Mobile phones are the one piece of technology on which we spend the majority of our waking hours. And there are apps available for almost every conceivable need. But have you ever wondered how these mobile apps are made?
In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the world of mobile app development and learn how to make your mobile apps. We'll also discuss the best ways to make mobile apps in 2023.
Mobile apps are broadly divided into two categories.
1. Native Apps
2. Cross-Platform Apps
These mobile applications are created especially for certain operating systems, such as iOS or Android. Therefore, an Android app can only be used within the Android environment. For the same reason, we cannot run mobile applications on desktops or laptops because those devices lack the necessary infrastructure.
Originally, Java was used to create native Android apps, but Kotlin has since supplanted Java as the main language for creating Android apps. Kotlin was designated as the official language for Android apps by Google, the company that created the Android OS itself. Additionally, native Android development is well-liked and widely used in the industry thanks to the Jetpack Compose feature for creating seamless user interfaces.
Native iOS apps are best built using Swift, the programming language created by Apple to build apps for all their operating systems, including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, TVOS, and watchOS. As these apps can only be created in the iOS environment, which requires Apple devices, creating apps for iOS as a beginner may be challenging.
You might be asking yourself, "What if I want to create apps that serve both types of users simultaneously—apps for both Android and iOS?" Cross-platform applications are used for that purpose.
Cross-Platform Mobile Apps
As the name implies, once developed, these apps are simple to run across various operating systems. A cross-platform app allows for the sharing of some, if not all, of the source code between platforms like Android and iOS. Developers only need to code mobile assets once as a result. These assets won't need to be re-coded for each different platform because they will function flawlessly on all of them.
Many languages and frameworks can be used to create cross-platform mobile applications, but some of the most popular ones are
Flutter: Flutter is an open-source, cross-platform framework. Created by Google, Flutter uses the Dart programming language. It is suitable for building many kinds of cross-platform apps that look native on multiple mobile platforms.
Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile: Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is an SDK developed by JetBrains for creating Android and iOS applications. It allows you to share common code between the two platforms and write platform-specific code only when it's necessary, for example, when you need to build native UI components or when you are working with platform-specific APIs.
There are many other frameworks and languages present to build cross-platform applications, but above mentioned are mostly used.
Now you might be thinking,
Why are we still using native development when cross-platform languages and frameworks exist?
Efficiency is the main reason for this problem. Native apps are significantly more optimized and memory-efficient in every way possible because they are only created for specific operating systems. Native apps are more optimized, provide a better user experience, and can utilize all of the features and capabilities of the device.
That said, advancements in development frameworks and technologies are assisting in resolving these problems with cross-platform applications. Cross-platform applications like Google Pay, Reflectly, and many others demonstrate that they are reliable as well. In the near future, we might be using only cross-platform apps everywhere.
Starting your journey to be a mobile app developer
Now, as a beginner, you might be perplexed about where to learn these things and how to begin your mobile app development journey.
Although there are many different ways to create mobile apps, their core concepts remain constant. You will learn these fundamentals whether you choose the native or cross-development approach. So, picking any of the routes is entirely up to the individual. One may prefer native apps because they are more device-optimized, or one may prefer cross-platform apps because they can serve multiple audiences simultaneously. Your decision is yours. It is more crucial to start your educational journey with some of the top tutorials and documentation offered by these language creators and maintainers.