Choosing The Right Platform For Android App Development – Kotlin Vs. Java

Java is the first programming language which comes to your mind when you think about Android app development. Most of the Android apps are written in Java but you can also write Android apps in other language and compile it on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). One such recently popular JVM compatible language is Kotlin, which is the programming language from JetBrains. As an Android developer, you might be curious to know what benefits Kotlin offers as compared to Java before you make a decision to switch to Kotlin.

First of all, let’s understand what is Kotlin and what it offers.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a statically typed cross-platform, general-purpose programming language for Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and JavaScript. Since the release of Android Studio 3.0 in October 2017, Kotlin is included as an alternative to the standard Java compiler. With the latest release of Kotlin 1.3, JetBrains has introduced Kotlin/Native beta which allows compiling Kotlin code to native binaries which can run without a virtual machine.

Kotlin introduces functional features to support interoperability and intelligibility. The goal of Project Kotlin is to improve the coding experience in a way that was practical and effectual.

Now let’s have a look at Kotlin vs. Java, which language does a better job for you.

Community Support

Java language is into existence since decades and hence has a very large community of Java programmers where you can get answers of whatever question you have for your application development. It means that if you are stuck at any point of time, you will get quick support from Java community and documentation it contains.

Google helps you in finding answers to your Java issues because of the large community and support. The same doesn’t apply to Kotlin as yet because it is a relatively new language. This is one of the factors which makes Java a better choice when it comes to choosing Kotlin vs. Java for Android app development. There are number of books, tutorials and learning courses; free and paid which can guide you for Java based Android app development but you may not find much of it for Kotlin based Android app development.

Moreover, lack of official support of Kotlin platform makes it the biggest drawback and it is one of the biggest advantages of the Java platform.

It is also true that with passage of time, Kotlin will improve and overcome the problems of community and forums. Let us have a look at the advantages of Android application development Kotlin. These features and advantages can be considered while switching to Kotlin.

Interoperability & Learning

One of the greatest strengths of Kotlin is its level of interoperability between Kotlin and Java. You can use Java and Kotlin code side by side in same project and everything will compile in proper manner. As a developer you will also be able to use the majority of Java libraries and frameworks in your Kotlin projects including the advanced frameworks.

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Once the Java and Kotlin project is compiled, the users won’t be able to judge which part of project is written in Kotlin and which part is written in Java. As a developer, you don’t need to convert project from Java to Kotlin or creating a new project when you go with Kotlin for your Android app development projects. If you have a project which you are working on, then you can try using Kotlin for small modules without affecting the entire application base code. If you decide to move further with Kotlin development, then you can migrate existing Java code to Kotlin or use new classes and features of Kotlin.

The main aim of Kotlin is enhancing Java and not complete rewrite, thus the skills acquired on Java will be applicable in Kotlin projects as well. Kotlin has a quick learning curve for Java developers. Kotlin is intuitive and also easy to read.

Programming Paradigm

There are number of programming paradigm but the question is which approach is the best for you. You have to choose between procedural and functional but Kotlin solves your problem. Like many other modern programming languages, Kotlin combines the concepts of functional and procedural programming.

However, Kotlin is not the perfect programming language as it is still evolving. The standard library and runtime of Kotlin increases the size of Android app .apk file. Lesser code is a strength of Kotlin but it makes difficult to decipher the code. Java needs more code but it is clearly spelled. It means that unfamiliar Java code can be easily deciphered as compared to unfamiliar Kotlin code.

Android Studio Support

Kotlin has been developed by JetBrains and thus Android studio has great support for Kotlin. Once you install the Kotlin plugin, Android studio makes the configurations in project just by opening a few menus. Once the plugin is setup, IDE will have no issue in compiling, understanding, and running the Kotlin code. Android studio offers the features and support of debugging, code navigation, unit testing, auto completion for Kotlin.

Once your configured Kotlin in your project inside Android Studio, you’ll be able to convert an entire Java source file into a Kotlin file, with just a few clicks. Yes, it’s that easy!

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Classes

If you compare Java class and Kotlin class which produce the same results, then you can find the one written in Kotlin is much more concise. Using Kotlin, you can achieve same results but with lesser code than using Java. It is a fact that less code means fewer bugs. Kotlin is well known and very good at reducing the boilerplate code which makes coding in Kotlin a much more enjoyable experience.

2019 Outlook For Kotlin

With leading brands like Amazon, Pinterest, Netflix, Uber, and Trello all using Kotlin, and almost global attachment to the programming language from JetBrains and supported by Google, it is worth assuming that Kotlin will be around for a while.

Kotlin has gained confidence of developers interested in modern programming and is rapidly becoming a superior programming language for Android app development. Developers can shift between OO, FP, scripting, and declarative paradigms with almost zero effort, thus setting a new standard for what a programming language should be able to accomplish.

Excited to learn how your next Android app development project can get benefits by Kotlin? Feel free to connect with us and we are happy to help you!

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