June 25, 2021

Python and Mobile Apps: Is it Possible?

Since its initial release in 1991, Python quickly became one of the most popular programming languages of the world, a rank that it still keeps year after year. Python is typically a favorite among developers in the backend development community as a high-level, interpreted, and general-purpose dynamic programming language.

While it’s a common player in the web development game, Python recently worked its way into a seemingly unlikely area over the last few years: mobile application development. As a universal programming language, it’s known as a go-to tool for solving a wide range of digital tasks. From web development and data science to process automation, machine learning, and data analysis, Python development services help companies do it all – but mobile app development is new territory for the language.

Is Python a Good Idea for Mobile App Development?

The short answer is: yes, thanks to the Kivy framework released in 2011. Prior to that year, custom mobile application development on iOS and Android was definitely not Python’s typical use case nor its strong suit. However, the release of this framework and the evolution of the language make it a top choice nowadays.

The Kivy framework allows for the cross-platform development of apps for desktop computers and mobile devices. This framework uses a custom set of user interface instruments that allow a developer to engage the same control elements across different platforms. This makes for a much more streamlined development process. However, these apps aren’t necessarily “native” mobile applications.

For native apps, there’s BeeWare, another framework that helps devs engage with native control elements for each platform. BeeWare supports app development on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux, Web, and even the newest tvOS. With native user interfaces, multiple applications, a single codebase, and a fully native user experience per platform, BeeWare is also a top choice among mobile devs looking for a framework to work with Python.

The Types of Mobile Applications Running on Python

Many of the top mobile apps currently ranking among the most popular in the App Store run on Python and use its advanced features. These popular apps include:

  • Instagram – Arguably the most famous application available today, developers used Python to build Instagram. As a revolutionary of the digital photography world, Instagram expanded the lines of creativity and totally reinvented social media marketing shortly after it originated. Instagram allows users to not only take pictures and share them within the app but also edit them without needing to exit the app at all. With over a whopping 500 million (and growing every day) active users, Instagram proves that apps built on Python are scalable at an enormous level.
  • Pinterest – The internet’s ultimate digital pinboard, Pinterest, relies on the Python framework Django to rapidly deal with an incredible amount of data on a daily basis. The image-sharing site allows users to collect and share images or “pins” with other users whilst organizing things on their own individual boards. The Pinterest app started running on Python since its very inception and continues to do so to this day.
  • Reddit – The online forum, discussion app, and meme hub run on Python, although it was originally coded in Common Lisp. After searching for a language on which to base the app with wide access to code libraries, Reddit made the switch to Python. With hundreds of millions of monthly mobile app visitors, the Reddit app is one of the most popular and impressive applications built on Python today.
  • Uber – A trailblazer of its kind, Uber offers not only peer-to-peer ridesharing but also bicycle sharing as well as food delivery via UberEats. With so much to provide to its application users, Uber runs on Python to help handle the gigantic amount of data surrounding the app. The service supports over 100 million users and operates in metro areas across the globe.
  • Spotify – Spotify reigns as the world’s largest music streaming service and one of the most popular Python mobile applications as well. Developers chose this language to build the Spotify app because of its advanced data analytics and general development speed. The language helps manage many of its advanced functions, like the Radio and Discover functionalities. The personal music preferences of the profile are the basis for these complex functions, which makes it extra complicated and resource-consuming when not using the correct app development language.

Although some developers may find the idea of developing mobile applications with Python terrifying, it has already proved itself as a go-to language in the world of mobile app development. It’s used by many companies to build complex and custom applications for use by millions of users at a time.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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