How to Choose the Right Programming Language for Your Startup
When you launch a new software startup – or head down the path of building a new piece of software for an existing company – you are faced with a wide array of choices regarding which programming language to use.
Adding to the complexity of choice is that the software development world is constantly changing; thus, deciding on the right language can sometimes feel like a moving target.
But never fear: TurnKey is here to help shine some light on the key factors to consider when making this important decision. Read on to find out what programming languages best fit your startup!
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What Are the Best Programming Languages for a Startup?
It’s a trick question—the best programming language for your startup depends on your specific needs.
Here is a list of the programming languages we consider worthy of checking out, as well as their main advantages and disadvantages.
Top Programming Languages for Startups to Consider
The following are the primary programming languages that startups will find useful for their software development projects.
A StackOverflow survey names Python as developers’ second-most beloved and fastest growing programming language after Rust.
Python is a trendy programming language for machine learning and data science projects. It is also used for web application development, graphics programming, and many more tasks.
Advantages of Python
- Python is easy to learn: Python is an excellent beginner's programming language for those who want to learn how to code. Python is easy to understand, and coding in it is very much like writing plain English. For example, the traditional curly braces don't have to be used to define the blocks in the code. However, indentation is essential to Python programming, which not only defines blocks of code but further aids in the readability of code.
- Python has a huge existing community: The Python community is full of coders, software developers, professionals, and students, all working together to develop the best software for their users. The support they offer to one another makes it a key benefit for developers.
- It is versatile: Python is one of the most flexible programming languages for adding extensions, and it can be extended to other languages as well. Developers can create code in C and C++ and write code of new features in the dynamically-typed programming language.
- Python has an extensive selection of libraries: Python features a large and well-organized set of libraries and contains code for many different purposes, including documentation generation, regular expressions, web browsing, CGI, databases, and image manipulation. As a result, your software development team doesn't have to write the complete code manually.
- The language is portable across different platforms: Python is portable, which means it can be run on any other platform. This is called WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) and makes it easier for the developers to work with Python as they do not have to make changes to it if they want to run it on another platform.
Disadvantages of Python
- Python is dynamically typed: Data scientists working on machine learning projects prefer statically-typed languages over dynamically typed ones. The reason is that static typing potentially reduces a lot of errors and bugs in the system.
- There are some speed limitations: Python is slow compared to other non-compiled languages as it requires a lot of computational power.
- More code testing is required: As Python is not entirely secure, there are ways in which someone with malicious intent could attempt to compromise its security. The best way to ensure you're not missing anything is to perform more QA testing. Yet, this extra testing can mean more expenses for your startup or project.
The best way to ensure you’re not missing anything is to perform more QA testing. Yet, this extra testing can mean more expenses for your startup or project.
Confused about which language to choose? We’d love to help get you on the right path to success.
#2. Ruby on Rails (aka RoR)
Ruby on Rails, the de-facto standard for web applications development, is chosen by many startups and established businesses for web development.
Basecamp, GitHub, Dribble, Airbnb, and WordPress—are all examples of websites built with this framework.
If you are thinking of using it as your startup programming language, here is a list of Ruby on Rails pros and cons we recommend checking out.
Advantages of Ruby on Rails
- RoR has an extensive library of fantastic tools and functionality: There are hundreds of different libraries that you can use as a part of your software. Moreover, there are also a range of existing tools to help your general software design experience. Some of these tools are helpful when you're trying to debug your application or when you're running your tests. Others are useful for optimizing your code.
- It is a completely object-oriented programming language: Ruby is a pure object-oriented language, where everything appears as an object. Every value in Ruby is an object, even the data types: strings, numbers, and even true and false. Even a class itself is an instance of the Class class. This unifies the language logic and makes the language easier to understand and learn.
- RoR has a large worldwide community: There are a lot of Ruby on Rails developers around the globe. And many posts on GitHub (and elsewhere) snippets of software that perform specific functions. You can use these snippets as a basis for your project, which means you can focus on more complex tasks. And when starting out, it's easy to ask for help if needed.
- There is an abundance of free learning resources: As Ruby is a very popular programming language, it’s easy to find excellent free resources to master the basics of it quickly.
Disadvantages of Ruby on Rails
- RoR has a low boot speed: This does not mean that the framework has slow performance. Boot time refers to the time it takes to load your application into memory. Many app developers believe this is not the case for apps with proper optimization. However, comparing the waiting time with other frameworks like Node.js, you will definitely see the difference.
- Ruby Is not a very flexible startup programming language: Ruby on Rails makes it easy to build web applications. In fact, there's almost no competition when it comes to building applications in RoR, and if you know what you're doing, there's practically no limit to what you can do with it. However, there are quite a few default set objects, so there's not a lot of space for creativity. So, before you build your project, it's essential to decide which framework to use, its basic elements and whether the elements are standard or unique.
With JS development, you can tap into the rich ecosystem and huge community the language offers and make your solutions better than anything else.
Java has been a pretty common programming language for a very long time. It’s extremely efficient. As a result, the best programming language of the past is still helping to develop today’s software.
Many benefits and perks make it perfect for coders.
Advantages of Java
- Java code can run on different platforms: Java is a cross-platform language due to its platform independence feature. It is portable and can be taken to any platform and run. This is one key reason developers love it.
- Java is the best programming language in terms of security: A programming language like Java that does not use explicit pointers reduces security threats and risks. A pointer stores the memory address of another value that can cause unauthorized memory access. So, this is resolved by removing the concept of pointers. Also, a Security manager in Java for each app lets you determine the access rules for classes.
