How to develop a successful app? This is the dilemma of every mobile app owner. There are numerous decisions to make along the way. Choosing the right development approach and mobile technology stack are some of them.
Our tech-savvy generation is very hard to impress. The evolution and availability of technologies are birthing new varieties of superb mobile apps in today’s market. That’s why the competition in the mobile industry is very stiff.
Factually, the availability of various tech stacks has been instrumental in developing apps for enterprise solutions, entertainment, and other aspects of life in general. However, as mobile technology grows, we become more and more dependent on mobile applications. This is generally visible as apps have had up to 77 billion downloads in the first half of this year.
Combined global Apple App Store and Google Play app downloads in the 1st half of 2023 (in billions).
From the development point of view, different apps can be approached in different ways. Anyway, if you ask mobile app developers what development approach is the most preferable, most of them would say – native app development for Android and iOS.
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Let’s take a closer look at what Apple and Google offer as a native mobile technology stack for their platforms.
Native iOS App Development Technology Stack
Programming Languages: Objective-C and Swift
Objective-C is one of the high-level and object-oriented programming languages used for developing native applications for iOS. It is modeled like the C language and possesses a dynamic runtime environment. It was predominant in the development of iOS apps initially, before the inception of the Swift programming language.
Currently, Swift is the go-to choice for iOS development because it’s easier to work with, has safety features, and uses a modern syntax. As more developers switch to Swift, there’s less help and fewer updates available for Objective-C.
All the same, Objective-C is very well-preferred by some developers for projects of complexity and software engineering challenges. It operates with a more dynamic runtime compared to Swift. This means it can make decisions while the program is running, providing greater flexibility in certain situations.
Some other advantages of Objective-C include:
- Compatible with C++ and older iOS systems
- It’s well-tested
- Dynamic runtime, more flexible sometimes
- Simple and effective use of private APIs
Swift is a potent, user-friendly programming language crafted by Apple, primarily for developing apps on iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It thus seamlessly integrates with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks and can work harmoniously with the vast repository of pre-existing Objective-C code designed for Apple products.
Swift emphasizes safety in programming, boasting concise yet expressive syntax. It introduces modern concepts like “type inference,” “optionals,” and “closures,” which enhance code readability, ease of writing, and error prevention.
Additionally, Swift includes dynamic libraries. These libraries can be uploaded directly to memory, thereby slashing the size of apps developed and significantly increasing their performance.
The employment of Swift to develop apps for iOS simplifies the task of development, plus, maintenance is stress-free. It enhances code reusability, security, and readability, and operates as nearly the best technology stack for mobile apps in many cases.
So, advantages of Swift include:
- Operates very fast
- Compatible with Objective-C
- Functions with Cocoa Touch frameworks and Apple’s Cocoa
- Growing community support
Toolset: AppCode and Xcode
There are two major toolsets used for iOS app development: Xcode and AppCode.
AppCode is an IDE for Swift, Objective-C, C, and C++ development and comes as an alternative to Xcode. Some developers have put out the word that it enables faster coding than its rival Xcode. Nonetheless, it has a disadvantage. AppCode can only design interfaces with the use of written code, unlike Xcode.
Xcode is an Apple’s official IDE designed for macOS. It encompasses a comprehensive suite of software development tools tailored for creating applications on various mobile and desktop Apple platforms, including macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It works best for gaming apps.
Xcode is always up to date with the latest Apple releases. It is compatible with a list of programming languages such as C, C++, Python, Objective-C, Objective-C++, Java, AppleScript, Ruby, Rez, Swift, and so on.
Native Android App Development Technology Stack
Programming Languages: Java, Kotlin
Kotlin is a more recent programming language in comparison to Java. In any case, it’s an appropriate technology option for Android Studio that is fast becoming more stable. Purposefully, it is not just object-oriented but also an open-source programming language. Furthermore, it is more concise and modern than Java and supports higher-order functions.
