Whenever we hear about the development of an android
application, the only programming language that comes in our minds is Java.
This is actually due to its use in a huge number of android applications.
Kotlin became the new official language for programming, as
declared by Google, for Android development back in 2017. Since then, the
Android development community is in a state of constant confusion and dilemma.
And the question that is troubling them is obvious i.e. should they now use
Java or Kotlin for the development of the android apps?
Java has been the go-to language for almost all android
developers but after Google announced Kotlin as the most superior programming
language, the dominance of Java over other language is been questioned. Though
the development and improvements are still under process, Kotlin sits at the
throne and has been considered as a mature ecosystem. Let’s take a deeper dive
into Kotlin vs Java.
Get Familiar with Kotlin
Programmers who designed Kotlin were from JetBrains
(creators of integrated development environments) and their aim was to level up
Java Mobile development through the addition of some advanced features.
Google itself said goodbye to Java and hello to Kotlin,
internally, on Android.
Kotlin is basically a programming language that is
statically typed and is open source. It is also based on Java Virtual Machine
codes that are able to run on iOS. All you need is to install the Kotlin Plugin
and let it manage the configuration of your project. The introduction of Kotlin
to the world of android development gave it an extraordinary modern touch. It
overcomes the lack that Java prominently had.
Advantages of Kotlin
- Kotlin has a tight grip when it comes to android
development. However, it is also used in Backend projects like Spring 5.
- Kotlin can be compiled to almost all kinds of
framework of Kotlin you are able to extract a common database that is capable
of targeting all platforms at the same time.
- Kotlin can be used in Gradle build scripts
directly because of its scripting capabilities.
- Converting Java into Kotlin is easy. You can do
it by just installing the Kotlin plugin, adding it to Gradle build files and
then select ‘convert’.
- Modern programming concepts are supported by
Kotlin. These include delegates, higher-order functions, extension functions
and much more in order to provide help in building clean APIs.
- Null safety support that is built-in and an
ultimate lifesaver is made available by Kotlin. Especially on android.
- Kotlin is way more expressive and concise as
compared to Java. This means there is very little room left for errors.
- New modules can be written in Kotlin which can
work alongside your existing Java code. One more added benefit is that it is
compatible with, the JVM, Java frameworks and libraries. It can be easily
integrated with Maven build systems or with Gradle.
- Developers can easily benefit from the fast-growing
collection of projects on GitHub and are open source, also from various
learning resources, books, and online courses.
- The adoption of Kotlin will not cost anything.
(Except for training and learning)
Disadvantages of Kotlin
- Kotlin’s compilation speed is slower as compared
to Java. Though in some cases, Kotlin seemed to be the winner.
- It has a small community of developers that
means greater chances of difficulties in finding answers to important questions
and limited learning resources.
- Kotlin developers are increasing in numbers but
finding an experienced professional or an expert for your team can be
challenging and will require some extra effort.
- Kotlin, in corresponding JVMbytecode, sometimes
creates a large amount of boilerplate.
- The steep learning curve, when the entire team
is switched to Kotlin because of the concise syntax of the language, can be
both; challenge and a blessing.
Use Cases of Kotlin
Applications that are written in Kotlin are:
- Trello: a platform for organizing work and
creating customized to-do lists.
- CarLens: An application for car recognition that
is powered by machine learning and it is made by the R&D team of Netguru.
It is purpose is to detect cars and show their information.
- Pinterest: A mobile application that is very
popular as a social platform for sharing creative ideas.
Get Familiar with Java
Originally Sun Microsystems developed Java as a programming
language that is project-oriented. In the present age, it is under the
possession of Oracle. For more than two decades, Java has acquired a position
in the android development community by playing a huge part in the development
of various android applications. Java had a reputation that is indeed
undeniable but the need for an advanced programming language that can fill the
shortcomings and gaps left by Java paved the way for Kotlin to take the lead.
Advantages of Java
- Java is easy to understand and it is a relatively
simpler language. The learning curve is pretty simple and short.
- For the development of cross-platform
applications, Java is the go-to language of many developers. Also, it works
very well for native applications.
- The applications that are built on Java are
compact and lightweight which leads to better user experience.
- Assembling and handling of projects that are
bigger becomes easier and simplified, credit goes to accelerated assembly it
has with Gradle.
- Due to its fast build process, Java allows you
to do more coding in less time.
- It is easier to understand and learn.
- Can be run it in a virtual machine or in a
browser window. It provides great help when you are reusing the code and
updating the software.
- Android is greatly reliant on Java. The Android
SDK is full of several Java libraries.
Disadvantages of Java
- The limitations in Java cause various problems
with the design of the Android API.
- Being a verbose language, it carries a greater
risk of bugs and errors as it requires more code writing.
- Java is slower as compared to various other
programming languages and requires more memory.
Use Cases of Java
Some open-source applications that are written in Java are:
- NewPipe: A lightweight android project that is
basically a video streaming application.
- WordPress Engineering: The official application
of WordPress developed for android. (The new features of these applications are
being developed in Kotlin but the code’s core base is Java code.)
- Android-oss: Official android application of
kickstarter.com. It is a social platform that is basically developed for
collecting funds for projects that are creative.
Java vs Kotlin – In Terms of Performance
There are no measurable and consistent differences between
these two programming languages when it comes to their comparison in terms of
performance. But the ‘Kotlin
vs Java performance’ debate is ongoing.
Kotlin is known for generating byte-code which is identical
to byte-code of Java. Therefore, these two are considered to be delivering a
The case is different when it comes to partial and full
Java is the faster programming language in the case of full
builds. It has a 13 percent faster rate of compilation as compared to Kotlin.
In the case of incremental compiling, Kotlin takes the lead.
It can be said that Kotlin lags behind Java when it comes to
clean complete builds but surpasses Java when it comes to incremental builds.
