Top 6 Backend Languages For Mobile App Development

  • By Ethan Hunt
  • 20-07-2021
  • Mobile App Development
language for mobile app

Mobile applications are the best way to give a digital edge to your business or to build a business from scratch. To develop a great mobile app, you must have good knowledge about the programming languages that must be scalable, easy to understand and learn, and futuristic.

In today’s technically-driven world, the use of mobile apps is increasing at a rapid rate and so is the need for learning programming languages, which are the heart of mobile applications. In this article, we are going to brief you about the backend programming languages for mobile app development.

What is a backend programming language?

A backend programming language is required to make the mobile apps function along with several other technologies and tools like frameworks, databases, web servers, etc. In simpler words, a backend programming language is responsible for handling the unseen functionality of web and mobile applications.

There are various backend development languages that a developer or programmer can use for Native and Cross-Platform mobile app developments. For example, Objective-C can be used for Native iOS apps development, Kotlin for Android apps development, and JavaScript for Cross-Platform apps development. Now, we will brief you about the types of backend programming languages.

Types of backend programming languages

Backend development languages are of two types; object-oriented programming (OOP), and Scripting programming.

Object-Oriented Programming Language

OOP is the technique that emphasizes the creation of objects. Using an object-oriented programming language, the statements are executed in a defined particular order. These languages are considered better for catching errors. A few examples of OOP languages are Python, C#, and Java.

Scripting Programming Language

A Scripting Language is often known as Script Language is a programming language used for a runtime system that allows automatic execution of the tasks instead of performing them individually by humans. Scripting Programming Languages are very high-level programming languages because sometimes they tend to operate at a high level of abstraction. A few examples of Scripting Programming Languages are Python, PHP, etc.

Let’s move to the core topic of this article, which will help you in picking up the best backend programming language as per the requirements of your mobile application.

Top 6 backend programming languages

Now, let’s have a look at a few popular backend programming languages used for developing great mobile applications.

Popular backend programming language for Native iOS app development

1. Objective-C

Objective-C is an object-oriented programming language, which is a superset of ‘C’ - one of the earliest computer programming languages developed by Tom Love and Brad Cox in 1980. Objective-C is one of the most popular and stable general-purpose languages used by Apple for developing their native iOS apps and macOS.

A number of successful applications have been developed using Objective-C as it is one of the most dynamic languages and you can choose between static and dynamic typing. It also allows you to access mock objects and private APIs at runtime.

The source code implementation program files of Objective-C have ‘.m’ filename extensions, however, the interface/header files of Objective-C have ‘.h’ extensions. Apple uses Xcode, which is their Internal Development Environment (IDE) to develop software for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and iPadOS. Xcode was created by merging Project Builder and Interface Builder, which were the developer and interface design tools respectively, used earlier by Apple.

The object syntax of Objective-C language is derived from Smalltalk, which is a dynamically typed, object-oriented reflective programming language. In simpler words, the syntax of Objective-C includes the implementation of Smalltalk-style messaging. For example, if we are sending the message ‘try’ to the object pointed to by the obj pointer, the syntax would be:
[ obj try: argument ];

Pros and cons of Objective-C

Pros of Objective-C

1. One of the most popular and reputed programming languages.

2. It is a stable language.

3. It allows the use of private APIs.

4. It is compatible with C++.

Cons of Objective-C

1. It is a complex programming language, hence hard to learn.

2. It has limited functionality.

3. It is not very secure.

4. It involves a very complicated syntax.

2. Swift

Swift has been one of the most widely used programming languages for developing native iOS applications, since its release in 2014. According to Apple, the goal for Swift language is “ total and complete world dominance “. The Apple App Store has a very large number of apps written in Swift language including Lyft, Airbnb, Uber, and many more.

If you are looking to learn the best backend programming language for iOS, Swift would be one of the available options for you. As a beginner, this language is very easy to understand and learn as it is designed to be user-friendly. It allows you to access its in-built design features to provide you with real-time feedback. This would help you in keeping the code clean and minimizing the errors.

Swift programming language helps the developer or programmer transform complex code. Another reason for the rising popularity of the Swift language is that it provides several in-built tools that help the new developers in the easy development of the applications.

Pros and cons of Swift

Pros of Swift

1. It allows you to maintain and read code easily.

2. It is compatible with the Objective-C programming language.

3. It is less prone to errors.

4. It also offers dynamic library linking.

5. It delivers high-quality and improved performance.

Cons of Swift

1. It has limited tools and designs.

2. Memory exhaustion is an issue.

3. Lack of support for earlier iOS versions.

4. Hard to find the appropriate tools required in certain tasks due to frequent updates.

Popular backend programming language for Native Android app development

3. Java

Java remains one of the best backend programming languages for developing native Android apps over the years. Because no matter how famous Kotlin is, developers are still comfortable with Java. In the world of technology where the new entrant replaces the old one very quickly, Java is still an unbeaten programming language. Java is an object-oriented programming language that works on the principle “Write Once Run Anywhere”, which means you can execute the compiled Java code on multiple platforms that support Java without recompiling the code.

Java programming language is very helpful for new developers or programmers because it is very easy to learn and understand. It also allows you to access wide-reaching community support. There are millions of successful mobile apps that have been developed using Java including the Android operating system itself. A few examples of popular mobile apps developed using Java are Twitter, Spotify, etc.

Java language is very advantageous as it offers a variety of features including one of the easiest and simplest coding, which is not very common in most of the backend programming languages for mobile app development. As Java is object-oriented programming, it offers better handling of the complexity of real-world apps. One of the major advantages of Java is the availability to access Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that behaves like a middle layer and can run the code on any computer irrespective of where that code was originally compiled.