Kotlin features a more streamlined syntax in contrast to Java, resulting in improved code legibility and a decreased probability of errors than other languages used to develop native Android apps.
Equally important, it is faster to code, clean, lightweight, and less verbose. Originally based on the Java Virtual Machine, interoperability with Java makes it possible for developers to combine codes from Java-based projects with Kotlin.
Kotlin also supports coroutines, which simplifies asynchronous programming.
Finally, Kotlin eliminates the danger of null references from code, which is a common issue in Java.
Benefits of Kotlin are:
- Null safety
- Concise and secure code
- Interoperability with Java
- Functions can be extended
- Coroutines and easier code maintenance
There is no debate that Java is said to be one of the most widely used programming languages. Without compromising, it is dominantly the most used class-based, object-oriented language for developing Android apps.
Java is ideal for mobile and web apps and big data, among others. On top of that, it is also famous for rich open-source tools and libraries that facilitate the easy and fast development of top-notch apps.
Top development speed and product quality are the most prominent advantages of Java. However, it has a downside of being comparatively slow and consuming memory space. Big players such as Google continuously work to make the Java language better. The main parts of the Android OS are programmed with Java.
Java remains a prevalent choice for Android development, but Google officially endorses Kotlin for its contemporary features and brevity. Typically, the selection between the two hinges on the project’s unique requirements and the team’s proficiency with the respective languages.
Further advantages of Java:
- Maturity and extensive ecosystem
- High performance
- Faster build times compared to Kotlin
- Huge community support with learning and problem-solving content
- Stable and excellent choice for long-term projects
For a native integrated development environment, Android Studio and Eclipse are the most favored software.
The Eclipse software development kit (SDK) is free, open-source mobile development software. Originating from IBM Visual and primarily coded in Java, its main purpose is for the development of Java applications.
Google has discontinued its official support for the Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin within Eclipse. Consequently, it may not remain synchronized with the most recent Android SDKs and toolsets. In contrast to Android Studio, Eclipse is often regarded as having a less contemporary and user-friendly interface.
The good news here is that developers can extend their use of Eclipse by coding plug-in modules specially for themselves, or by using other plug-ins as development toolkits.
Eclipse also lacks several Android-specific features and tools that are inherently integrated into the Studio, including the robust layout editor and APK Analyzer.
The integrated development environment from Google is called Android Studio. It comes with many built-in tools such as the Android Virtual Device for app testing, a rich layout editor for designing user interfaces, and APK Analyzer for inspecting APK files.
With such characteristics as flexible development and an immediate build/deploy system, the environment enables the making of unique, high-quality native Android applications.
Notably, there is a major difference if compared to Xcode, which functions specifically for Mac OS. The Studio works with other PC operating systems. Also, this environment has first-class support for Kotlin, the preferred language for native app development for Android.
While Eclipse can still be used for Android development, Android Studio is generally recommended due to its official support from Google and its comprehensive set of Android-specific tools and features.
SDK: Android SDK and Developer Tools
If you desire the latest features in mobile applications, then there is a need for your developers to install the latest Android SDK for every type of device. Similarly, Android SDK components can be downloaded independently, the same applies to third-party add-ons.
The Android Developer Tools (ADT) upholds development by giving coding support for native Android applications. In like manner, there is a provision for a graphical builder for UI, emulators, tools for debugging, and well-scriptable test automation support.
It is Time to Walk the Walk
For you as a product owner to create a reputable brand of mobile application, deliver exciting user experiences, and be of greater value to a user’s life, the most appropriate technology stack for mobile application should be on standby. Correspondingly, adequate analysis and technically sound decisions are essential to fashion out a perfect, yet cost-effective user-side and server-side, with no compromise to scalability, efficiency, security, and other factors.
Are you a new business startup, an established business owner, or a product manager? Do you want to create, tweak, or manage an app? The Velvetech team is willing to see you through this process. Our well-skilled and experienced mobile development team can successfully facilitate your app production process from scratch and bring it to a significant product release. Check out our mobile development services and contact us today for a consultation.