Why Kotlin is the Future of Android App Development

 
Why Kotlin is the Future of Android App Development

In our programming languages family, we have an addition and it is none other than Kotlin. Kotlin is a programming language, developed by JetBrains, a company from St. Petersburg.

In Google I/O ‘17, they had finally announced that Kotlin will receive formal first-class assistance for android. We can say that Kotlin is formally in for android development and Java is almost pushed out of the frame.

Java has been usually preferred by almost all the app developers around the globe. But now, we have reasons to believe that Java may not be Android Studio’s best programming language any more.

Kotlin’s popularity peaked after being declared a formally supported language. It has been witnessed as the second most popular programming language after Java-script by the end of 2018.

Since Google promoted Kotlin as an official language for the development of android apps in 2017, most companies have moved their mobile apps based on Java into Kotlin. As a result, most popular Android apps like Pinterest, Evernote, Twitter, and Flipboard have chosen Kotlin for the development of android apps.

As of March 2019, Google’s play store has over 35,000 applications using Kotlin, with a market share of 4.81 percent.

Java vs Kotlin

Pros of Kotlin

Performance

JetBrains claims that a Kotlin application runs as fast and equivalent to one on Java, thanks to very similar bytecode structure. Yet, Kotlin’s support for inline functions allows a code using lambdas to run even faster than the same code written in Java.

Null Safety in Kotlin

Kotlin programming language’s type system aims at eliminating the perils of null references from code, which is often called The Billion Dollar Mistake. For example, in Java, accessing a member of null reference results in a null reference exception. Kotlin doesn’t compile code that assigns or returns a null. This is seen as one of the most important features of Kotlin.

Improved Efficiency

With a concise and intuitive syntax, Kotlin provides an increase in the efficiency of the developers. Fewer code lines and lesser time is required to write and deploy a program in Kotlin. As a result, you will get your app developed quickly.
Whereas Java is quite a heavy language. It  requires long codes that result in consuming more time and developers ends up with more errors and bugs.

Data Classes

Full-size projects have several classes that are solely meant to hold data. Though these classes have very little to no functionality, a developer needs to write a lot of boilerplate code in Java.

Usually, a developer needs to define a constructor, several fields to store the data, getter and setter functions for each of the fields, equals(), hashCode(), and toString() functions.

Kotlin has a very simple way of creating such classes. The developer needs only to include the data keyword in the class definition, and voila! The compiler will take care of the entire task on its own.

Extension Functions

Kotlin allows developers to extend a class with new functionality via extension functions. These functions, although available in other programming languages like C#, yet aren’t available in Java.

Creating an extension function is easy in Kotlin. It is done by prefixing the name of the class that needs to be extended with the name of the function being created. In order to call the function on the instances of the extended class, one needs to use the ‘.’ notation.

Cons of Kotlin

Compilation Speed

Although, Java requires more memory and is much slower when compared to Kotlin, however, some developers have reported about the fluctuation in the compilation speed of Kotlin codes.

Community Support

Kotlin has a small developer community that results in limited resources to learn the language. There will be a lot of queries which might remain unanswered. There are very limited numbers of developers available for Kotlin. The talent gap in the Android app development market has increased with regard to Kotlin.

While Java has a large community, developers get help on almost any issue, bug, or problem of their Java code with the help of large GitHub and Stack Overflow communities.

Kotlin’s documentation is very well implemented. If you look at the advantages of Kotlin App Development, it is much better than Java. As far as security, syntax, compatibility, and functional programming are concerned Kotlin seems to be a real winner .

Therefore, we can say that Kotlin is way better than Java.

Common

Kotlin is similar to Java in the sense that they both compile to Bytecode which JVM executes.

Both support object oriented programming language. The syntax of Kotlin is to some extent similar to Java. The key word is “similar” not the “same” as Java.

What Kotlin has that Java does not

  • String templates

  • Singletons

  • Null-safety

  • Extension functions

  • Smart casts

  • Code Conciseness

  • Coroutines

  • Inline Functions
  • Native Support for Delegation

Moreover, the best thing about Kotlin is that with little effort and training, any fresh developer can easily begin with it. On the other hand any current Java developer would easily adapt to Kotlin. So if you hire Java developers, it would still create a lot of sense.

Closing Notes

In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that Kotlin adoption is exploding – the number of applications using Kotlin has grown by 125% on the heels of Google officially making Kotlin a first-class language for writing Android apps at Google I/O in May.



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