Nowadays, the number of mobile users is rapidly growing. The significant traffic is driven by internet penetration and partial displacement of televisions and computers with telephones that provide convenient and constant access to information.
According to Statista, the number of smartphone users worldwide today is six billion and is predicted to grow by several hundred million in the next few years. That's why there is a need to use new technologies for mobile application development. This article observes the best tech stack for mobile app development in 2024 that you can consider for building your app.
What is the technology stack for mobile app development?
The mobile app development tech stack is a set of technologies that are used to build and run a mobile application. This concept includes frameworks, programming languages, UX/UI design tools, and other instruments that are required for mobile app development. This technology stack for mobile must meet the requirements of building an app and the type of future product.
Sometimes companies need help creating a mobile app, such as a lack of resources and platforms, wrong estimation and development directions, and poor user experience.
Choosing the best tech stack guarantees the scale, security, and efficiency of application development. Also, app technology affects the speed of entering the general market and the development cost. To develop a reliable mobile application for your business, you need to consult with professionals.
Conforming to Zippia research, 38% of users will stop interacting with a poorly and inconveniently designed mobile app. Therefore, we highlight the best tech stack for mobile app development in 2024. Let's find out the difference between each component of it.
4 Elements of tech stack for mobile applications
We can divide tech stack for mobile app development into four categories:
Back-end. Software development stores and organizes data and ensures everything on the client side actually works. For example, customers log into an account or shop online. In fact, the back-end responds to user requests, accesses the database and executes the create/read/update/delete operations.
Front-end. Development technologies that can help you with building the interface for interaction with your users. The mobile app's layout includes the interface developers' products, such as buttons, animations, hush function, business logic, and links. Thus, a mobile app's back-end handles the server-side code and the database.
Platform. A mobile platform such as iOS or Android provides the operating system and development tools to build and run the app. This might include technologies like iOS SDK or Android SDK and programming languages such as Objective-C, Swift, Java, or Kotlin.
Hosting. Hosting ensures that server-side code runs and provides the application to users. This hosting environment includes Linux, Apache, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
These critical steps determine the application's features, programming languages, tools, and the team you work with.
Is there a big difference between the tech stack for iOS and Android apps?
Android and iOS are the most popular mobile operating systems worldwide. Also, Windows, Tizen, and BlackBerry OS are considered standard.
Based on Statista’s data, Android is the leading mobile operating system worldwide in November 2022, which controls the mobile OS market with a 71% share, while iOS accounts for about 28% of the mobile operating system market.
It is essential to highlight that there are different mobile applications, such as native and hybrid (or cross-platform) mobile apps. A native app is a software program that is used on a particular platform or device.
It has excellent functionality and high user experience, but the development of native apps takes a long time and has a higher price compared with hybrid apps. That is why native mobile app development requires specific technology stacks and specialists for the development process.
Hybrid apps, at the same time, combine elements of both native apps and web apps. Simply put, it is developed with technologies that give apps cross-platform functionality.
The most famous examples of native apps are Uber, Instagram, Twitter, and Gmail. It is cost-effective, faster, and easier to build hybrid apps. However, they have such drawbacks as test complexity and lower performance.
Consequently, each type of mobile app requires unique programming languages, tools, and technologies for mobile development and maintenance processes. Let's explore them in more detail below.
Technology stack for Android apps
As already mentioned Android mobile applications have a larger share than iOS, so let’s first consider the tech stack for the Android apps.
Programming languages for Android apps
There are many different languages for different types of mobile application development. The choice of one or another language depends on the particular kind of app you want to develop. The most popular Android programming languages are Java and Kotlin.
Java is the most popular for Android app development because it’s an object-oriented programming language that allows more straightforward problem-solving using a modular structure. The most valuable benefits of using Java for mobile app development are widespread popularity, security, robustness, numerous features that affect app performance, such as Just-In-Time compilation, and community support.
