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Get Fluent in IoT: Top Programming Languages for the Internet of Things

As we explored in our previous blog, the Internet of Things is shaping our future. With Internet of Things development on the rise and potentially $11.1 trillion in economic value generated per year due to IoT, many companies are creating strategies to develop for the platform.

To all the decision-makers out there looking to develop for the loT platform, getting familiar with the programming languages and how they relate to the platform will have a major impact on the budget and quality of any given IoT project. IEEE, the largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for human benefit, recently ranked the top programming languages of 2015. Bearing in mind embedded devices present their own programming difficulties, here are the top programming languages for the IoT:

Java: James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton began developing the Java language project in June 1991. Java has become the most popular programming language and many choose Java when developing for IoT. Java is an object-oriented language designed for portability. With few hardware dependencies, Java is a great choice from an economic standpoint. Java code can be transmitted to multiple platforms and hardware-support libraries give Java developers the ability to control specific pieces of hardware. Developing for Java can be deterred by the hardware-support libraries available for control functions.

Python: In December 1989, implementation of Python began. Designed by Guido van Rossum, Python is a multi-paradigm programming language which has become one of the go-to languages for web developers. Python’s flexibility and emphasis on readability have caused it to rise in the ranks of top languages used for embedded control and IoT. Readability increases workflow as programmers who have attempted to decipher other programmer’s optimized C code would know.

C: With development beginning in 1972 on the PDP-11 Unix system, C is one of the most popular programming languages. C has influenced many languages, including C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, & Python. Due to its long history, C functions as a common language for many software developers. C’s popularity and lack of built-in hardware bias toward a graphical interface make it a good choice for IoT development.

C++: Created in 1979 by Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup, C++ was designed as an object-oriented pre-processor for C, keeping the spare nature of the language but adding data abstraction, classes and objects. C++ is commonly used to write embedded and IoT code for Linux systems.

Assembler: Assembler is the simplest method intended to keep projects as compact as possible. Assembler is a low-level language which maintains a high correspondence between language and the hardware’s machine code instructions. Assembler minimizes overhead, making a popular choice despite how it doesn’t allow a safety net. Silly mistakes are easy to make and some hardcore programmers may be frustrated by its simplicity.

Go: Announced by Google in 2009, Go is an open-source, embedded-specific programming language gaining traction in the IoT world. Go supports concurrent input, output, and process different channels, an asset to gathering data from and sending data to separate sensors. Go was created in the tradition of C, but with specific changes to make it simpler, safer & more concise.

ParaSail: ParaSail was created in 2009 as an embedded-specific language. ParaSail stands for Parallel Specification and Implementation Language. ParaSail was created to support safe, secure, highly parallel applications which can be mapped to multicore, many core, heterogenous, or distributed architecture.

Choosing the right programming language will have a major impact on the budget and functionality of any IoT project. Doing the proper research on the subject will pay off in the long run. Stay tuned for more blogs on this subject and learn more about best IoT development practices via this awesome article by InformationWeek.