It is no secret that in the world of software engineering, changes happen fast. Developers are always on the lookout for new technologies that let them perform their tasks better. Applications, websites and other products that run on old software also need to be upgraded, to improve performance and reduce any risk of security breaches that come from newly engineered viruses and ransomware. In this article, we will be taking a look at Kotlin, a programming language developed by a company called Jetbrains and why it is the best choice for developing android apps at the moment.
What Is Kotlin?
Kotlin is a cross-platform, general-purpose programming language that was developed by Jetbrains that first appeared in 2012. It is statically typed and is heavily used in mobile app development, and is recently becoming popular for server-side development. Kotlin is a cross-platform programming language that mixes Object-Oriented and Functional Programming with a focus on interoperability, safety, clarity, and tools support.
Unlike other languages, such as Swift, the Kotlin release went through a number of phases before reaching version 1.0. This implies that working with Kotlin seldom causes complications, and everything works as expected. Kotlin is also open source, which is something that many programmers search for in a programming language.
Benefits Of Kotlin Vs Java
For many years, JAVA was the only language that could be used to create Android apps using Google’s approved IDEs. Because JAVA is an old language, developers often run into certain issues while building Android apps. Kotlin is much simpler than Java but is just as powerful. In this section, we will look at the benefits of Kotlin over Java
It is simpler than java as it requires fewer lines of code to do the same job as a java program. This is better for readability and reduces errors in itself. It also makes it efficient and flexible when it comes to any changes that must be done later to it. However it is just as powerful as java when you consider the capabilities of the language
- It is safer
Java is known for its NullPointerException, which crops up everywhere. This exception is considered to be a design flaw in the part of Java. Kotlin is designed to be more robust and known for its features like null safety that help app developers skim over common development problems that occur in Java.
- Easy to learn
Kotlin is considered easier to learn and use when compared to Java, despite it being an industry standard for developing android apps. This is because compared to java, Kotlin is more intelligently designed to produce less difficulties in production.
- Smart casts
If someone is writing Java code, They’ll need to manually check the variable types. They must also manually cast the type according to the operator’s instructions. Kotlin, on the other hand, has a feature called smart casts which handles all data casting. Its intelligent compiler makes sure that all casts are filled with stable values.
- Better in Functional programming
Java was not built for functional programming, which is a declarative programming technique that defines functions as trees of expressions that map their values to different parts of the program without relying on a sequence of statements. This increases the modularity in development.
- It supports Operator overloading
Developers can easily utilize mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, and division with Kotlin. As a result, using symbols, they can quickly compare items or conduct an equality check. The Java programming language associates mathematical operations with specific Java data types and doesn’t support operator overloading.
- Community support
Being open source, kotlin has garnered just as much community support for itself as the very popular Java. Google itself has created about 60 apps in Kotlin, including Google maps and Drive. It was announced by the company that Kotlin will get first-class support from 2007.
Advantages Of developing Android Apps With Kotlin
In this section, we will specifically look at the advantages offered by Kotlin when it comes to android app development. As you will learn, there are many reasons why a company like Google preferred it to be the official language developers use to create android apps.
Developing Android apps is much easier with Kotlin
As we have covered earlier, Kotlin was specifically designed with modularity in mind, which is very helpful in the development process of Android. Kotlin’s compilation speeds are already comparable to Java’s (in certain tests, even quicker), and the library necessary to develop Kotlin Apps is quite tiny. The compilation process is also well developed in Kotlin, and the Kotlin compiler works with the principle “Fail fast & often” so as to lessen any amount of bugs that may be still present at the final deployment stage.
It’s seamlessly integrated with Android Studio
Kotlin as a programming language is so well integrated with an android studio that even if you don’t know anything about Kotlin, you can set up and start working on a Kotlin project in less than 10 minutes. You can accomplish this with Android 2.3 by installing a plugin, and with Android 3.0, the entire process will be smoothly integrated without you having to do anything. From there, everything works the same way it does in Java: you can run your code from the IDE, debug without problems, refactor it, and utilize instant run.
Interoperability with Java
Apart from this it is to be noted that Java code can be converted to Kotlin and vice versa. By default, the Android Kotlin compiler generates Java 8 bytecode, which may run on any subsequent JVM. As of Kotlin 1.5, it is highly interoperable with Java, which is deemed stable. This is very useful because this means you don’t need to write your old applications from scratch if you want to upgrade them. Currently both Kotlin and Java files may coexist in Android and Kotlin can use Java frameworks and libraries not only for developing new apps but also for improving existing Java apps.
Reasons why you should start using Kotlin for Android
Now we take a look at why you as a developer may want to start using Kotlin for android development.
The language is mature
Unlike comparable languages such as Swift, the Kotlin release went through several iterations before reaching version 1.0. The plugins and IDEs work well together, and the IDEs already support many of the development features that Java developers may be familiar with. Languages like Scala are heavier for developers to create android apps even though they are considered far more mature, so considering all this, Kotlin is the best pick.
Many companies are already using it in production
Many well known companies are already using Kotlin to make efficient apps and many others have migrated their apps that were based on other languages to Kotlin. Companies like Pinterest, NetFlix, Amazon, and Trello have already implemented it in their Android app’s new features. Certain other companies like Basecamp have opted to develop their apps 100% in Kotlin.
Kotlin is multi-platform
Because Kotlin was designed with the JVM in mind, it can be used on almost any device that can run the JVM. However, Kotlin was not created just for the purpose of writing Android apps. Developers will be able to write Gradle files in Kotlin owing to Gradle support, and thanks to Kotlin Native, the future is accessible to almost any platform. Additionally, Kotlin JS has been launched, allowing developers to use Kotlin for front-end development.
Kotlin is expected to grow significantly
7.8 percent of industry specialists are now using Kotlin. Kotlin was the 4th most popular language in 2020, according to StackOverflow, with 62.9 percent of votes. Kotlin is expected to continue to grow in the coming years at the same rate. Kotlin isn’t going to completely replace java, as it is older and many legacy hardware run on it. Businesses are also starting to invest money in training their new employees in Kotlin, and if you already know Kotlin, you will have a significant advantage during job interviews.
Developers become versatile when they learn Kotlin
Lambdas, extension functions, functional operations on collections, sealed classes, data classes are just a few examples of common things that are used while designing good android apps. They exist in most existing languages, but under various names. Kotlin’s modular approach is used in many other languages like Swift, Groovy and Ruby. This makes it easier for developers to understand related languages.
As you can see there are a lot of advantages that kotlin offers specifically in relationship with developing android applications. With google officially making it the preferred language for developers to make android apps, it has both community support and features in it. It is also easy to learn.
However if you want to develop good apps using kotlin, you better approach a good Kotlin development company like Nextbrain. It’s because such companies have the time, experience and resources needed to complete a complicated project swiftly. Nextbrain is a Canadian company operating from Toronto that has years of experience serving such client requests.