Kotlin is a statically typed programming language that enables developers to compile code to Java. It is fully compatible with Java virtual machine (JVM), so you can use Java frameworks for developing the app. One of the main benefits of using this programming language is faster compilation time. However, Kotlin is still an evolving language. Therefore, there are still configuration issues and limitations to supporting new Android app development devices.
|Null pointer exception
|Support for complex architecture
|Uber, Airbnb, Amazon
|Udemy, Trivago, Plaid
Development tools for Android mobile apps
A development tool is a program used by software developers to build, test, maintain or support other programs and apps. Before choosing a mobile app technology, you have to analyze the features and requirements of the future mobile application and choose the best technology stack that meets your business's functional requirements.
These tools are also divided into two groups: for Android and iOS mobile app development.
Development tools for Android mobile apps:
Android Studio provides app builders with an integrated development environment optimized for Android apps. This Android tech stack is an open source for mobile app development that offers such features as visual layout editor, fast emulator, smart code editor and templates. Android Studio is a platform that helps with building an Android app with the latest features.
Android Software Development Kit (Android SDK) includes various components that can be downloaded separately. For example, the Android SDK uses code samples, libraries, multiple types of documentation, and guides to create Android applications. Moreover, the Android SDK allows you to add a 2GIS map to your Android app. Therefore, you can use it to add unique markers, estimate routes, and get information about map objects.
By the way, these tools are actively used by large companies. Do you want to know which companies? Here are some examples.
UI frameworks for Android mobile apps
What do we know about the UI framework (or user interface framework)? It is the software that defines a structure for user interfaces. It is a system that allows building and modifying UI components. Developers can use UI frameworks to create user interfaces for mobile applications on Android or iOS devices.
UI frameworks for Android mobile apps:
Android UI has templates for faster building user interfaces. This Android tech stack provides action bars and content areas: view control, content area, main action bar, and split action bar.
Jetpack Compose is a framework that helps to create the UI. The main benefits of using this tech stack are simpler code, powerful tools, and intuitive Kotlin APIs. This modern toolkit for building native apps has a simple UI for Android development. Jetpack Compose can quickly bring your app to life without extended code, using appropriate tools and intuitive Kotlin APIs.
Jetpack Compose UI app development toolkit is an intuitive and powerful UI framework. To make sure of this, let's watch the following video.
Technology stack for iOS apps
Mobile tech stacks are like the backbone of the app that makes the platform user-friendly that helps in making the product popular among the users. Now, let’s discuss in a detailed manner the technology stacks to be used in iOS mobile app development.
Programming languages for iOS apps
Objective-C and Swift are the most common programming languages that are used for iOS app development. Each has features and can provide mobile app development according to your business needs.
Objective-С was once the primary programming language for building iOS apps. It is strict, complex, and has good data protection features. It is also compatible with various Apple platforms like iPhone, Mac computers, Apple TVs, and iPads.
However, Objective-C is considered relatively outdated as it was last updated in 2016. Developers may still use it for specific components that have not been ported to Swift.
Swift is a modern programming language with an expressive syntax, so mobile app development takes fewer resources. It also has an automatic memory management system and a concise code that allows developers to save time writing mobile apps. Swift structures various data, flow controls and protocols. Also, Swift is a cross-platform language, particularly used for Windows and Linux.
|Requires a lot of steps
|Requires less code lines
|Difficult to maintain
|Easy to maintain
|Slow bug fixing
|Fast bug fixing
|Supports only Cocoa API
|Supports all APIs
Swift and Objective-С are both used for iOS app development. PYPL index survey shows that 2.23% of respondents share Swift, whereas 2.22% share Objective-C, making it an approximate 1:1.
Development tools for iOS apps
There are many iOS development tools available today, but we highlighted the solutions that improve the quality of apps and streamline your development process. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, you'll be able to find what you're looking for in this list.
But before that, we need to understand two additional things. IDE (integrated development environment) is a comprehensive environment for writing, testing, and debugging code. An SDK (software development kit) is a set of tools, libraries, and documentation specific to a platform or technology. An SDK can be used within an IDE to develop applications for a particular platform.
