The many languages of mobile

When it comes to developing mobile applications, there are lots of programming languages and integrated development environments (IDE) to choose from. I’ve tried several of the options available, and here are some thoughts to help you choose the best ones for your business goals.

If you only want to target Apple iOS devices, then the combination of Objective C and Xcode will be your best option. Features of the robust Xcode IDE include:

  • A visual debugger
  • A visual UI designer
  • Device simulators

Though the syntax of Objective C is difficult to learn, there are plenty of built-in libraries that can help you handle media and core services.

If you want to target both Google Android and iOS devices, you may want to take a look at Corona. It’s actually not a programming language or IDE, but a framework for building interactive apps and games on mobile platforms. With Corona, you get:

  • Device simulators
  • Extensive libraries
  • Use of programming language Lua

While Lua isn’t my favorite programming language, anyone who has used scripting languages like JavaScript should have no problem picking it up. Corona’s biggest drawback is that there is no IDE, so there are no visual debuggers or nice UI designers; it’s just you and your favorite text.

Now that’s kicking it old school.

If learning Lua is not something have the time or need for, you can also develop apps using HTML5. Companies like appMobi and Rocket Engine have created frameworks for creating games and apps using HTML5 and HTML, which should run on just about any device that has a web browser. Like Corona, there is no IDE, visual debugger or UI designer. But at least the dev tools will be familiar.

When deciding which tools to use, start with your digital and business goals. Then make a list. Weigh the good with the bad to determine which option is best for what you are trying to achieve. That’s what we do here at Imaginuity Interactive, for a wide range of B2B and B2C clients.

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