Are you interested in getting into mobile app development? The first question that you encounter would probably be whether to develop for Android or iOS apps. In this article, I’ll compare some of the factors involved in the development of Android and iOS applications from a programmer’s perspective.
The first factor to consider in mobile app development are programming languages used. Android applications are natively created through Java while iOS is created through Objective-C and Swift. I would consider Java and Swift as equal counterparts with the same difficulty of learning though Java has a little bit of an edge with its deep libraries.
That was only for native development. Now, with the rise of Cross-Platform development, developers can create applications using one language, C#. Xamarin has made it possible to create an App for two development platforms by learning just a single language. However, if you want to develop iOS applications you will still need a MAC.
For this comparison, I’ll use Xamarin as a standpoint to begin both systems on the same ground. Developing in Xamarin for both Android and iOS is pretty much the same but testing process is where the difference appears. Emulators are used for development in order to tests applications without needing to have the physical device with you. In terms of speed, iOS emulators win hands down. They are extremely responsive and smooth compared to Android which gets clunky and laggy sometimes.
There is a wide variety of emulators with different OS versions to be considered depending on your needs. All of them have inconsistent speeds while iOS only needs one emulator that can invoke the appropriate model you need for testing.
Android emulators are more developer friendly as they allow more accessibility for the user while the iOS emulators are somewhat limiting in the features you can access. Android allows for a deeper testing capability while iOS has smoother interaction allowing you to see changes faster. Both iOS and Android are well documented so you will have no trouble looking for source code to use for your mobile app development code.
Android has a $25 registration fee to create a developer account allowing you to publish on the Google Play store. In my experience, deployment usually takes from 3 hours to 2 days at most.
Registration for iOS requires you to make an account on iTunes Connect and pay a registration fee of $99. The applications are first submit for approval which could delay your deployment onto the store. The Apple testers will take around 1-2 weeks and can even span longer at times. I suggest following Apple’s design guidelines when creating your app in order to avoid possible submission denials which will only further delay your mobile app deployment.
So, which is better? iOS or Android?
Android and iOS both have their strong points. If you are a new developer, I encourage you to try out either of them to get a feel of which one you like. As a programmer you’ll probably have the same experience and it all comes down to what you already know and where you want to go with your mobile app development. Android leads in excluded market share, however iOS wins in App Revenue.
Mobile app development at the start is a hard road to follow, but as you get used to the tracks and bumps, development will be a great adventure for you as you discover new possibilities. From a programmer’s perspective, Android vs iOS is just a matter of perseverance and mettle to make your ideas reality. If you need more tips on how to get started, check out this article on Mobile App Development Basics.