Now, let’s check development tools list for iOS mobile apps:
Apple Xcode and AppCode are both IDEs used for iOS app development, with Xcode being Apple's official and most widely used IDE.
The iOS Software Development Kit (iOS SDK) is a set of tools and frameworks necessary for building iOS apps and is integrated into both Xcode and AppCode. Choosing between AppCode and Xcode often depends on personal preference and specific development requirements.
UI frameworks for iOS mobile apps
The SwiftUI, UIKit and others frameworks allow you to manipulate the iPhone or iPad camera, add voice interaction using SiriKit, explore music with MusicKit. Also, you can expand viewing and listening via AirPlay 2, and even add iMessage Business Chat to your application
UI frameworks list for iOS mobile apps:
SwiftUI is a modern framework created by Apple to build user interfaces for the iOS operating system. This framework allows using lists, stacks, buttons, selectors, and other components. It also provides the tools you need to create custom views, add animations, and integrate gestures. The main benefits of using SwiftUI are theme management and straightforward code creation.
UIKit is a framework that delivers many exciting features for developing apps with components for constructing the core infrastructure of your iOS, iPadOS, or tvOS apps. Moreover, UIKit operates seamlessly with the SwiftUI framework, so you can implement parts of your UIKit app in SwiftUI or combine interface elements between the two frameworks. Also, UIKit has support for animations, documents, drawing and printing, text management and display, search, app extensions, resource management, and getting information about the current device.
In the video below, you can see the detailed comparison of SwiftUI and UIKit by building a complete project.
It is important to choose the proper UI framework for your mobile app development. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, so you have to choose the tech stack according to your mobile app features and business needs.
The user interface is one of the most important things to pay attention to during mobile app creation because your customer interacts with it every day. That's why it is essential to improve the user experience as much as possible to boost customer satisfaction.
Overall, we highlight the best UI frameworks for developing an app for iOS or Android operating systems.
Cross-platform apps technology stack
First, it is essential to observe what is a cross-platform mobile application. A cross-platform app (or hybrid app) is an application with different operating systems and platforms, such as Android, iOS, or Windows. If you are looking for a mobile app technology whose target audience uses both iOS and Android, cross-platform app development can save you time and resources due to using the same codebase for different platforms.
Cross-platform apps can have native-like interfaces, but the degree of "nativeness" depends on the framework used and the implementation. These apps generally strive to offer a user experience similar to native apps while reducing development time and effort.
Next, developers utilize non-native programming languages and frameworks to create cross-platform apps for various devices and operating systems. Examples of such frameworks include React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin. This lets you quickly transfer apps to their containers and integrate the finished products into platforms. There is no reason to worry if they will work the same on different platforms. The answer is yes.
The popularity of using cross-platform tech stacks for mobile is growing nowadays. Based on Developer Survey, the most popular multi-platform mobile framework is Flutter, which is used by more than 12.64% of software professional developers. The next most used are React Native (12.57%), Ionic (5.27%), Xamarin (5.21%), and Cordova (4.15%).
Programming tools for cross-platform mobile apps
There are so many different options to choose for cross platform mobile app development. It can be difficult to narrow down which ones are the best for cross platform apps. However, let's take a closer look at the following cross-platform development tools.
The main benefit of using this tech stack is the ability to create one code without separating it for different operating systems. This reduces time and increases the productivity of mobile app development.
The second most popular mobile stack for cross-platform app development. The main feature is hot reloading which reduces code development time. It is helpful for fast application development on any platform, which reduces code development time.
Also, Flutter has a wide variety of ready-made widgets, so you can use and customize them according to your mobile app tech stack needs. Besides, flutter apps are created directly into the machine code, which minimizes performance bugs.
The Flutter architectural overview is divided into several sections. For example, the layer model is about the pieces from which Flutter is constructed. Also, widgets are the fundamental building blocks of Flutter user interfaces. The rendering process shows how Flutter turns UI code into pixels. Integrating Flutter with other code provides information about different techniques available to Flutter apps. Below are the main parts and layers of the Flutter framework’s architecture in more detail.
