Ride-hailing apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer a convenient and affordable way to get around. To build a ride-hailing app, developers need to choose the right programming language. There are many different programming languages for ride-hailing app development, but it may be hard to find the best suited languages.
In this article, we will discuss the top 7 programming languages for building a ride-hailing app. The article also provide some examples of how they the development team use them to develop a ride-hailing app.
Table of contents
1. What is a Ride-Hailing App
A ride-hailing app is a mobile application that allows users to request and pay for a ride from a private driver. Ride-hailing apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer a convenient and affordable way to get around.
1.2. How does a Ride-Hailing App work?
To use a ride-hailing app, users typically need to create an account and provide a payment method. Once they have done so, they can open the app and enter their destination. The app will then show the user a list of available drivers and their estimated fares. The user can then select a driver and request a ride.
Once the ride is requested, the driver will accept it and pick up the user at their designated location. The user can track the driver’s location on the app and see how long it will take them to arrive.
After completing the ride, the user will charge the fare through the app. The fare is typically calculated based on the distance and time of the ride.
1.3. Vietnam Ride-Hailing App Market
Vietnam Ride-Hailing App Market, now, has three major players: Grab, Gojek and Be. According to ABI Research Report, Grab is the most popular ride-hailing app in Vietnam, with a market share of over 70%, followed by Be. Gojek is the third most popular app.
According to research in 2020, Grab’s army of drivers completed 146 million rides in Vietnam in the first six months of 2019. This placed it well ahead of nearest rivals Be, at 31 million, and GoJek at 21 million.
These numbers haven’t stopped more new players from entering. In April 2023, another Vingroup subsidiary, Green and Smart Mobility (GSM) JSC, launched its newly established electric taxi brand, Green SM Taxi (a.k.a Xanh SM), in Hanoi, providing passenger transportation services using only VinFast electric vehicles. The company expects to expand their service to at least five provinces and cities nationwide this year.
Source: e-Conomy SEA 2019 report
2. Types of Mobile App
2.1. Native App
A native app is a mobile app that is developed specifically for a particular mobile operating system, such as iOS or Android.
To develop native apps, developers use the programming languages and frameworks that are native to the mobile operating system. This allows the app to take advantage of the specific features and capabilities of the mobile device.
They are the preferred choice for many projects, as they offer many advantages, such as easy customisation, usability, efficiency. It’s suitable for gaming apps, virtual reality (VR) apps, and apps with a lot of graphics. However, one code is developed specifically for only a mobile operating system, and will not work on both platforms.
2.2. Hybrid App
Hybrid apps are used on multiple mobile operating systems, such as iOS, Android and Windows. Developers typically use cross-platform development languages, including Flutter, React Native… to develop Hybrid App.
Cross-platform languages allow developers to write code once and deploy it to multiple platforms. This can save developers time and money, as they don’t need to develop separate native apps for each platform. That’s why Flutter and React are the most popular languages for app development.
Hybrid apps are not as fast or efficient as native apps, but they are a good option for developers who need to develop an app for reaching a wider audience and deploying to market quickly.
2.3. Progressive Web App (PWA)
A progressive web app (PWA) is a type of web app that combines the best of both worlds: the user experience of a native app with the reach and flexibility of a web app. PWAs are fast, reliable, and engaging, and like a native app, you can install them on your home screen.
3. Top 7 Programming Languages for Ride-Hailing App Development
3.1. For iOS App
Undoubtedly, Swift is the best choice for iOS apps. About Swift, it is a general-purpose programming language developed by Apple in 2014 for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS and Linux apps.
This programming languages offers a number of advantages for building a ride-hailing app in the iOS platform, including:
- Built-in location: This feature can provide access to the device’s location services, map display and annotation, as well as calculate the directions for a ride request. It can help track the location of drivers and users.
- Safety: Swift is a safe language that has a number of features that help to prevent errors. This is important for ride-hailing apps, which need to be reliable and secure.
- Performance: As a compiled language, Swift programs are fast and efficient. It is able to handle a large number of requests and transactions in real time.
- Modern features: Swift is a modern language that offers a number of features that make it easy to develop powerful and user-friendly apps. This includes features such as generics, closures, and optionals.
3.2. For Android App
Kotlin is a statically-typed, general-purpose programming language that is fully interoperable with Java. It is developed by JetBrains and is used to develop Android apps, server-side applications, and web applications.
For ride-hailing app in Android platform, Kotlin will be well suitable for a variety of development tasks:
- Null safety: Kotlin has a built-in null safety feature that helps to prevent NullPointerExceptions. This is important for developing reliable and secure apps, especially preventing NullPointer Exceptions when accessing the location of a driver or a user.
- Extension functions: Kotlin allows developers to add new functions to existing classes without having to modify the original class. This makes it easy to extend the functionality of existing classes, such as a class that presents a ride request.
- Coroutines: Kotlin coroutines are a lightweight way to perform asynchronous operations. This makes it easy to develop apps that can handle multiple requests and transactions in real time.
