Over 70% of the devices run on Android as of July 2021. And do you know how often we check our smartphones? A staggering 86 times on an average per day. Why do we check back our smartphones so frequently? Because of the apps residing on our devices to which we are so addicted, such as Instagram, Linkedin, Uber, Minecraft, WhatsApp, Netflix, Quora, Twitter, Youtube, etc. But are these apps unique to Android or Hybrid apps? What is Android app development? What programming languages are used for developing android apps that you see in the Google play store?
We will see the answers to all these questions in this blog today, although, the answers are not pretty straightforward. Some top four or five programming languages are frequently used for developing native Android apps. However, among the most commonly used ones, is Java. So, what role does Java play in Android development? What are native Android apps and Hybrid apps? Let’s get the answers to all these questions going forward.
To access the websites, all you need is the URL that you enter in the browser, and the website loads for you. What the developers need to worry about is the browser behavior for that website which they sort out during the testing process.
However, the apps are different. The users need to go to the App Store in case of iOS or visit the Google play store for the Android platform. You need to acquire specific skills for developing native apps for Android, Windows, or iOS. The developers need to master Android development using Kotlin, Java, or C++, etc, or iOS app development using Objective-C or Swift.
In the case of Android apps, the developers make use of the Android SDK, the Android Studio, Firebase, a full-fledged mobile development platform, and other third-party tools that help in Android app development.
Native Android apps are applications developed specifically for the Android platform. It essentially means that the native Android apps will not run on iOS and vice-versa. Native apps are more secure as the data is stored on the physical devices where they reside. It proofs the data from cybercrimes.
The native apps can make use of the camera, GPS, and other Android-specific apps efficiently as they are coded in either the same programming language or Android-supported programming language like the native apps. Hence, the overall efficiency and performance of the native Android apps are greatly improved.
However, the fact remains that the companies and consumers largely prefer hybrid apps due to a few reasons. The preference is majorly attributed to the expensive native Android apps development and the lack of flexibility the native Android apps offer. Nevertheless, the native Android apps are highly popular and occupy a unique place in the mobile application development arena.
Java is one of the official languages for native Android app development. However, Google has decided to go, Kotlin-first where Android development is concerned. Android Studio’s support for Java programming language, high-security features amplify the Java adoption for native android app developers.
But, the flip side is Java poses to be a complex programming language to learn for beginners with its concepts like constructors, lack of null safety, exceptions handling, etc. However, the massive community support eases the native Android development using Java to a great extent. Moreover, any app performance issues are also handled by the Java community.
C++ and C# are the other programming languages used for Android app development.
This is one of the common questions, the non-Android app developers usually have. Java syntax and methods in Android Java and Java are exactly the same. However, Android development needs a Software Development Kit (SDK) which has specific classes for app development like click events and UIs, etc.
Now that there is a choice between Java and Kotlin for native Android app development, which programming language is more suggested for beginners? Is there some ambiguity regarding which language should the beginners consider if they get serious about their career in native Android app development, in 2021?
So here’s the take.
Kotlin is the preferred choice by Google for Android development. What’s more, Google is into developing libraries, tools, documentation, and learning resources with the Kotlin-first approach. Furthermore, Google is rigorously looking to develop many Android Jetpacks using Kotlin. Kotlin will be the go-to language for Android app development going forward. Period.
Does this mean Java is obsolete for native Android app development?
Java is still 100% supported by Google for Android development. A majority of Android apps developed recently are using a mix of both Java and Kotlin. Also, there is a meager chance that Android’s support for Java will stop anytime soon with Android OS itself built on Java Virtual Machine.
Better productivity, improved features, most importantly, Google support are the reasons to choose Kotlin over Java. However, if you look at the community support, speed, performance, Java takes the lead.
Then what about the jobs? Which is a more desirable skill in 2021, Java or Kotlin?
Kotlin is becoming increasingly desirable in 2021, hands down. However, the current demand is more balanced for Java and Kotlin if you look at the immediate requirements. While there are over 12,000 job postings for Java Android developers, the number is more or less similar for Kotlin Android developers as well.
If we collate all the information, here’s what we conclude. Our advice for beginners from CodeTru is to learn Kotlin as it is trending in terms of jobs, applications, or where recent development is concerned. However, in the longer run, learning Java also is suggested. If you are already adept or possess the basic Java knowledge, then learning Kotlin makes all the more sense in the given scenario.