An open-source framework for developing modern and performant iOS and Android operating systems applications. This tech stack for the mobile app is used to create cross-platform apps in C#. Also, it is possible to share and test code, improving the business logic across platforms.
The main features of using Xamarin are modern language constructs, a robust base class library, and an integrated development environment with Visual Studio. All these benefits allow developers to build mobile apps more easily.
Xamarin apps run within the Mono execution environment and use AOT (full Ahead of Time) compilation to compile C# code to native. The Mono runtime is written in the C language and runs side-by-side with the Objective-C Runtime. Both runtime environments run on top of the UNIX-like kernel, specifically XNU, and expose various APIs to access the underlying ios system. Below is a visual answer to the question, "What’s the architecture of Xamarin?"
Simply put, cross-platform applications are technology stacks used to develop applications for various operating systems and devices. These frameworks allow you to maximize the mobile application's target audience and distribute your app worldwide. The main features of cross-platform mobile tech stack are their portability, cost-efficiency, and broader market reach.
|Moderate to near-native
|Up to 90%
|Up to 90%
|Up to 96%
|Uses native UI controllers
|Uses customer widgets
|Uses native UI controllers
|Google Ads, Alibaba
|OLO, MRW, Storyo
Benefits and challenges of cross-platform app development
New technologies constantly contribute to the development of cross-platform mobile applications. Therefore, developers are increasingly interested in dynamic work with these applications.
The development of cross-platform applications provides the following benefits:
- Use of a single standard code that helps save the overall budget;
- Development and support of the program by only one team of programmers with basic knowledge of standard languages;
- Optimization of the native interface for easy interaction with the user;
- Engaging users with various mobile devices and a faster way to market at a lower cost.
On the other hand, you can explore specific challenges in developing cross-platform applications:
- Deterioration of application performance due to complex code of cross-platform solutions (combination of native and non-native components).
- Not capable of supporting all mobile functions (animation or 3D effects). Therefore, applications have limited functionality and a poor look and feel of the program.
- Constant delay of updates. When a new feature is added for a particular OS, cross-platform apps could take some time to reflect the same. Because the framework you use may or may not be packed with all the latest features of the latest version of releases, which leads you to lazy new updates.
As a result, cross-platform app development is best suited for your solutions if your apps do not require a complex interface or online input processing. Also, it’s a great idea to choose cross-platform app development when your apps do not need access to all device functions.
Regarding the benefits and challenges during app development at Codica, it is worth mentioning our recent project - Impact Personal Training. Our team developed such an progressive web application for fitness connecting personal fitness trainers and their clients with a mobile- and user-friendly solution.
The client wanted us to create a fitness app enabling clients to follow individual fitness programs that trainers would define for them. Such programs should include exercises, nutrition, and daily routines for clients, so users see their sports results.
The video below shows how our customer, Richard Gunter, is happy with the app’s functionality our specialists developed.
Value delivered by our development company:
- Created a fitness progressive web application from scratch based on the customer’s idea and requirements.
- Prepared desktop and mobile versions (iOS and Android apps) of the app to meet the needs of trainers and their clients. Both versions have appealing designs and intuitive functionality.
- Optimized the set of features to make the PWA lightweight and fast-loading.
- Developed a stable app handling large volumes of data.
- Improved the solution based on early feedback from users.
In general, this app lets clients get the recommended exercise set from personal trainers. The clients manage their programs with a convenient dashboard showing the training scale, today’s workout, and progress. Also, the clients can track their achievements in the fitness app by marking the exercises they completed.
10 tips to choose the best technology stack for mobile apps
It is essential to highlight that each mobile application is unique and requires a particular approach to its design and development. You should consider the functional features and the audience that will use the application. Therefore, the creation and implementation of this app require communication between business owners and the technical team.
We have highlighted the top 10 tips for creating a mobile application to facilitate working with the requirements. They will help you focus on the main aspects of developing and maintaining a mobile application.
