Mar 18, 2020

Kotlin for Android Apps: Pros and Cons of Programming Language

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If you decide to create an application for the Android platform, most likely you will immediately remember the Java programming language, which is often used to write code. However, this is not the only option. Among developers for Android, the Kotlin language is also popular. Who invented it? What are its advantages? We will talk about all this in today’s article.

About Kotlin

Kotlin is an open-source programming language. Kotlin is used to create Android applications by such business leaders as Uber, Atlassian, Pinterest, Evernote.

Let’s look at Kotlin in numbers. The latest App brain statistics show that 46.29% of the apps in the store are written specifically in Kotlin. They are installed at 46.69%. Also, according to the latest survey of StackOverflow developers, Kotlin entered the top 5 respondents’ favorite programming languages. He even managed to overtake Swift, famous for its simplicity.

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Some history

Kotlin was created in 2011 by the Russian company JetBrains. They decided to create a new language that could compete with the popular Java and give the IT industry a new convenient tool. According to JetBrains, Java has accumulated too many unsuccessful solutions that cannot be changed in any way. Therefore, developers need a language with a new, more pleasant syntax.

It is worth noting that the first version was released in 2016. But the popularity of Kotlin came because the language was supported by the Google team. So it became the official development language for Android, replacing Java and C ++. Many programmers enthusiastically began to learn Kotlin, because its code is about 40% shorter than Java code. It is also considered more secure, and the automatic code converter significantly speeds up and facilitates the transition from Java.

Many people compare Kotlin with Apple’s Swift language because of its clear syntax and simplicity for newcomers. Looking at new languages, we can conclude that the industry strives for brevity and conciseness to attract new human resources.

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An interesting fact about the name of the language

The creators of Kotlin decided to follow the path of naming Java, which is named after the famous Java island in Indonesia. Kotlin is a small island in the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg, on which the city of Kronstadt is located. Apparently, this way the creators give a reference to the fact that the new language follows in the footsteps of Java.

Language advantages

Since JetBrains decided to replace Java, they brought many advantages to the new programming language. Let’s consider them in detail.

Performance

Kotlin has an intuitive syntax that greatly improves the productivity and speed of programmers. It perfectly follows the sequence. Writing an application now requires fewer lines and less time. Many praise Kotlin for its brevity, quality, and readability, which have become its competitive advantage over Java.

Excellent Java compatibility

The creators of Kotlin had the task to use all the knowledge and experience to the maximum. So, programmers have access to all the necessary libraries. You can write modules in Kotlin, and they will work fine with Java because both languages can be used in one project. For companies with a large Java code base, this has become a big plus.

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Open-source

Kotlin code is open to all programmers who want to work with it. Its implementation in the project is also absolutely free. Also, the source code makes it possible to easily find and identify the problem in case of its occurrence, in order to inform the language developers about it.

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Ease of study

This language is very convenient for those who have been working with code for many years, as well as for beginner programmers. Kotlin’s syntax reflects the language’s innovativeness. It is extremely concise, compact, and understandable.

Security

Code creation rules help developers find minor bugs that are difficult to detect before running the program. The most common pitfall of many programming languages is trying to access a null value. This causes an error. Kotlin is created to eliminate this kind of error from your code.

Additions

For the full convenience of working with Kotlin, the creators made it compatible with the Java library, as many programmers switched from it to Kotlin. It can use all well-known Java frameworks and libraries, as well as individual modules in current projects. The Kotlin standard library only offers improvements and fixes to the older brother library, Java.

Lazy Loading

This feature allows you to load only the necessary initial content of the app and significantly reduces the download time. Android developers simply prioritize core resources by storing them in main memory and slowly loading other resources from secondary memory. In general, this reduces the launch time of the application, which is a very important factor for project success.

Disadvantages of Kotlin

No programming language is perfect. Although Kotlin has something to offer Android developers, there are some flaws to keep in mind.

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Compilation speed

Often there are problems with the speed of compilation. This is not a permanent flaw, sometimes it happens very quickly, sometimes noticeably slower. However, developers don’t really like such moments.

Developer search

This language is relatively new. Therefore, it is not so easy to find good talented developers for your project. Of course, this affects the cost of specialist work.

Community

Novice developers will have a hard time because they will have to solve problems alone. Kotlin has a very small community and few resources to learn. It remains to rely only on support.

Conclusion

Less is better — every developer knows this. Kotlin provides programmers with everything they need to work comfortably with the new language. Android app developers got the tool they have been waiting for: modern, intuitive, not overloaded. Don’t be afraid of a few disadvantages of Kotlin, they are minimal and the experience gained will help to cope with them.