Kotlin is a new programming language developed by the developers of the Android Studio (Jetbrains).
Lately, Kotlin had created quite a buzz in the software development field when, in 2017, Google announced it as the second official language for writing Android apps. Since then, its community is considerably growing.
However, when in May 2019, Google announced it as the first official programming language for Android App development, its demand witnessed a monumental rise by both developers and enterprise community.
This statistically typed programming language can be used for both web app and mobile app development.
Some examples of organizations using Kotlin are Pinterest, Lyft, Slack, etc. It is an open-source language on Github.
History And Evolution Of Kotlin
In July 2011, Kotlin was revealed as “Project Kotlin” by Jetbrains to develop a new language for JVM. The name of the word is from Kotlin Island, located in Russia. Every Mobile App Development Company should know about it.
The team leader of Jetbrains stated that one of the critical goals of the language was to offer all features sought in a programming language coupled with a faster compile time. In 2012, the project was made open source under the Apache 2 license.
The first official stable version of the language “Kotlin v1.0” was released on Feb 15, 2016. Since then, the team of Jetbrains has continuously been working on its improvement.
The second version Kotlin v1.2 was released on 28 Nov 2017 while the third and the latest Kotlin v1.3 was on 29 Oct 2018.
At Google’s annual developers’ conference, Google I/O, held in 2017, Google announced first-class support for Kotlin on Android, declaring it as the second official programming language.
Finally, on May 7, 2019, Google announced Koltin as its preferred language for Android app development.
Disadvantages Of Java
Java is a popular programming language, which comes with vast open source tools and libraries. But, it surely has its demerits too and can sometimes make the job of a developer cumbersome.
Java may be widely preferred programming language by almost all the app developers around the world; there are many reasons why it might not be the best choice for Android App Development Company.
The reasons are as under:
- Java is not a well-documented language. It has less extendibility, null-unsafety issue and many more. It severely lacks the features of a functional programming language.
- When compared with other modern programming languages, java’s syntax is inept. This makes the coding process lengthy and burdensome, even for writing a simple application.
- Java lacks the lambda function. Lambda functions are an essential feature of modern programming language. Java experts are still working on to add this feature to it.
- Java has excellent community support as it has a large number of users. Hence, the tutorial sea is vast, which allows you to find an answer to any problem you are facing. But the language closed. Its developers do not keep in mind the needs and opinions of software developers
- The limitations of this language cause problem with Android API design
- The language is slower when compared to other modern words.
- As it runs Java Virtual Machine (JVM), it requires a lot of memory.
- Due to higher memory and processing requirements, the hardware cost is higher.
- A Java programmer does not enjoy any right to have control over garbage collection.
- The look and feel of GUI applications written in Java are very different from native apps.
Why Was Kotlin Made The Official Language Replacing Java?
The Kotlin language has introduced solutions to the programming issues faced by developers and improve the overall Java ecosystem.
So, who will win the battle – Java or Kotlin? Let’s analyze that aspect from Kotlin’s perspective.
Some of its basic features, which set it apart from its competitors and make it a sought after programming language worldwide are as under:
1. Cleaner Syntax
Kotlin possesses a clean and intuitive syntax similar to swift. It is best known for its simplicity and precision. Every programming model has its own merits and demerits.
Kotlin has a combination of the best attributes of functional as well as procedural programming.
This is why it is capable of delivering the best results during Android App development. When it comes to simplicity and precision, it beats the Java language.
2. Easy Learning
The expertise and knowledge of Java developers prove useful in using the Kotlin language.
This language is quite easy and straightforward to learn due to which Java developers can excel in it in no time.
They can adequately grasp the language and apply their knowledge. Kotlin is more like an improvement over Java.
Even the syntaxes in Kotlin are very much similar to that of Java’s.
3. 100% Interoperable With Java
One of the essential reasons why Google made Kotlin as the first-class language in Android app development is its 100% Interoperability with Java.
Kotlin runs smoothly on JVM (Java Virtual Machine) because it is a JVM programming language. This means that Java libraries are quite compatible with.
Kotlin and can be used by them to write codes using Kotlin for developing Android apps.
Also, developers can generate Java code from Kotlin with the help of the converters provided by JetBrains.
This flawless compatibility between Java and Kotlin allows for the improvement of apps written in Java with the help of Kotlin.
4. Kotlin Is Safe
This is one of the essential features of Kotlin, which makes it a useful programming language.
One of the most significant issues faced by developers while writing apps in any programming language, including Java, is NullPointerException. These kinds of problems detected at runtime resulting in the crash of the applications.
Kotlin language takes care of this significant issue as it eradicates the NullPointerException from code. This means that developers can detect the errors at compile time rather than runtime.
It is easier to identify the errors just by looking at it. The Kotlin compiler doesn’t support a flawed-process and refuses to continue if any errors are detected. As a result, one can fix the bugs and glitches during the compile time.
Moreover, its stability allows developers to write more error-free apps and uploading the same to the Playstore.
5. Excellent Android Studio Support
The configuration process is quite straightforward and straightforward. Android Studio will take you through the configuration tour with minimum actions.