Java vs Kotlin – The Syntax
Kotlin enables you to obtain more with lesser and compact
snippets of code in comparison to Java.
Kotlin uses smart extensions to avoid extensively used utils
classes. The function of the extension is a usual function that asks you for the
class’s definition whose instances will be using the extension function.
Collins enables you to avoid the view-binding feature that
is messy, with the help of an Android Extension.
Kotlin allows you to avoid null pointer exceptions. It
eliminates the issues with the nullable’ introduction in the data type system.
Why Kotlin is More Popular and Who Is Using It?
vs Java android is better and efficient at the performance. Kotlin is
being used everywhere Java was being used and sooner it will be used in more
places. Currently, it is greatly used for the development of android
applications because of Google’s valuable support. Organizations are now
adopting Kotlin to stay more updated and competitive including Google,
Pinterest, Trello, Uber, Kickstarter, etc.
Benefits of Kotlin vs Java
Java’s first version was introduced 20 years ago. This is
why the language holds a reputation among all others. Kotlin is a modern
language that is able to support all the language design expertise that was
gained in previous years. It focuses on advanced features.
Developers are still looking for a more clear answer on ‘Kotlin vs Java – Which is better’?
But considering the fact that these two are similar in many ways, it is easier
to declare any one of them the winner.
Here are some benefits of Java vs Kotlin that can explain
how Kotlin can help you improve your business.
It Is Concise
As compared to Java, Kotlin is concise in various cases. It
solves problems with few lines of code. This enhances the code’s readability
and maintainability. Engineers can read, change, and write codes more
efficiently and effectively. Features like smart casts, classes, type
inference, and properties provide great help to achieve better conciseness.
It Is Safer
Kotlin code, as compared to Java code, is safer. It helps to
avoid common mistakes of programming which leads to fewer chances of application
crashes and system failures. It is possible that while using Java, specific
error causes might occur repeatedly. Kotlin pushes developers to ponder over
problems with their coding and enables them to write strong and error-free
It Is Better At Supporting Functional Programming
Developers are allowed to solve various tasks with ease with
functional programming. Java 8 also offered this but Kotlin has leveled up the
game of functional programming. Kotlin enables developers to make use of
functional concepts more explicitly and concisely with proper function types.
Performance can also be improved through inlining that is not possible
currently in Java.
It Speeds Up Everyday Tasks
Kotlin offers a number of features that come in handy and
facilitate development tasks of every day. This is what Java lacks. These
features involve object declarations, extension functions, default parameters,
and much more. They speed up the development process and help to keep the
It Reduces Bugs and Errors
The Kotlin compiler runs checks many times and helps to
identify potential runtime errors and bugs in the first place. It helps to
reduce the effort and cost of error fixes.
The Code Base’s Quality and Appearance
Technical debt can be reduced to a certain extent by
switching to Kotlin. Technical debt is basically the dead weight carried by
developers because of opting for shortcuts in programming in order to complete
it before the deadline. It becomes the cause of reduced productivity and also
effects future development. Kotlin’s code has fewer lines but it possesses high
quality because of fewer chances of errors. Few lines of code are easier to
maintain as compared to a longer code.
Kotlin is becoming developers’ favorite as they are
satisfied with the performance of Kotlin and all the advanced features that it
has to offer. Developers are satisfied with their work because of easy-to-do
and easy-to-maintain coding with close to no room for errors. It helps them to
be more productive and efficient at their job.
Leveling Up the Skills
Learning Kotlin can benefits engineers in various ways. Java
developers can learn and understand Kotlin very quickly. Kotlin’s compiler and
language design make it extraordinary.
Support for Developers
The Kotlin community of developers is a supportive and
thriving community that is highly responsive so that developers can easily
connect with each other to share their expertise and ask questions relating to
Kotlin vs Java? Well, Kotlin is being adopted rapidly and there are many
learning resources from where developers and engineers can learn and understand
more about the language. These sources include online courses, tutorials, books,
How does Kotlin compare to Java?
Java is a programming language that is object-oriented.
Application or programs developed using Java are executed in Java Virtual
Machine. Whereas, Kotlin a modern programming language that offers some
advanced features that were absent in Java.
How fast is Kotlin compared to Java?
The average timespan for doing a clean build is 14.1 seconds
in Java. Whereas, Kotlin requires 16.5 seconds (a 13 percent increase).
Is the Kotlin language similar to Java?
Java and Kotlin are similar in various ways. They both
compile to Bytecode with is executed on JVM. They both support programming
language that is object-oriented. Their syntax is also similar to each other.
Is Kotlin better for Android development or Java?
Kotlin offers more advanced features as compared to Java. It
has gained a reputation since Google announced it as the official language for
programming and is now internally used by Google itself. Kotlin is robust,
typed statically and is less verbose as compared to Java.
What are some major differences between Java and Kotlin?
- Kotlin has no raw types.
- In Kotlin, null references are being controlled
by the type system.
- In Kotlin, arrays are invariant.
- There are no checked expectations in Kotlin.
- There are proper function types in Kotlin.
Will everyone use Kotlin programming language instead of Java?
Considering the advanced features that Kotlin has to offer,
more organizations are now adopting Kotlin. However, it cannot be said that
Java will lose its place or will be replaced by Kotlin.
Why should I switch to Kotlin from Java for Android development?
- Kotlin is easier to learn and understand.
Especially for those who have prior experience with Java.
- It has Android Studio Support.
- It is great for procedural programming.
- It makes program or app development more
efficient and easier.
Will Kotlin replace Java for Android app development in the future?
Just like Java, Kotlin also compiled to Byte code and it is
run on the Java Virtual Machine. It basically depends on the Java Class
Library. As implied by their interoperability, Java will not be replaced.