Kotlin is a statically typed programming language for JVM, mobiles, and browsers. The programming language is primarily developed by a team of JetBrain programmers based in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kotlin is named after Kotlin Island near St. Petersburg). The language has been in the market for a long time and slowly it is gaining popularity in the Android community. Kotlin has emerged as an alternative to Java.
Kotlin first appeared in 2011 and recently at I/O Conference, Google has officially announced Kotlin as the third official language besides Java and C++. With this major announcement, Kotlin has jumped to the top 50 popular programming language list by TIOBE Index. Kotlin is currently holding the 43rd position with the rating of 0.346%.
Why stick to Java, when you can try Kotlin
Java is undoubtedly one of the widely used programming languages when we talk about coding in Android apps. But it is certainly one of the oldest languages. Java is considered as one of the official languages for Android development. But there are many reasons why Java is not always the best option for developing Android apps.
Java has troubled programmers with the way it handles “null”, which ultimately causes an error leading to NullPointerException (NPE). The language insists programmers write huge codes to get a simple task done. Java has some design flaws that make it even difficult for programmers to work on it.
Advantages of using Kotlin:
- Interchangeability in Java
Kotlin has gained popularity because of its interoperability with Java. Both these languages can be implemented and compiled in the same project. Because Kotlin and Java can co-exist well in a project, it becomes difficult to tell which portion of the project is implemented in Kotlin or Java. Instead of starting the entire project from scratch, Kotlin can be used anywhere in the project. Kotlin codes are interchangeable with Java, therefore it can be benefited with the vast number of Java libraries and frameworks.
- Easy to Learn
Kotlin is designed in such a way so as to improve the learning and understanding of Java codes. The language can be learned easily by just reading the language reference. Specifically, Java developers will find Kotlin very relatable because the syntax feels similar.
- Fewer Codes mean fewer bugs!
When comparing Java class and Kotlin class, both of them produce the same output. The difference lies in the length of the code. Comparatively, the code written in Kotlin is more compact than Java.
Java is a backward compatible language, which means every new version has to support the features included in the previous version. This makes it hard to include new features with every update. Consequently, it will increase the amount of code also. Kotlin is designed in a different way, its architecture is designed from scratch with no layer-to-layer architecture.
- Combines Structured and Functional Programming
Kotlin has the perfect amalgamation of concepts and elements of both structured and functional programming. It is sometimes bit difficult to judge whether structured programming is better or functional programming.
When it comes to Java, it is certainly a functional language. On the other hand, Kotlin serves both the concepts and elements of structured and functional programming.
- No more null pointer exceptions
This is one of the most important features implemented in Kotlin. Null pointers are the most feared and unsolved issues Java developers face. Kotlin’s type system refuses to compile any code which tries to return or assign null.
Whenever a method call happens on a nullable type it causes a null pointer exception. Instead, Kotlin insists developers to use Elvis operator if the call result is assigned to a non-null type.