3.3. For Hybrid App
Python is a general-purpose programming language that is famous for its simplicity, readability and versatility. It is a popular choice for developing a wide variety of applications.
This language can be appropriate for ride-hailing app development because it has a number of advantages, including:
- Built-in locations: Similar to Swift, Python also offers GeoDjango extension that provides support for geospatial data. It also can help in tracing the location of drivers and users.
- Lightweight framework: Flask is a lightweight web framework. It is a good choice for developers who want to have more control over the development process.
- Libraries and frameworks: One of the most famous frameworks of Python is Django. It provides a number of features that are specific for ride-hailing apps, such as user authentication, payment processing and real-time tracking.
- In-memory data store: As Python is integrated with Redis – an in-memory data store that can be used to store and cache data. Python developers can improve the performance of ride-hailing apps by caching frequently accessed data.
- Simplicity: Python is a relatively simple language to learn and use. This makes it a good choice for developers who are new to ride-hailing app development.
Flutter is a cross-platform UI toolkit developed by Google. It allows developers to build native-looking applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. Flutter is based on the Dart programming language, which is a modern, object-oriented language that is easy to learn and use.
By offering numbers of benefits, developers can use Flutter for ride-hailing app development:
- Native performance: Flutter apps are compiled to native code for each platform. It means that they have the same performance as apps developed using native programming languages.
- Cross-platform development: Flutter apps can be developed for multiple platforms from a single codebase, which can save developers time and money.
- Map widgets: This widget allows developers to display maps like Google Maps (with same features and functionalities) on their apps. It also can display the location of drivers and users on a map, so users can see where their driver is. The map widget also allows developers to add markers and polylines to the map to indicate the pickup and drop-off locations for rides.
- Ride request form widget: Developers can create a user interface for users to request rides. It typically includes fields for the rider to enter their pickup and drop-off locations, as well as the number of passengers. You can also use it to collect additional information from users, such as their preferred payment method.
- Payment screen widget: To allow the rider to pay for the ride using their credit card or other payment method, the development team can also use it. Users can see the total cost of the ride and any applicable taxes or fees on the screen. Then the backend server can receive this information to process the payment.
Java is a general-purpose programming language that is popular for its reliability, scalability, and portability. Its programs can be run on any platform that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is a popular choice for developing a wide variety of applications.
This language has some features that can benefit ride-hailing app development, such as:
- Reliability: Its programs are known for being reliable and stable. This is because it has a number of built-in features that help to prevent errors, such as garbage collection and type safety.
- Scalability: You can scale programs to handle a large number of users and requests. This is because it is a multi-threaded language, which means that you can execute multiple tasks concurrently.
- Portability: Its programs can be run on any platform that has a JVM. This makes this programming language a good choice for developing ride-hailing apps on multiple platforms.
- Database: Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) is a standard API that allows the programs to access and manage data stored in relational databases. It can help store and manage users’ and drivers’ data, ride data and even generate reports on ride activity.
For building a ride-hailing app, using Node.js could be a good selection as it can bring some benefits:
- Scalability: Node.js is highly scalable, meaning that it can handle a large number of concurrent requests and transactions. This is important for ride-hailing apps, which need to be able to handle a large number of ride requests at any given time.
- Performance: Node.js is very performant, meaning that it can process requests and transactions quickly and efficiently. This is also important for ride-hailing apps, which need to be able to respond to ride requests quickly and efficiently.
- Real-time capabilities: Node.js is well-suited for developing real-time applications, such as ride-hailing apps. This is because Node.js is event-driven and non-blocking, which means that it can handle multiple requests and transactions simultaneously. Your team can use Node.js to develop a real-time messaging system that allows users and drivers to communicate with each other.
- Backend server: You could use the Express framework to create a backend server that handles ride requests and transactions.
React has some advantages that may help develop ride-hailing app well, such as:
- Cross-platform development: React Native allows developers to build native-looking apps for iOS and Android using a single codebase. This can save developers time and money, as they do not need to develop and maintain separate apps for each platform.
- Fast development: React Native uses a component-based architecture, which makes it easy to develop and update apps quickly.
- Direction: You can use the Directions API from React Native to get directions between two points, and then use that information to display the route on a map. Another usage you can capitalise on is getting the estimated travel time and distance of a route.
- Payment: The React Native Payment component integrates with a payment processor, such as Stripe or PayPal. This will allow users to pay for their rides directly from the app.
- Notification system: Developers can also use React Native to develop a notification system that sends riders notifications when their driver is on the way and when they have arrived at the pickup location.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which programming language is best for building a ride-hailing app. The best language for you will depend on your specific requirements and preferences. However, the top 7 programming languages discussed in this article are all good choices for ride-hailing app development. They offer a variety of advantages, such as cross-platform development, fast development, large communities, and performance. Hope this article will help you in your journey in this market.
If you want to join this competitive market but still do not know where to start with your app, contact AgileTech to start together today! AgileTech is an experienced technology outsourcing company that has intense experience in this market, so we can help you with building web and mobile products and creating a clear picture for your business to succeed. Maybe your product will be outstanding in the ride-hailing industry.