Ranked: Top 5 Programming Languages for IoT Devices

Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is a network of interconnected computing and digital devices, objects, and machines equipped with unique identifiers. This allows for data transfer over a network without human-to-person or computer interaction. In other words, IoT facilitates all objects that could interact.

Why is language significant for IoT Devices?

IoT devices are built with software that contains instructions for them and is coded using programming languages. They might seem like devices, but they’re essentially computers, and every computer needs to be instructed, and programming language is the way to do it. 

A programming language allows devices to perform front-end, back-end, and networking functions. IoT cannot be thought about if you don’t have coding; it’s as simple as that.

Things to consider while choosing IoT Programming Language

Due to its multi-component nature and the multiple ways components can interconnect and interact in the IoT ecosystem, it’s multilingual. Choosing an IoT programming language is often a difficult thing to do as it depends on various factors. Below are the factors you need to consider:

  • Hardware
  • Application of the IoT device
  • Developer skills
  • Speed and cost of development
  • Developer tools
  • Reliability
  • Established in the industry
  • Support system (library sets, schemes, tools support, and community groups)

Best programming languages for IoT Devices

  1. Java 

Java is one of the most popular programming languages, which is portable and cross-platform. It calls itself a ‘Write Once Run Anywhere‘ language. Java developers can debug and create code right from their desktop. Then, they can move the code to any Java Virtual Machine chips. The code can run on both the most common JVMs (servers and smartphones) and the most miniature machines.

Moreover, Java is object-oriented, and it has the least hardware dependency. There are also hardware support libraries that make Java one of the most popular choices for IoT developers.

Advantages:

  • Versatility
  • Object-oriented
  • Huge libraries
  • Can run on edge & cloud
  • No hardware limitations
  • High security
  1. Python

Although it started as a scripting tool to link together real code, it is increasingly being used as the primary language by many developers. There aren’t many options better than Python when it comes to small devices with low memory and computing power.

Python can be integrated into other programming languages like Java or C++. It also works on a variety of platforms, including Linux or Windows. Its easy-to-learn nature, extensive libraries, and strong community support make it a joy for developers. Moreover, Python is the ideal choice for IoT applications that require data analysis as it’s the most used application in data science.

Advantages:

  • Easy to learn
  • Versatility
  • Simple syntax
  • Robust community support
  • Easy debugging
  • Provides ease for data analytics

Launched in the 1970s for writing Unix system software, C is a relevant language to this day. In fact, when it comes to IoT, it’s still giving other languages a run for its money. It is used to program electronic devices using low-level codes. Programmers can easily use it because of its light processing power and ability to interact with RAM directly. 

This language provides developers flexibility and features like interoperability and rich libraries. Plus, C is compatible with IoT microcontrollers, which are peripheral devices that form IoT architectures.

One of C’s challenges is the difficulty of learning as its syntax is complicated and the architecture is multilayered. 

Advantages:

  • Compatibility with microcontrollers
  • Consumes less computing power
  • Platform-independent
  • Highly customizable
  • Ample community support for libraries and frameworks
  1. JavaScript 

JavaScript is a high-level, often compiled, and multi-paradigm program language central to all HTML programs, web applications, and browsers used to browse the World Wide Web. It is a versatile programming language that can be used in many different ways. Javascript supports imperative, functional, event-driven programming styles.

Thanks to all the benefits it offers, JavaScript has become an essential part of many IoT devices. Its flexibility allows it to work with various gateways and cloud environments. Plus, its event-driven features pave the way for more efficient programming for sensors.

Espruino and Tessel are two microcontrollers that run JavaScript from the beginning. Tessel, which is built around Node.js, makes it easy for web developers to step into the world of IoT without having to learn a new language.

Advantages:

  • Versatility to work with various environments
  • Immense community and library support
  • Speedy programming
  • Interoperability
  • Easy to learn
  • Integration with other languages
  1. Swift 

Unsurprisingly, Swift is the most different name in this list, and rightly so. Unlike the above languages that work with the web, smartphones, and other devices, Swift was purposed to develop IoT applications for iOS devices due to its interoperability with the Objective-C codebase. 

Developed by Apple, it conforms to Apple’s design guidelines and allows developers to create IoT apps compliant with the company’s benchmarking standards. It is a faster, secure, and easy programming language. Swift is ideal for you if your development goals are limited to iOS devices. 

Apple is facilitating its development by the addition of new libraries and features. Thus, we can say that it’s only going to get better. 

Advantages:

  • Built for iOS devices
  • Easy to learn
  • Secure & reliable
  • Faster development

Final Thoughts

While Java remains the most popular IoT programming language, Python and JavaScript are not far behind. You cannot ever ignore the power of C. Plus, new players are emerging, and the developers are welcoming them with open arms. Thus, there’s no “best” IoT programming language in all situations.

It all depends on your objectives, preferences, and expertise. One thing is quite clear, the future of the IoT programming landscape is multilingual, and it’s not going to change in the future. We hope this article has helped you get clarity about choosing the right IoT programming language.

Contributor

A techno-commercial leader heading Intuz as Director of Growth With over 12 years of experience in the field of Information Technology. His experience and expertise will entice developers and business entrepreneurs with rich content on the latest technology stack.

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About Patrick R

A techno-commercial leader heading Intuz as Director of Growth With over 12 years of experience in the field of Information Technology. His experience and expertise will entice developers and business entrepreneurs with rich content on the latest technology stack.

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