Kotlin vs Java: Which will Succeed Android Development in Coming Times

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Kotlin vs Java is the new furor where Kotlin takes the opening set off, can compile and run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM) making it a First-set FairyTale!

Statista reported 52.2% of worldwide online traffic generated through mobile phones in 2018. There has been a simultaneous increase in cross-platform programming, a much awaited switch from core native (that is expensive) and an increase in interest in progressive web apps. Technologies like Kotlin, AR, VR, IoT, Chatbots have further strengthened Android App Development.

Mobile Apps have reduced to mere commodities in recent few years. Nobody lures for new apps anymore. Most of Android App Development Companies have centralized their innovation budgets on integrating additional features into existing powerhouse apps. Keeping users engaged, retaining them instead of attracting potential ones has become forte recently.

Industries that are empowering their own-selves with this idea are wearables – smartwatches, fitness bands, sensors (any) and overall public acceptance to expose private data in exchange for fitness benefits set the stage for health apps (Android) to dominate in 2019.

Consumers look for more convenient apps rather than smarter apps. An app that is adept in efficient AI predicting repetitive routine tasks and suggesting solutions to save time for consumers are going to be a huge business for the teams who are able to implement it in the correct way.

Instead of focusing on new apps, innovation budgets are focusing more and more on centralization and the integration of additional features into existing powerhouse apps.

Right since Java originated, mobile app developers have been using it to develop Android apps. But few know that Android has officially adopted Kotlin as the supported language for mobile development services. Android developers are often confused as to which programming language would acquire the scenario in future but Java is still favorite for Android App Development. It is second most popular language (67%) on GITHUB in 2018 after JavaScript (97%). One of the burning questions these days is a differentiation between Java and Kotlin. Android apps can be written in any language and can run on Java virtual machine (JVM). Kotlin is one such JVM compatible programming language that compiles down to Java bytecode and has really caught the attention of Android Community.

Instead of browsing all the way down, according to me, by all odds it’s Kotlin.

Kotlin was first introduced by JetBrains in 2011, which is the originator of IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, and many other top IDEs. It got its name from ‘Kotlin Island’ in St. Petersburg, Russia. Kotlin was actually created to be better than Java in every possible way. But JetBrains didn’t put an effort to write an entire new IDE’s from scratch. This was the reason why Kotlin was made 100% interoperable with Java. If you’re planning to fiddle around with Kotlin along with Java, you can do that without guilt.

Kotlin sharing and app-cloud based services which offer a higher level feature set like Google Firebase will feature on Android as a platform in coming times.

Kotlin programming language for:

  • Android
  • Native
  • JVM
  • Browser

Why Kotlin?

Concise:

Drastically decrease the volume of boilerplate code

ConciseSource: https://kotlinlang.org

Safe:

Avoid whole classes of errors like null pointer exceptions.

SafeSource: https://kotlinlang.org

Interoperable:

Use any existing libraries for the Android, JVM, and the browser.

InteroperableSource: https://kotlinlang.org

Tool-friendly:

Select any Java IDE or create from the command line.

ToolingSource: https://kotlinlang.org

Kotlin vs Java features comparison:

Features

Kotlin

Java

Fully OPP (Object Oriented Programming)Fully OPPNot Pure OPP
Functional Reactive ProgrammingYesNo
Lambda ExpressionYesNo
NULL SafetyYesNo
Invariant ArrayYesNo
Smart CastsYesNo
Singleton ObjectsEasily create Singleton ObjectsYes
Checked ExceptionNoYes

Most Wanted Programming Languages 2019

Most Loved Languages

Source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2019#most-loved-dreaded-and-wanted

Also read: Kotlin is the New Java for Developing Android Apps

Why would a Java Developer switch to Kotlin?

Android development has always been tagged with Java Development. But Kotlin has outpaced it in performance, simplicity, maintainability, robustness, and lightweight code. Developers and users lure for feature-rich, effective and cost-efficient mobile apps that help increase the efficiency of processes, increasing competencies, meet customers’ expectations, help maintain business’ reputation and remove uncertainty. That is quite a bit. Google has already extended its support to the Android community for using Kotlin as ‘first-class’ language.

Kotlin adds some modern features to Java Mobile Development like compiling the code to JavaScript or native to build code that can run on iOS. It is easy as it works upon JVM, is statically typed and open-source language. Pinterest, Trello, Carlens are some amazing apps being created by Kotlin.

Java has been a favorite option of developers for Android App Development ever since. It is an object-oriented language that is second most loved language on GitHub. Been there for more than 20 years, its popularity only seems to grow.

Although Kotlin seems to work back to back with Java for front-end development, it is already being utilized in backend projects like Spring 5. It can compile to almost every platform including Android, JVM, Native and JavaScript and can extract one common codebase that will target all of them at the same time. Its scripting capabilities make it easy to handle all Gradle build scripts. Its built-in null safety support makes it win over Android that is full of old Java-style API’s. Being compatible with all Java libraries and frameworks, the JVM, Gradle integration and Mavel build systems, it allows Android developers to write new modules and write them alongside existing Java code. Plus it supports modern programming concepts like higher-order functions, extension functions, delegates which help build clean API’s.

It always has Java by its side, due to the presence of Android SDK. Slower compilation seems to be the only feature that needs an update in Kotlin. Famous Java use cases include Android-oss,  NewPipe and WordPress Engineering, etc.

