If you start looking into it or have already been researching on ways to learn mobile app development, you come to find out that there is a wide variety of options and decisions you have to make regarding how to learn Mobile App Development. I wrote this guide to help you get started in hopes that it will save you some time and get you coding your own mobile applications faster.
The Many Paths to Learning Mobile App Development
As I mentioned above, there are many different options when it comes to learning mobile app development. Here are just some of the decisions that you will have to make when first getting started with the development of mobile applications:
- Android, IOS or Cross-Platorm – Do you start out learning to program for Android, IOS or both? What about other Operating Systems? Well the truth is, there really isn’t any other significant Operating Systems, Android and IOS hold about 98% of the market share right now. Worldwide, Android holds 75.22% of the market, while IOS controls 22.76% for a combined market share of 97.98%. So are we worried about the missing 2%? No, not as beginning developers breaking into the market, we’re not. The ratio of Android to IOS users varies significantly from country to country, so if you want to learn more about individual countries, you can go to https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share and read all about it. U.S. market share is a little bit unclear since I’ve read reports for the end of 2018 that put Android on top and conflicting reports that put IOS on top, so lets just say it’s roughly 50/50 in the U.S. IOS usage is higher in countries with better economies. As most people know, iPhones do not come cheap! I just read online that the new iPhone XS is selling for over $1500 dollars! That is much more than I ever care to pay for a phone, but it is impressive with 512gb storage and 4gb of ram. That’s almost as powerful as the laptop I use, amazing! In my opinion, that’s more than most of us need though. There are times when it would be nice, but most of the time I don’t think we need that much power in our cell phones. Surely not the average user at least. So, all arguments aside, Android is the clear winner to me because they have the largest market share world-wide and all of the multi-platform method of mobile app development I’ve seen and tested so far have not been good enough to build commercial applications with yet. So i think you should either pick Android or IOS to start with and eventually learn to develop for both since there is no viable cross-platform option available yet that I’ve seen.
- What IDE, Framework or coding platform do you use? This question is heavily reliant upon the previous question because it mostly depends on what Operating System you have chosen to develop for. In my case, I’ve chosen to develop for Android first, so after checking out most available options, I’ve decided to go with Android Studio. I selected Android studio because it seems to be the most intuitive and it is very well documented. There’s nothing worse than downloading a new program and finding out that there is hardly any documentation on the web regarding how to operate that program. You won’t have that issue with Android Studio. It came out in May of 2013, so it’s been around for over 6 years now and has built quite the reputation in that short amount of time. I don’t think any of the choices available today are going to have been around for anymore than ten years or so just because the technology is so new. I did try a few other IDEs first and Android Studio was the one that I was able to build a working app the fastest on and it didn’t leave me scratching my head and thinking “Wow, I created an app, but I have no idea how I did it” as some of the other IDE options left me thinking. It’s also important to note here, I feel, that I have no reason to endorse any of the decisions I’ve made in this guide. No one paid me to write this and I do not endorse any products unless I truly think they are the best, but I have not been paid by anyone to endorse anything. So, if I say something is the best, I truly believe it is the best option. It’s as simple as that. That’s hard to believe sometimes in today’s fast paced economy, but it still holds true with me.
- What coding languages do you learn? Again, this answer is dependent on how you answered both of the questions above, so my choice will only be relevant to your situation if you also choose to develop for Android. The official language for Android development is Java. There is also Kotlin for Android Studio users. Kotlin apps will run on any machine that supports the Java runtime environment and because most machines can, Kotlin is a relatively easy way to create android applications. If you chose to go with IOS on the other hand, Objective-C and Swift are the two most commonly used programming languages for IOS app development. My first choice was Java because it’s been around the longest for use with Android and seems to be the most documented of the two. Kotlin is newer and may have some neat new features, but for now, I’m going with old reliable…
Okay, so that about covers it, the three bullet points above cover the three most important questions you have to ask yourself when you first get into mobile application development. I took my time making the decisions I made to go with Android Studio IDE and the Java programming language to start building mobile apps with, but I can also learn the alternative methods after I perfect these Android application development methods. A true developer is always learning. They say you will need to know about seven different programming languages to be an expert mobile application developer. That sounds about right to me because that’s how many languages I had to learn to be an effective web developer. Speaking of which, I did look into using the languages I already know as a web developer for mobile application development. While there are platforms that make it possible, such as Cordova, in the end they are mostly using techniques to convert the code you write into Java anyway, so I figure it’s faster and more productive in the end to just start learning Java for Android Mobile Application Development. I may look into ways to convert my Java Apps into IOS apps when I am done making some mobile apps with Android Studio, but I suspect I will eventually learn to develop separate apps for IOS in the end.