Kotlin Vs Java: Is it time to switch over?

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When we talk about Android app development, the first programming language that comes to our mind is ‘Java’. Though the majority of Android apps are written in Java, developers should know that it is not the only language to write code. Android app can be written in any language that can be compiled and run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM).


Recently, a statically typed programming language from JetBrains — known as Kotlin caught the attention of Android community. If you are a developer, you might have heard about Kotlin. In this post, I am going to share everything you need to know about Kotlin and how to start using it for Android development.


When you want to work on custom Android application, an advanced technology will help you achieve your goals. Java and Kotlin are commonly used languages for Google for writing Android Apps. A great importance is given to programming languages, as it might cut down some of your time and money.


Kotlin first appeared as a new language for Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in 2011. Kotlin is easy to understand, which made it easier for developers to build apps. It complies with both JavaScript and machine code, while focusing on its primary environment JVM.  We compared the features of Java and Kotlin, and found that Kotlin is more beneficial than Java. Some of the reasons why you should prefer Kotlin over Java are as below –


  • Easy Coding

Kotlin is not a difficult language that is born in academia. Any programmer from OOP domain is familiar with its syntax. It can be understood easily by beginners as well as experienced programmers. It is somewhat different from Java, as there are some reworked constructors or variable declarations.


Kotlin needs 20% less coding compared to Java. Java is a bit outdated, which means every new launch has to support features included in the previous version. This eventually increases the code to write, resulting in absence of layer to layer architecture. If you compare the coding of Java class and Kotlin class, you will find that the one written in Kotlin will be much more compact than the one written in Java.


  • Android studio support

As said above, Kotlin is developed by JetBrains and it is no surprise that Android Studio has excellent support for Kotlin. Android Studio makes it easier to configure Kotlin in your project, just like opening a few menus. Your IDE will have no problem understanding, compiling and running Kotlin Code, once you have set up Kotlin for Android Studio. After configuring Kotlin for Android Studio, you can convert the entire Java source file into Kotlin file.


Though Kotlin has a lot to offer for its Android developers, there are still some drawbacks to keep in mind. Kotlin may have excellent support in Android studio, but it isn’t officially endorsed by Google. Moreover, Android Studio’s auto-compilation tends to run a bit slower when working with Kotlin.

Why you should prefer Kotlin over Java

  • Best procedural programming

There are plenty of programing epitomes that are widely used. However, when it comes to the best approach, there is no easy answer. Each programming epitome has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. There are plenty of scenarios where procedural approach is more effective. Now, the question is why you need to choose procedural approach? Kotlin aims to bring the best by combining both the procedural and functional programming.


Though its greatest strength is its concise syntax and procedural approach, developers may initially find it difficult to decrypt. As there is so much saying in the small amount of code, developers find it easier to decrypt Java code.


  • Kotlin saves a lot of time and efforts

As we said above, less code means less bugs and errors. Developers need not to spend hours in writing the code and fixing the bugs, if any. As less time is tracked on whole coding process, developers will surely love it. Most of the times, the app development team calculates the total cost of project based on the amount of hours developers spend on coding. Though Kotlin offers numerous benefits, developers find it a wise idea to switch from Java.


Should I switch to Kotlin?

In the recent times, many developers asked me – “Is it a good idea to switch to Kotlin”?Well, seeing its benefits and additional features — you can give it a try. Still, many developers prefer Java whenever they could. At present, I couldn’t think of a situation where I recommend using Java over Kotlin.


Developers can interoperate Kotlin with Java, which means they can carry on their work with old java projects with Kotlin. Whatever they write in Kotlin is easily adopted by Java. The best thing is that most of the Java frameworks are available in Kotlin.


We are living in the world, where we cannot predict the occasions or situations. The case is same with mobile app development and there is a great need to change things like – platform, programming language, technology etc.with time.


For instance, if you are working with outsource team — and suddenly your project demands an in-house team, how difficult it is to learn a new programming language? In such case, switching from Java to Kotlin offers a perfect solution. JetBrains created Java-Kotlin convertor that help app developers resolve this issue.


As said above, Kotlin has some drawbacks like other languages. The conversion from Java to Kotlin would be more painful — as not all the functions can be converted. In that case, you feel the biggest fix for your problem would be to continue working on Java itself. The possibility of switching from one language to the other would depend on the size of your project.


  • If your project is small (around 160-200 hours) and there is no complex architecture – you should consider switching to Kotlin.
  • If your project is medium (up to 5-6 months), it is pretty convenient to switch to Kotlin from Java
  • If the project is large (more than 12 months), then it is completely impossible to switch into Kotlin.


In short, the best option is always to start working with developers who use same language and frameworks as previous projects. And if change is unavoidable, it is better to follow the current trend and choose Kotlin over Java.


Wrapping it!

No doubt, there are plenty of features in Kotlin that make it practicable. Though Kotlin is not owned by Google, it will continue to be developed by JetBrains. Kotlin may target other platforms such as iOS and Mac, and compiles to JaveScript for web development. If you want a concise way to code for Android, then Kotlin is the best option.

Ready to Take the Next Step?


Manpreet Kaur

Content Writer

Manpreet, Sr. Technical Content Writer at Promatics, has an experience of around 5 years in the IT industry. She enjoys writing informative articles, blogs, related to technology topics to help the readers understand better. Her articles focus on balancing informative with SEO needs. She has worked majorily in the education, IT, mobile, and telecommunication domains. In her free time, she loves to listen to music and to dance.

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