kotlin-vs-java

Java is undoubtedly the king when it comes to focusing Android development. The box of features that it contains makes it a good choice for creating majority of Android apps. As the time is changing really fast, mobile app development offers an utter flexibility. You can write your Android biz app in any preferable language that can compile and run on Java Virtual Machine, known more commonly as JVM.

One such JVM-compatible language is Kotlin, which is a statically typed programming language from JetBrains. The motto of developers behind creating this language is to get a powerful modern language with compact syntax, high security and fast compilation.

An added advantage is that Kotlin is engineered to work for Java and all its libraries which make it easy to use the previously created tools. As a result, Kotlin fits best in the existing development processes.

Kotlin Vs Java

Java, an object-oriented programming model, was designed with the look and feel of C++ language. It can be used to create pure applications that can run on a single computer or even distributed on servers in a network.

For Android, Kotlin works in parallel with Java and C++. With this “bi-directional use” of Kotlin, you can use Java frameworks and mix commands from both in your code with no limitations.

Few years ago, Kotlin came into scene. With time, it has been announced as an Android language officially. It´s actually the first language to be added to Android.

Android Oreo supports the Kotlin language and tools with the recent Android Studio 3.0. As stated in official Developer Android web: “Kotlin is expressive, concise, extensible, powerful and a joy to read and write”.

Let’s check different parameters to note the behavior of both these languages-

  • High-end use

Kotlin has been developed few years back by JetBrains for solving practical and real-world development problems. As compared to other JVM-based languages, Kotlin doesn’t contain an academic or research background as it was built with the enterprise in mind.

It is always tempting to recreate everything from scratch. But, the major aim must be to get the innovative results. With Kotlin, the goal was not to create something revolutionary, but to provide a usable software language which is familiar to modern enterprise developers.

Java, being an official language of Android development, is user-friendly in nature. It has been innovating mobile app development choices from years. Its wide use can be seen in creating different types of Android apps.

  • Interoperability with Java

The best part of using Kotlin is that you can call Java code from Kotlin and vice-versa. The reason is, both Kotlin and Java produce the same bytecode. Thus, you are at no risk that you’re shipping anything completely different with Kotlin.

One can use Kotlin in their existing project with all the old Java code. An easy start is to write some simple and small parts of your app in Kotlin as you start getting familiar with its constructs and syntax.

As Kotlin is used for small parts of a large project containing a few UI components and simple business logic, the result will be only 4-5% of the entire codebase was written in Kotlin and the rest is still in Java.

This mix of Java and Kotlin code will work well in every piece of code as interoperability is an easy go here.

  • Less code

Kotlin requires writing less lines of code as compared to Java. Few code lines means small file size. One more feature is its readability which becomes easier once you understand its syntax. It means that it is not verbose like Java. Rather, it is crisp and concise with a lot of efforts being reduced that developers have to invest daily while writing boilerplate code. For example, some code constructs can fit on 3-5 lines. It might require more than a dozen lines in Java.

  • Easy Learning Curve

Kotlin can be treated as an enhancement to Java instead of a complete rewrite. As a result, the skills one has acquired and honed in Java are truly applicable to the Kotlin projects.

Kotlin is designed with a smooth learning curve for Java developers. Most of the Kotlin syntax appear familiar to them. Like for say, the code used to create a new class in Kotlin is quite similar to Java.

It can be declared as below-

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

Kotlin is designed with an intuitive and easy to read behavior. It means that even if you find some drastically different code, you can easily get the gist of the code being used.

  • Checked Exceptions

The checked exception feature of Java can be a a tough aspect in few cases to deal with. These exceptions are created when the compiler forces caller of a function to catch or re-throw an exception. They seem of no use in most of the instances and cause empty catch blocks. These checked exceptions are an annoyance for the developers because they’re compelled to weed through code to identify a possible exception that never actually occurred. With a result, Kotlin entirely removed them to minimize verbosity and improve type safety.

Wrap Up

With the time changing rapidly, Android developers might encounter cases where they need to switch from Java to Kotlin. Sooner or later, you will feel that this language will impact app development on a massive development. For those who are proficient in Java, it is not a big deal to get started. Both of these languages are the leading ones and it is tough to define any winner out of two. Both of them have unique features and functionalities that make them fit for their individual use in Android app development.

About the Author: This post has been written by Ashni Sharma who is a professional mobile app developer at AppsChopper. She loves creating technical write-ups for the readers to make them aware of the recent tactics and trends that are making Android app development an easy go.

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