So the main reason behind Kotlin’s adoption is that it addresses issues left behind by Java and ranks amongst the top 5 favourite programing languages amongst developers. Kotlin has inbuilt safety mechanisms as discussed above in addition to being concise and expressive than Java at the same time.

Java is a widely used programming language and forms the basis of Android development. There can be many reasons why Java for Android Development is not always preferred:

  • Java is not a modern language
  • Android only supports a subset of Java 8 features. In a way, Android developers are not able to reap full benefits of Java. In case they require making use of Java, then they will have to stick to Java 7.
  • Java comes with some well-documented language issues like endless try-catch blocks, null-unsafety, NullPointerExceptions and lack of extendability.
  • Java is still a procedural language although it is starting to add lambda expressions and functional interfaces recently
  • The syntax of Java is very complex and writing longer code can always be prone to more errors and bugs
  • Java can create issues with Android API design
  • Do you still need to remember most of the code while you code in Java? It can be creepy and messy sometimes!

How can Java to Kotlin conversion be done?

Heard about JetBrains’ Java to Kotlin converter integrated into IntelliJ ? It seems like an easy option but is not completely error free. But it can help save a lot of code. Migrating the entire Java code can be tiresomely long without it.

What Kotlin programming language does better?

  • It removes the tragedy faced while adding an existing object.
  • Omits the need to learn new languages.
  • Removes or reduces the need to write native code for some features.
  • Drops the need to be laggy in some specific cases.

How can switch from Java to Kotlin be helpful?

  • Kotlin is definitely a modern answer to older Java. There are some factors that make Kotlin stand out from the crowd, as there are many options available
  • Kotlin is simultaneously operable with Java. We can have both Java and Kotlin code co-exist within a single project. Both codes can compile perfectly and users are not even able to make out which part of the code is Kotlin and which part is Java.
  • Kotlin and Java classes can be written simultaneously. There is no requirement to convert the entire project to Kotlin or starting a new project. Alternatively, small chunks of codes can be written in Kotlin and can be inserted as and when required, without affecting the entire code.
  • Kotlin has the majority of Java libraries and frameworks
  • Kotlin is a simple enhancement of Java, so a java developer or an existing java application user will be easily able to comprehend what Kotlin code is doing. It looks familiar, the code is easy to read and understand.
  • Kotlin aims to gel up with the best of both functional as well as procedural approaches, as there is no easy answer to which approach is best.
  • Android studio has an excellent support for Kotlin. After you install Kotlin plugin, Android Studio makes it easy to configure Kotlin plugin in your project. Once this is done, the IDE will automatically understand the underlying functionality like Kotlin code compilation, and execution. Debugging, code navigation, unit testing, auto-completion and full refactoring support. Once all of this is set, converting an entire Java code into Kotlin can be accomplished in a single click.

Top Brands that is Using Kotlin in Their Development Environments?

  • Uber
  • Evernote
  • Gradle
  • Pinterest
  • Pivotal
  • Atlassian
  • Corda
  • Coursera

Lopping off

Out of various programming paradigms, which are currently in use, it’s not easy to evaluate which approach will turn out to be the best or reap rewards beyond expectations. Each of these programming paradigms has their own set of strengths and weakness. There can be various scenarios where functional programming approach can be effective while procedural approach can be simultaneously used in other places.

Is the differentiation between functional and procedural apt? Kotlin is the merger of both functional and procedural approach and aims to bring out the best from the two. Once you gain an experience in Java application development, you will have an even better understanding and appreciation for Kotlin.

Understanding all the above features, differences and benefits Kotlin fares even well when combined with latest technological innovations:

  • Chatbots will represent 1/4th of customer service operations by 2020.
  • Blockchain concept will expand beyond financial apps with drastic transformation in mobile computing – advancement in core sciences and technologies.
  • Google has recently rolled out a new dynamic delivery model known as Android App Bundle, which is a new way to package Android Apps, modularizing them to consume less storage space on devices.

We have coalesced android app developer India, who will delight you with their expertise in Android Development. Request a free consultation!

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About Author
Neeti Kotia

Neeti Kotia

Neeti got her master's degree in software engineering in 2009 and has been working since for software companies of all sizes as a technical writer. What started as a high school passion has now been converted into a serious profession. She has a special knack of learning from all verticals and imbibing the extracts into her writing. She enjoys learning technical aspects of writing from her tasks where her experience and understanding are most impactful.

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3 responses to “Kotlin vs Java: Which will Succeed Android Development in Coming Times”

  1. rajat naik says:

    “Java is still a procedural language although it is starting to add lambda expressions and functional interfaces recently” Java is the first object oriented programming language. Now every programming laguage follows the trend.

    • Java will remain the de-facto programming language, enable Android developers to write managed code and keep a check on their Android device. It is a building block for programming on Android platform. Mobile Application Development for Android platform starts with Java + Android SDK. As we think of upgrading our applications, add some new features, fight off with the issues of previous version, Kotlin comes into picture. As latter sweepstakes the scenario, it can be considered as a reliable and tranquil option to Android application development.

    • Dipesh Rana says:

      Java coding is hard … and java syntax is also too lengthy….. i am java developer … but i think kotlin is best for android apps development…. if you have basic knowledge about java …. so you can easily understatand kotlin..

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