- Java collects garbage automatically: Automatic memory management in Java means the Java Virtual Machine manages the Java object lifetime for you. When objects are not being used by programs anymore, and/or they no longer refer to anything, they are removed from the explicit programming. Java automatically cleans up garbage objects using a process called automatic Garbage Collection.
- Java is stable: Java programs are more stable than programs of other programming languages. Moreover, a new version of Java is released yearly with more advanced features, making it more stable over time.
Disadvantages of Java
- Java requires a significant amount of memory: Java requires a lot of memory compared to other languages like C and C++. Moreover, the garbage collector can affect the system's performance when it's working hard during the garbage collection process.
- Java is slow: Java is memory-consuming and much slower than languages such as C or C++. This may be due to the platform’s extra level of compiler and abstraction. Moreover, sometimes the garbage collector results in the poor performance of Java as it consumes more CPU time.
- Java is relatively hard to learn: Java codes are verbose, which means that there are many words in them, and many long and complex sentences. It isn't easy to read and understand sometimes, even for Java developers. This can have a massive impact on the readability of the code. Java focuses on being more manageable, but it still has overly complex codes and lengthy explanations for each item.
Swift is the perfect choice for the server-side coding of mobile apps.
Swift is a new programming language that offers many of the benefits of Objective C. It is a programming language, developed in 2014, that primarily works with Apple’s frameworks.
This programming language can be used for many app development projects, from mobile to desktop and from cloud services to system software.
Advantages of Swift
- Swift is an open source language: Startups can benefit from Swift's available online resources and community support because it is an open source language. Apple updates its programming language every year to make it even better and conducts regular improvements to the performance of the language.
- Swift is very – wait for it – swift!: Developers don't need to write many scripts to create an app with Swift. Its short syntax and simple structure make it easy for a startup to improve their time to market.
- Immediate feedback on code.: Developers can see any code errors and have a shorter feedback loop when working with Swift. This improves the quality of their work and decreases the time spent debugging their code.
Disadvantages of Swift
- Swift has a significantly smaller range of libraries and tools: Unlike Objective-C, which came up in the 1980s, Swift is a newcomer, created in 2014. So, despite recent updates with backward compatibility and ABI Stability, Swift has relatively few tools and libraries.
- It's challenging to hire experienced Swift developers: This is another minor disadvantage, but it needs to be brought up nonetheless. While Swift's community is growing, it's still relatively small compared to other programming languages. According to a recent developer survey from StackOverflow, just 6.6% of over 87,000 respondents use Swift.
What Are the Key Factors in Choosing the Best Programming Language for Your Startup?
Here are the primary considerations when selecting a programming language for your startup:
#1. Сlearly define the features required for your project
Startups should consider where their software product will function. The industry, market, and historical products often influence the ideal programming language choice.
Each industry has one, two, or even three startup programming languages that are most commonly used by companies creating products in that space.
Additionally, some industries need a large amount of coding to solve their problems. As a result, they use a wide range of languages, from functional programming to procedural or object-oriented language, and the programming languages used can be numerous.
Start by examining what your product does and why it matters. Ask yourself, “Which languages are used to create…?” and select the ideal programming language that can deliver that in the most efficient way.
#2. Understand that the choice of a particular language depends on the developers' availability
Startups should check the availability of developers before adopting programming languages for their projects. In other words, how hard will it be for staff?
To deal with this factor, you should examine the most popular and easiest to learn and understand programming languages.
The number of jobs, people applying for the job, and the estimated salary for each language can also help you determine if these are the right programming languages for your startup.
#3. Note that the product time to market and startup scalability will depend on the choice of a language
Getting your product or minimum viable product out the door as early as possible without sacrificing quality is crucial when starting your business.
You’ll need to choose an advanced programming language that allows a rapid development process but still drives high performance.
Also, as you scale your startup, you need a language that enables growth and movement. It’s essential to consider different situations so you can choose a flexible and growth-friendly programming language.
#4. Be mindful of the industry standards
You’ll need to stay up-to-date on what your competitors use. You don’t necessarily need to follow others, but it will give you an idea of what developers in the industry find advantageous when building their products.
#5. Look for open source programming languages with large user communities
Open source programming languages like Java and Python have a large user community and free resources, including libraries and frameworks.
The benefits of a large community is usually a cheaper cost of development and quicker speed of deployment since you can reuse existing code from libraries without having to build it from the ground up yourself.
How Can TurnKey Help You Achieve Your Goals?
To create a world-beating startup, you need to not only decide which language you want to use but also how to hire a high-performing software development team to turn that language into an awesome product.
This is where TurnKey can help–big time! We custom recruit the best offshore developers for you, then implement an industry-leading talent retention program that dramatically cuts your churn rate compared to other firms. We are here to be your partner at every step of the journey!
Ready to build an amazing dev team and reach your software development goals?
The programming language you choose depends on the type of application or product you want to build. First have a deep understanding of your product roadmap and development goals, and then select the programming language that best fits those needs.
There are many factors to consider when selecting the ideal programming language for a startup. For instance, if you have limited prior programming experience or a small budget, it is probably best to use a high-level language like Ruby or Python where you can quickly write something, run it, and see how it works without having to invest too much in code creation.
Yes. Python is a popular programming language for startups since it can be used to write software that runs on desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even embedded systems like those in cars. Thus, it offers a ton of flexibility as the startup grows and evolves.
Yes. Java is an excellent language for building small to medium-size applications. It has been widely used by companies such as Google, Oracle, Intuit, and IBM. Also, many small companies are using Java as their first programming language due to the large community of tools and resources.