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How to Choose the Right Language for an IoT Project?

With smart devices that allow less human input and more machine output, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become much more realistic these days. Smart home hubs, connected cars, smart retail, are already a reality.

In fact, many industries consider IoT development for enhancing the functionality of the products they offer. Most respondents who participated in the IoT Developer Survey 2019 planned to develop IoT applications in the coming months.

IoT popularity statistics

Source: slideshare.net

The purpose of IoT is to collect and analyze data to provide better customer experience and improve product quality. In other words, it is supposed to make our cities, homes, and businesses work better.

When building an IoT product, one of the most important decisions companies have to make is to choose a relevant programming language.

In this article, we will cover the top IoT development languages and provide tips on how to choose the right programming language for your IoT project.

Top 7 Programming Languages for IoT Development

Let’s review each programming language one by one.

Java

This language has many well-known advantages and portability is the key one. Java engineers can write and debug code on their work computers and then move it to any chip using a Java Virtual Machine. Therefore, developers can run the code on the smallest machines, and not just on smartphones and servers where JVMs are common.

Even though Java may require different libraries to work with specific hardware, the nature of this language may be described as “write once, run anywhere.”

C and C++

Java isn’t the only popular programming language in IoT software development. C and C++are  often being used for IoT projects for a variety of purposes. For instance, engineers may use the C language with IoT sheets or C++in embedded IoT systems.

Given that both languages have relatively low energy consumption and advanced flexibility, developers can use them to effectively code for embedded systems that interface with the underlying hardware.

Python

Nowadays Python has become very popular among IoT developers as it is very easy to read, flexible, quick and its power allows engineers to work with data-heavy apps.

JavaScript

Today, JavaScript and its frameworks are actively used in IoT software development projects. For example, JavaScript and Node.js may be great for creating and managing public and private IoT systems and networks.

Also, JavaScript has long been used by two microcontrollers, Tessel and Espruino. This may come in handy in cases when there is a need to use low-power microcontrollers such as Espruino or fast microcontrollers with a lot of memory like  Tessel.

Given the fact that both microcontrollers are based on JavaScript, even web developers can easily start working on IoT projects without spending much time on learning a new language.

Swift

iOS and macOS devices often become parts of IoT systems, thus Swift may be a perfect match for IoT projects. For example, if a company wants to build IoT software that is able to interact with an iPad or iPhone, developers will likely choose Swift to create the app.

Developers also can use Apple’s IoT frameworks, such as FaceID, CoreMotion, or HealthKit, build custom IoT-based hardware with the help of such microcontrollers as Raspberry Pi or Arduino, and then combine their products into seamless IoT networks.

PHP

The PHP language, which was originally created for web app development, can also be used for IoT development. Today, many IoT developers include PHP into their tech stack.

PHP is one of the most flexible and affordable languages in the world. Also, this language is fast and free which is highly important because developing IoT applications is costly. Therefore, developers who use PHP can reduce costs and increase ROI of IoT development.

Now that we know which programming languages are widely used in IoT development, let’s discuss how companies can understand which language it is better to choose for an IoT project.

How to Choose the Relevant Programming Language for an IoT Project

how to choose the right language for IoT development

Each of the programming languages listed above has its strengths and weaknesses, so companies need to thoroughly examine the characteristics of every language and find out which of them matches the technologies they are going to use.

For instance, Python is more flexible than C or C++ so writing code with Python may take less time and resources. Thus, if a company wants to get a working product or MVP as quickly as possible or accelerate software development, they need to choose a more versatile and easy language like Python.

The accessibility of a development environment, tools, and libraries may be another factor to consider. Developers may want to choose open-source languages as they provide strong community support and a wide range of tools.

On the other hand, when choosing a programming language, companies should take into account the technical side of the project as for example the IoT devices. If the client is going to use small and low-power devices, such languages as C or C++ may be the best choice for developers. Also if the project doesn’t require strong computational power, developers can opt for Python.

When it comes to choosing a programming language,  there is no “silver bullet”. Each company and project are unique, so developers need to study their business requirements in detail and understand all the subtleties of the project to make the right choice.

If you want to know which programming language is best for developing your IoT project, please feel free to contact us. Our experts will provide you with a free consultation and answer any of your questions.

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