Kotlin vs. Scala: What Measures Slither Them In Popularity Over Java?

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Let’s figure out the top features that make Kotlin and Scala fare better than Java in Android App Development!

The slow evolution of Java has led to an increasing interest in JVM languages. There must be more than 50 JVM languages (some high-profile, some implementations of existing languages, some new languages with JVM implementations), even if you are familiar with a dozen of them or so, it is likely that you will pick a new one for your next project.

The current trend has been cast away from dynamic scripting languages for application customization towards statically-typed general-purpose languages for application development.

While some developers are born C programmers, some have an innate connection to Lisp and others swear by Perl. Developer’s predilections are not defined and language preferences vary. Java.next ideates that no particular language will dominate the Android App Development landscape because there is no single perfect language for everyone.

Rise and Fall of Java

Java has faced an uphill battle for adoption. Being slower than compiled languages popular at that time, it used to be memory hungry and was simultaneously not suitable for then-predominant client/server style of development.

The grace that saved Java was its relative ease of use (via garbage collection) and Applets. And as the landscape turned dynamic, Java survived. But this question was still open-ended. With the steady growth of the world-wide-web and its applicability with Java, several server-side deployment models mitigated the ongoing cons of Java. The combination of factors included web, hardware and programming paradigm.

The Emergence of New JVM Languages

Developers were always in need to have new tools and techniques to program the web. Server-Side Java has alleviated memory constraints. Although Java has become a dominant force in the software industry, any attempts to identify the next JVM language with a similar impact as JAVA are distant and not likely to succeed. But simultaneously we have entered a polyglot world of computer languages with an upward trend. Therefore, predictions are blurry and it is unlikely that a series of circumstances will line up well for another language.

Which programming paradigms are supported?

Java.next languages either support one or multiple paradigms (which might include object orientation, meta-programming, functional and procedural, etc.) Kotlin, Scala and Groovy are all multi-paradigm. They are both functional and object-oriented.

  • What is Groovy: It is an object-oriented language with functional extensions via libraries.
  • What is Scala: It is a hybrid object-oriented and functional language, with emphasis on functional programming preferences such as immutability and laziness.
  • What is Kotlin: It is an object-oriented programming language that connects object-oriented programming features like Range Expressions, Extension Function, Companion Object, and Smart Casts, etc.

Programming languages with multi-paradigm approach offer immense power to resolve problems with the same intensity. Groovy, Scala, and Kotlin provide many more facilities, including meta-programming and functional constructs. Although they’re powerful, multi-paradigm languages require more developer discipline on large projects. These support many different abstractions that are used by developers to create different variants in libraries.

Distinguishing Kotlin vs. Scala

Slant.co recommends Kotlin above Scala for all android app development projects. While Kotlin ranks 11th, Scala stands 17th amongst the best functional programming languages to learn first. One of the reasons behind this is the support by Intellij for Kotlin. Another reason to choose Kotlin is that it works well with existing Java tools such as Eclipse, Maven, Gradle, Android Studio, etc.

Scala: Ranking and Applications

Scala rebounded in popularity following the shipment of Java 8 (that majorly supports lambdas and stream functions). A-List startups have already shown a lot of interest making it one of the most sought after programming languages in 2019. Companies that are making use of Scala include: LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, Netflix, Tumblr, The Guardian, precog, Sony, Airbnb, Klout, Apple, Uber, Verizon, Meetup.com, Remember The Milk, The Swiss bank UBS, Gilt, New York Times, SoundCloud, Morgan Stanley, Huffington Post, Autodesk, etc. Popular Scala frameworks include Play, Akka, and Spark are also helping companies adopt Scala for web development and Big Data solutions.

Pros:

  • Full Support for Pattern Matching, Macros, and Higher-Kinded Types
  • Write Once, Run Everywhere
  • Bigger Community Support
  • Operator Overloading

Cons:

  • Slow Compilation
  • Binary Compilation Is Challenging
  • Less Efficient in the Management of Null Safety

Kotlin: Ranking and Applications

Kotlin, which has partly succeeded Java in an object-oriented and functional paradigm, inheriting most of the basics and adding its own versatility, Stack Overflow Survey 2018 counted it as the second most loved programming languages. It has been leading amongst the fastest growing programming languages in the world. Google makes the best bet upon Kotlin for upcoming enterprise support. But this last one still remains a riddle for Android App Development Community. Companies using Kotlin include Uber, Gradle, Atlassian, Pinterest, Evernote, Corda, Coursera and Pivotal, etc. Popular Kotlin frameworks include Kanary, Spek, Klaxon, Kotlin NoSQL, Kwery, Kotlin-Core, etc. are also helping companies adopt Kotlin for web development.

Pros:

  • Write concise, expressible and efficient code.
  • Offers all features of the functional and object-oriented paradigm.
  • Java and Kotlin codes are inter-convertible, which makes Kotlin succeed Java efficiently.
  • Kotlin code looks like Java and behaves like C/C++, which makes it endure all the object-oriented features.
  • Kotlin comes along with null safety feature, extension functions, smart casts, string templates, first-class delegation, primary constructors, type interface for variable property types, type projections, singletons, declaration-site variance, companion objects, operator overloading, data classes, co-routines, separate interfaces for reading only and mutable collections.

Cons:

  • Does not support pattern matching.
  • Extra Runtime Size
  • Initial Readability of Code
  • Lack of Official Support (Google does not support it, although it has joined hands with Jet-brains to support Kotlin)
  • The absence of raw types
  • The absence of proper function types (SAM Conversions)
  • Lack of invariant arrays 

What TIOBE index says?

According to recently updated (updated June 2019) TIOBE index, (The TIOBE Programming Community index), Scala programming language ranks at the 31st spot and Kotlin ranks at 40th spot.

TIOBE index

tiobe-index-2

Image Source: tiobe.com/tiobe-index/

Criterial

Android Developer India understands that the usefulness of a programming language is majorly determined by its relevance for a specific task, or its generic-ness across the applications. It comes with either limited functionality or is overloaded with too much functionality to make it over-complex.

Stack Overview Survey for programming languages in 2019 shows – Rust, TypeScript, Kotlin, Python, and WebAssembly as 5 most loved languages which the developers wish to continue working with.

The emergence of scripting facilities has been one of the growth factors for alternative programming languages on the JVM. These offer some innovative features that weren’t provided by Java or its standard libraries, due to Java backward-compatibility principles.  Scala and Groovy were the first successful projects to offer something beyond Java.

Amongst the most popular languages for android application development – Kotlin, Groovy, Scala and Clojure have found their niches in the market and are becoming more popular, and languages like Ceylon, Xtend and Fantom are relatively new on our radars, gaining credibility and in need of some investigation. Interested in android application development services? Read about Kotlin vs. Java, we tooted on the way up here and allow us to coax you up to share your ideas, and get a free quote instantly!

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About Author

Manish Jain

Manish Jain is the co-founder and Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions. He is responsible for the overall operations of the company and has played a major role in bringing Konstant up from its humble beginnings and, with his immense energy and drive, transforming it into a globally trusted name in IT solutions.

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