Pros and cons of Java

Pros of Java

1. It is a high-level programming language.

2. Maintenance is less costly.

3. It is more secure.

4. It is a stable language with automatic memory management.

5. Portable, efficient, and simple to learn and understand.

Cons of Java

1. No attractive looks.

2. Architecture code is inefficient.

3. JVM implementation involves bugs.

4. Java is slow with no generic programs.

5. Java also involves paid commercial license.

4. Kotlin

Kotlin is another most widely used backend programming language used by Android app developers. It is then a refined and improved form of Java and the most lovable programming language among developers because of its simple setup and ease of use. It is an open-source developing language and according to the tech giant Google, Kotlin is 100% top-class programming language for Android development.

Kotlin is one of the cleanest, easiest, and statically typed programming languages used to develop mobile applications. Kotlin is completely interoperable with Java, which means, if you have already written some code in Java, you can easily use Kotlin in other parts of your application without affecting any other factors.

Kotlin is very helpful, extremely easy, and offers you a great learning experience if you are a beginner and thinking of diving into the ocean of mobile app development. Also, Kotlin offers you a large community along with a Kotlin Slack Group that helps you to get your queries solved by getting answers from very renowned developers who are always happy to help you.

Kotlin offers a wide range of features that a developer or programmer always needs including an in-built mutability/immutability system, a secure Nullability system, easily accessible stream operators, and more to develop great mobile applications.

Pros and cons of Kotlin

Pros of Kotlin

1. It maximizes productivity.

2. Can be compiled with the existing Java code.

3. It offers easy maintenance.

4. Kotlin is programmer-friendly due to its compact and clean codebase.

5. It is one of the most reliable backend programming languages.

Cons of Kotlin

1. Slightly increased build time.

2. A Lesser number of professional developers are available with deep knowledge of Kotlin.

3. It is hard to use the power of functional programming as most of the developers come from Object-Oriented Programming.

Popular backend programming language for Cross-Platform app development

4. PHP

PHP is an acronym used for ‘Hypertext Preprocessor, which is another most widely-used general-purpose scripting language for web and mobile app development. It is an open-source programming language, which is executed on the server and the results are returned to the browser as plain HTML.

The code of PHP programming language is enclosed in special ‘start and end processing instructions, <? PHP and ?>’, which allows the developers to switch in and out of the ‘PHP mode’. Although PHP is a simple programming language for a beginner to learn, it offers a variety of advanced features that can be accessed by a professional developer or programmer.

PHP is a loosely coupled language and does not depend on the data type, which is considered as one of the main features of the language. In PHP developing languages, the ‘Integers’ and ‘Floating point numbers are stored in a platform-dependent range. A PHP file can contain text, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and PHP code. PHP files have “.php” extensions.

PHP can be run on multiple platforms like macOS X, Linux, Windows, Unix, etc., and is compatible with most of today's servers such as IIS, Apache, etc. This language helps developers to generate the dynamic page content. It also allows you to delete, modify, or add data to your database. PHP is also used to encrypt the data.

Pros and cons of PHP

Pros of PHP

1. The advanced features and tools provided by the PHP frameworks help the developers to speed up the development of custom web apps.

2. It simplifies the maintenance of mobile apps.

3. Developers do not need to write the additional code.

4. It works with databases with more efficiency.

5. PHP offers better security.

Cons of PHP

1. Developers are needed to learn the PHP frameworks instead of the PHP language itself.

2. A few options are available for modification in the core behavior of the PHP frameworks.

3. The performance and speed of the mobile apps are affected.

6. Python

Python is one of the most famous general-purpose programming languages in the world of application development. It is a high-level interpreted language developed by Guido Van Rossum and released in 1991. It is easy to learn for new developers and involves high-level data structures. Python is considered to be an ideal language for developing various applications for most platforms because of its interpreted nature, dynamic typing, and elegant syntax.

A developer or programmer can freely access the standard library and Python interpreter in binary or source form for most of the platforms from python. The website also offers various third-party Python modules, programs, tools, etc. You can also extend the Python interpreter with new data types and functions implemented in ‘C++’ or ‘C’.

Python is a powerful programming language and can be used for creating workflows, connecting to database systems, reading and modifying files, handling big data, and performing complex mathematics. Python also allows you to work on various platforms including Mac, Windows, Raspberry, Linux, and more.

One of the most widely-used frameworks of Python is Django. Django is an open-source, high-level framework used for mobile app development. Django possesses a variety of features including rapid development, clean design, and more. Django also offers better security as it helps the developers to avoid several common security mistakes. It is also flexible and scalable.

Pros and cons of Python

Pros of Python

1. It is open-source, free, and portable.

2. Easy to learn and use.

3. It offers improved productivity.

4. Allows developers to access massive libraries.

5. Python can be integrated easily.

Cons of Python

1. Python involves the inefficient consumption of memory.

2. Accessing databases is quite difficult.

3. It offers designs with restrictions.

4. It is weak in mobile computing.

As we have discussed some of the most worthwhile and popular backend programming languages for mobile app development out of dozens that you can consider. However, before choosing any specific language, you must consider the requirements and goals of your project. Happy Coding!

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Ethan Hunt

Hi, I'm Ethan Hunt a Tech blogger in Fremont, CA. I enjoyed writing about every tech-related category! To write an article as I believe that my ideas will resonate deeply with your audience and give very valuable information, and a fresh point of view on the subject.

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