Besides a smooth configuration process, Kotlin tools make the development process quite simple and pretty.
No matter what android API level applies to your app, you can access all the standard tools and features offered by Kotlin.
6. Performance And Speed
If we talk about speed and performance, Java is still faster than Kotlin in many aspects. However, the Kotlin language supports inline functions, which increases the execution speed of lambda functions.
Also, the compact runtime library of Kotlin has fewer methods when compared to Java. Kotlin tools further allow the developers to compress the runtime library. As a result, an application written in Kotlin runs faster than the application written in Java.
7. It Is Concise And Compact
The class written in Kotlin is concise, small, and to the point when compared with the class written in Java language. Due to this, you need to code in Kotlin.
It has also reduced the boilerplate codes as compared to Java. The requirement of less coding is beneficial in a variety of ways such as less development time, low development cost, fewer bugs and glitches, and many more.
Due to these features, this language gained utmost popularity in a short period as the most preferred language for Android.
8. Excellent Support For IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) And Android Tools
Android’s Integrated Development Environment provides complete tooling support for Kotlin. That is the reason Android developers can take massive advantage of robust IDEs while developing Android apps with Kotlin.
With Kotlin, developers can write code for Android apps more efficiently using the development tools provided by Kotlin’s team.
The Android extension of Kotlin allows developers to get rid of findViewByld calls and replace them with synthetic compiler-generated properties.
The Kotlin library (Anko) helps developers to faster the process of app development. Due to this, the application code in Kotlin is more readable and clean.
9. Extension Functions
The extension functions in Kotlin help developers to add methods to classes without making any changes to the source code.
One can add methods on a per-user basis to classes. Developers are often rejecting extension functions, but it is not wrong to have the option of using them whenever required.
10. Huge Community Forum
Kotlin has a vast community forum with an enormous tutorial sea coming across from developers and experts across the globe.
This helps developers in finding answers to any problems they face during app development.
Moreover, the developers at the Jetbrains team are very considerate of the opinions shared in the community forum.
They every idea and proposal of the community into consideration and keeps them in mind while developing or improving the language.
11. Wide Scope In Future
The brain behind Kotlin- The Jetbrains team is continuously working on it to run Kotlin codes in multiple platforms without using JVM (Java Virtual Machine).
Thus writing codes will become much faster without using Java. The other platforms aimed by the team are Web (both backend and frontend), IOS and Game development.
12. User Support
The vast community forum plays a crucial role in the evolution of the language, continually posting ideas and proposals to provide users with solutions to their problems.
Then, there is the Kotlin slack team, which readily helps users with their issues and concerns.
Things To Be Kept In Mind Before Making The Switch From Java To Kotlin
The following essential points need to be kept in mind when deciding if Kotlin is the right choice for your mobile apps:
1. Is Your Team Ready To Make The Switch?
Before switching, it is essential to make sure that your team is ready. Though it is easier for Java developers, yet learning a new language will require your team to master some new features.
There will be many obstacles in the way that one needs to handle efficiently. You might also face resistance from some of your team members. A peaceful and amicable discussion is the solution for taking this forward.
2. The Impact On Your Existing App Architecture To Make The Switch
It is essential to acknowledge the possible impact of the switch on your existing app architecture. You need to determine how your app architecture is composed.
Some changes will result in creating new classes, or deletion or merging of existing classes and artifacts. The resulting output could be a great one or a complete mess.
If your architecture is composed of wired components, it will be comparatively difficult to make the changes.
For knowing more on this subject in-depth, you need to contact and Hire Android App Developer from a reputed organization. He/She will be able to guide you.
In the case of loosely coupled components, changes will be more accessible and testable.
3. Consider The Drawbacks Of The Language
Like any other programming language, Kotlin also has its disadvantages. So, if your team is preparing to switch to Kotlin, it is essential to acquaint yourself with its drawbacks before moving ahead.
Let us have a glimpse of some of its demerits:
- When changing the entire team to Kotlin, the language’s concise syntax can pose as a challenge sometimes as it might be a little difficult to learn and follow for the team.
- Kotlin has a relatively smaller developer community than Java. Due to this, the learning resources limited. One might not always find the answers to one’s questions. But this is quite expected given the language is new as compared to Java, which is around three decades old.
- As this language entirely new in the software old, developers are not yet quite matured in this. Hence, finding an experienced developer will be a difficult task.
- Some developers have reported a slower compilation speed while working with Kotlin. But this has been controversial as the result of different reports till date has been altered.
- Writing apps with Kotlin requires a lesser number of codes. But, it is very likely to increase the method counts of the compiled code.
- Switching to Kotlin will require some additional investments in terms of training of the team. Your organization might also need to wait for a longer time before it gets to see fruitful results.
There is no doubt in the fact that Kotlin is the future of Android Development, which contributed to making it the official language for Android development.
It is a promising language, which has matured since its inception. With its partnership with Google, Kotlin is sure to undergo further upgrades, which will issue all its drawbacks and make it one of the best programming languages surpassing all its competitors.
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