Hi everyone!!! Once again we are here exclusively for developers and coders especially the android app developers. If you are wondering for Why switch to Kotlin for android development. I assume the readers to be well introduced with programming and android app development (got a relief! I won’t have to explain it :P). So, without any further delay let’s go straight to the topic.
Well, since the initiation of today’s modern mobile phones or Smartphone “Java” has always been the primary language to develop the features and apps for these. Java can somehow be called as the official language for android development, and why not? It is the world’s most widely used programming language and most of the android apps have been coded using the same. But the question is, is Java the only option for android developers? Absolutely not, there are a plenty of programming languages we can use to develop an android app. In fact, any language which can be compiled and run on JVM (Java Virtual Machine) can be used for this purpose, and Kotlin is one of them. However being a very new programming language, it has grabbed the attention of the android community for quite some time and became a buzz when Google announced it as official language for android in May, 2017.
In this article we will go through the causes which make us bend towards Kotlin. And we will try to discuss Why Switch to Kotlin?
8 Reasons Why Switch to Kotlin for Android Development?
This post is all about the advantages and benefits of Kotlin over Java and other programming languages. Kotlin also got some disadvantages but here we are discussing “Why Switch to Kotlin?” that is why we will take a look over the advantages only.
#1 It is High Time to Leave Java Aside
If you are working on Java for long time you would be well understood about the advantages and disadvantages of it, and if you are using it for years you would have apparently encountered some on your own also. Most of the coders would have been habitual using Java and would have developed some proclivities towards it which is very obvious because whenever we become habitual for something we accept it with all their pros and cons and when it comes to leave that thing we require some strong reasons to do so. Java is no doubt the most used programming language till date but we cannot deny the fact that it is really old and lack of frequent updates has prevented it from modernizing, as a result it fails to fulfill the expectations of coders now. However, Java 8 has come with a revolution in Java’s history with a plenty of features(like lambda function), it has break its bounding but when it comes to android it supports only a limited features of Java 8 and that’s the reason developers have to stuck with the older version, Java 7 and deal with its limitations.
#2 Benefits of Using Kotlin In Android app Development
Kotlin is a programming language developed by JetBrains. The company was looking for a substitute of Java. They tried and researched with so many languages and selected Scala which had everything they needed. They lately found that with Scala the compilation is very slow and the coding was also very complex. The disappointment lead them to develop their own language to which they gave the name “Kotlin”. As kotlin has been developed to wipe out the flaws encountered in Java and other programming language it is supposed to make the task easier for programmers by exterminate the problems they face while coding.
#3 Interoperability with Java
When JetBrains started working on Kotlin their whole system was coded in Java and converting it completely was very impractical so the most important task was to make Kotlin interoperable with Java that’s the best thing about it which means any Java code can also be compiled in Kotlin and vice – versa. It lets you use most of the Java libraries and frameworks in Kotlin as well. We can have co-existing codes of Java and Kotlin in same project so, if someone is willing to start working on Kotlin they don’t have to wait for their current project to finish, they can start coding in Kotlin in the same project at any point and compilation would be as smooth.
#4 Kotlin is a Commercial Language
Kotlin has been developed for commercial purpose not for academic. This adds up another quality to it. Being commercial it deals with the real life problems of programmers and makes their task easier. It has been developed by considering all the problems faced by coders while programming and the flaws other languages had, along with the benefits and needs the developers had in their mind. This makes it more reliable for android development.
#5 Kotlin can be Easily Learnt
It is not a language which requires months of learning and even more for being expert in it. Kotlin can be learnt in some days or even in several hours if you give a quality time. Most of your skills and knowledge while working in Java will be applicable in Kotlin as well. Kotlin has been developed keeping the Java developers in mind so, the syntax of both the language are very similar which not only makes learning Kotlin easier but it feels very familiar working on it. So, you won’t miss your old programming companion and can work with same efficiency on the new one.
#6 Less coding and Easy to Read
Java as we all know, a very verbose programming language and we need to write a long code even for the smallest task. With Kotlin you don’t have to write long codes as you do in Java. The codes are small which makes your task easier as well as quick. Lesser codes also means the smaller file size. The other good part of it is the readability. I have mentioned above that the syntax of Kotlin and Java are similar. Yes, these are similar but not the same so, you can find some codes in Kotlin that are drastically different from Java. But this also has nothing to worry about, as I said readability is its another plus point, if the code is completely different from Java then also you can read and understand it very easily and won’t find any difficulty in learning those also.
#7 Open – Source Language
Kotlin is an Open – Source Language and lets you convert Java to Kotlin. If you want to convert your old complex Java codes to Kotlin to make the file simpler and small in size it can be done just on one click with the help of a Kotlin plugin, Java – to – Kotlin converter . Its open network support and open source prevents it from restricting to any particular company.
Kotlin is completely free. You don’t have to spend any amount for using it.
#8 Security and Null – Safety
If you have been programming with Java for a long time, nothing can be more familiar for you than the NullPointerException (commonly known as Billion Dollar Mistake) which is the most common reason for crash of apps. This is one of the biggest vulnerability in Java and guarding your codes with null check every now and then is time consuming and makes an already verbose Java code longer, but guess what? With Kotlin you can completely get rid of it. Kotlin’s compiler has ability to auto – cast mistakes and has an inbuilt null checking feature. In Kotlin all the variables are non-null by default which automatically stamps out the chances of occurrence of NullPointerException since it won’t be compiled. So, now the question is if we purposely want to assign a null value for any variable what should we do, we simply have to mark it with a “?” and it will be compiled smoothly.
With smaller coding, less runtime, great performance and all the features listed above Kotlin is all set to replace all the other languages including Java. No programming language can be perfect and every language has its own drawbacks. Kotlin is also not an exception and there are few drawbacks in it also
- The standard library and runtime of Kotlin consumes approx 800KB which increases the file size. But as the lesser coding saves a lot of space it is not a big deal with Kotlin.
- The smaller codes include a lot in a small space which sometimes make it difficult to understand. But this also is reasonable as every language takes some time to be understood Kotlin also can be learnt in a very small time and then you won’t find this drawback anywhere.
- Kotlin is comparatively new in the market so, getting help with Kotlin programming can be a tricky task as the community is very small right now but seeing its increasing popularity we can say the community will also grow in no time and any type of help will be on fingertips. But for you here is a Kotlin Basics Playlist on Youtube. And from here you can learn Kotlin.
Learn Kotlin From Scratch
Now if you know why switch to kotlin? And if you want to switch to Kotlin. Then you should first learn the basics of Kotlin. So here is a playlist where you can learn Kotlin from scratch.
With all these features and benefits along with the tag of official language of android app development Kotlin is worth switching for Android development. At last I will just say this is the language and this is the time to change your programming language for android development. If you have started working with Kotlin please share your experience in the comment section and if you think I have missed out something please point out in your comments.