1. The aim of the mobile app
First of all, you need to understand the purpose and tasks of the mobile application. It is essential to determine what you want to achieve in developing this mobile app, what people's needs it meets, and the values it brings. It is also worth conducting market research and analyzing the competitors to clarify what value your mobile app can bring.
Try to answer the following questions:
- What is the “problem” the product is going to solve? Isn't there an existing product that already solves this problem? Can we create a perfect version of it and get users' attention?
- What is your target audience? What do they think about this problem?
- How do your competitors solve this problem? What do they do well or not okay?
- How can your mobile application improve the customer's life?
- How can your target audience use this application? What devices do they usually use?
After receiving answers to these questions, it will be easier for you to move on and define the tech stack for mobile application development.
When your company is developing mobile apps that store personal data, it is crucial to provide security protection. A robust safety solution and data privacy play a significant role while building apps. An app should be securely protected from hackers who can:
- Get access to data stored in your mobile app or steal the user's passwords;
- Gain sensitive information about your customers;
- Steal intellectual property and private business information;
- Steal customer identifiers for fraud purposes.
That's why it is worth paying enough attention to creating a reliable application to avoid possible problems with information theft. This is crucial for the reputation of your business.
At Codica, we follow industry-standard mobile app security best practices along with a stringent security testing strategy. We firmly believe that mobile app development is about innovation and creativity with safe user experience.
Many mobile app development products require complex integration with back-end systems, adherence to regulatory requirements, and compelling user interface design that can drive the development cost. It is important to understand the complexity of the application's interactions with the underlying mobile features and communication with the back-end.
If you’re building an app that requires caching a huge amount of data, you’ll need to opt for native mobile stacks. Native app technology allows you to access features specific to the device, which isn’t possible if you’re building in a cross-platform environment.
4. Time to market
It is a great idea to focus on a simple, well-tested, and flexible tech stack for mobile development if you need to reach the market as soon as possible. For example, you can use the Swift programming language instead of Objective-C if it is essential to get to the market quickly.
By the way, the following indicators testify to the effectiveness of Swift. Let's pay attention to the SWIFT FIN. This is a message type (MT) that transmits financial information from one financial institution to another. In November 2022, Swift recorded an average of 44.8 million FIN messages daily. Therefore, traffic grew by +7.1% versus the same period of the previous year.
Many factors influence the price, depending on the complexity of the app development process. If your budget is limited, you should first create an MVP that will satisfy customers' needs and meet your business requirements. This is to reduce the initial costs and, at the same time, speed up the launch of the application.
Regarding the cost of a mobile app, there are some factors that you need to consider as well.
|Level of complexity
|MVP functionality; basic UI
|Medium complex app
|Sophisticated features; custom UI
|Highly complex app
|High-level advanced features; bespoke UI; two platforms
Your mobile app technology must scale vertically (adding extra hardware like computers or servers) and horizontally (adding additional resources such as CPU, memory, network bandwidth, and more) while maintaining performance. Still, particular attention should be paid to frameworks. Why? There is a tradeoff between modular-based development and the ability for those modules to be scaled or modified in the future.
Beyond scalability is the base performance of the app, dictated directly by the app's business requirements and the tech stack choices. These points influence the size of the app, how fast the system reacts, and how many requests the system can process.
With performance being the first and most crucial factor in user acceptance of a new product, this factor must be a part of every decision in the tech stack for the front and back-end. It is also important to balance time to market with performance.
An instance of a project with SaaS product development services can be the real estate portal our team developed. We created a multi-page custom SaaS platform for real estate that displayed listings from homeowners. Also, we delivered a fast-loading property search website that performs equally well on all types of devices.
Moreover, our developers introduced the JAMstack approach, including the Gatsby technology, which helped us deliver a responsive, fast-loading, and intuitive SaaS for real estate. These technologies were especially valuable as the platform needed to handle much data. How does it work? We suggest you watch a short video about the functionality of this real estate SaaS platform.