Android 101: Java or Python. What's best for Android apps?

  • Posted by:

    Michael

    • June 12, 2018

    Android 101: Java or Python. What's best for Android apps?

There are numerous factors that need to be considered when creating a mobile application on the Android platform, from the early stages of development to final deployment. But if you want to learn how to create an Android app, you’ll first need to decide which programming language you’d like to utilize. Two of the most popular options are Java and Python, and each offers distinct advantages for Android app developers.    

Therefore, for beginners and experienced programmers alike, it can be an arduous task selecting between Java and Python. The following article aims to help you navigate toward the programming language that is optimal for you and your mobile app development process.

The Advantages of Java

Popular since the ’90s, Java is the most established programming language in the world of computer science. As a result, Java has the incredibly strong support of an expansive community, making it easy to seek out valuable information and advice from other programmers. For instance, the online developer community Stack Overflow is brimming with helpful knowledge regarding Java

Java is the primary option for developing native applications on the Android platform. It manages to fuse the powerful features of the classic C and C++ programming languages, while also managing to eliminate many of the drawbacks of the two. Not only is Java easy to learn and understand, it’s also structured to be platform-independent and secure.

For Android app developers, Java also offers a huge collection of open-source libraries, which ultimately helps developers reduce development time and the lines of codes they’ll need to script. These libraries include Apache Commons, Google Guava, JUnit and other powerful development tools that make this complex language more accessible and easier to use. The Android SDK offers standard Java libraries that handle data structuring, math, graphics, networking and more.

The Advantages of Python

While Java is considered by many to be the darling of Android app development languages, you can also achieve incredible results with Python. One benefit of this programming language is that it enables quicker turnaround times, and this is true for a handful of reasons. 

Unlike Java, Python requires almost no setup, as the environment already exists on both Linux machines and Macs. Thus, Android app developers can start the development process simply by typing “python” at the prompt. For the inexperienced programmer, Python is also much easier to learn than Java. The fact that it’s more succinct makes Python easier to memorize, which speeds up the app development process. 

Another major advantage of using Python for Android app development is that it uses dynamic typing instead of static typing. This allows developers to change the type of a variable during the development process, while Java requires these variables to be defined when they are first declared, making them unalterable from that point on. With Python, programmers are able to mix object-oriented and imperative programming, permitting an app developer to run the code in a more direct manner.

Conclusion: Which Programming Language Should You Learn?

At the end of the day, the decision between using Java or Python is wholly dependent on the developer’s programming experience and the requirements of the Android app. Since Python is more succinct, novice developers will be able to grasp this programming language faster than they would Java. On the other hand, Java is more ingrained into the Android app development ecosystem, and has a more expansive community and libraries. 

There’s no universally accepted winner in this race. If you have computer science and programming experience already, you will most likely benefit from scripting your app in Java. However, if you don’t have experience in this field, Python will be easier to learn and still deliver a flexible platform for app development. Of course, in a perfect world, the best option would be to know both Java and Python, as versatility is king when it comes to the ever-changing world of Android app development.

ABOUT OUR GUEST AUTHOR

Michael is a professional tech writer and content strategist with an app development background. He specializes in Android & iOS app design, as well as blockchain & app technology.
Ever since he was a child, Michael was captivated by technology. When the opportunity arose to spend his life writing about it, Michael didn’t hesitate. He now spends his time exploring and writing about captivating new technologies to introduce to the people.

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