative for novices who find Java difficult.
Dart is a relatively new programming language compared to other languages that have been around for a long time.
It can be used on both front-end and back-end. The syntax is comparable to C, which makes it easy to learn.
Another distinctive aspect of Dart is that it is a programming language created especially for Android development by Google.
Other reasons to learn Dart:
- It has its own syntax
- It has a set of versatile tools to help with programming
- Dart is portable
- It is used by Flutter
- Can write and run code anywhere
Dart also allows developers to create web apps in addition to mobile apps.
Swift is a programming language designed specifically for designing and developing mobile apps, but only for iOS.
Created by tech giant Apple, Swift is a multi-paradigm, general-purpose, compiled programming language.
Prior to the introduction of Swift, the preferred and usual programming language for iOS application development was Objective C. The versatility and durability of Swift supplanted the need for Objective C.
Other reasons to learn Swift:
- It has a concise code structure
- It has efficient memory management
- Swift is fast to run
- It supports dynamic libraries
- It is compatible with C lens
As one of the most popular programming languages for iOS app developers, Swift allows users to learn and develop apps quickly and easily.
Although not exactly a preferred programming language for application development, C++ developers can expect to build robust applications.
C++ is used for creating Android apps and native app development. Mainly, using this programming language, games, cloud and banking applications are created.
Other reasons to learn C++:
- C++ is a multi-paradigm programming language
- C++ is an object-oriented programming language and includes classes, inheritance, polymorphism, data abstraction, and encapsulation
- Supports dynamic memory allocation
- C++ codes run faster
- It is a platform independent language
Since C++ apps can run on any platform, developers can use it to build cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.
Learn basic concepts
Having a solid understanding of the fundamentals is necessary to become a versatile application developer. Without mastering them, building complex applications will become tedious.
Here are some fundamentals in each programming language:
- Data structures
- Control structures
Choose a good programming course
It takes a mentor to grasp and understand the intricacies of a programming language or related profession.
Before choosing a course, make sure that this course is right for you. For example, if you’re a beginner, choose courses created for beginners that can give you a generous tech stack. On the other hand, if you already have adequate programming knowledge, you can either choose the beginners or opt for the intermediate ones.
Join the community
Each programming language has a dedicated community that is active with a large number of skilled developers. Joining such communities will help you keep up to date with the latest features and tactics of the language in question.
Some of the popular platforms for programming communities are:
- Stack overflow
- Reddit subreddits
For example, if you’re learning Python, join the Python community on one of the platforms above. The same goes for other programming languages.
Also, if you have any questions regarding errors in concepts, you can find answers in these communities because most of the doubts you face are not new.
Create mini apps
While learning app development, try to put your knowledge into practice during the learning period instead of waiting until the end of the course.
Try creating mini apps first. It can be as simple as a Hello World application that displays “hello world”. Then try switching to calculator, memo, weather forecast and many more.
Since programming is a skill that only develops through practice, it is essential to practice while learning.
When developing mini-projects, it is also common to encounter errors. Instead of relying on communities, try fixing errors on your own. This will improve your problem-solving ability, which is a great skill that every recruiter looks for in a developer.
Daragh Ó Tuama is Code Institute’s Head of Digital Content and Production. A version of this article previously appeared on the Code Institute Blog.
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