For Android developers, Java has always been the number one choice for their Android app development. But ever since Google announced Kotlin as their official language for Android app development in the Google I/O conference, 2017, there was utter confusion on which to choose: Java or Kotlin?
Even though both are equally good, they have their drawbacks. But choosing the one that helps meet all your app requirements is what matters. Analyzing each technical aspect of both programming languages is crucial. Let us do a detailed comparison of Java & Kotlin.
I. A brief on Java
As Android itself is written in Java, it came as no surprise that since last 20 years Java has been the favorite amongst developers for android app development. Java is an object-oriented programming language that is the second most active language on GitHub community.
1. Advantages of Java
- Syntax of Java is more readable than Kotlin programming language used for android app development.
- Being an object-oriented language (OOP), Java is easier to maintain, modify and debug.
- OOP functionality of Java makes it possible to create fully reusable applications that require lesser code and ensure a faster build process than Kotlin.
- Java also offers a huge collection of open-source libraries, which ultimately helps developers reduce development time for their android apps.
- Java reduces security threats and risks by avoiding the use of explicit pointers that can cause unauthorized access to memory.
- Java is an open-source ecosystem which is free to use for Android app development.
- Java has an incredibly strong support of an expansive community, making it easy to seek out valuable information and advice from other android programmers.
2. Limitations of Java
- Java has some limitations due to its inherent characteristics that cause problems with the Android API design.
- Java does not provide back up for data that might have been corrupted.
- Java is a type-heavy framework. It requires more code writing which makes it difficult for developers to debug.
- Java requires a lot of memory due to which its applications tend to be slower.
II. A brief on Kotlin
1. Advantages of Kotlin
- Allows developers to update existing Java apps to Kotlin. All it takes is installing the Kotlin Plugin and letting it configure your project.
- Kotlin is supported by a vast majority of IDEs, including Android Studio, and other SDK tools. This helps increase developers’ productivity as they can continue to work with the toolkit they are used to.
- Kotlin has ‘null’ built in its type system. Null errors are a common pain point in Java, and since Android often uses null to represent the absence of a value, Kotlin solves it by placing null directly in its type system.
- Kotlin has a much better way of writing code than Java. Due to this, it has fewer crashes and lesser system failures than Java.
- Increased team efficiency – Thanks to its predictable language & intuitive syntax, more work can be done as it takes less time and fewer lines to write and deploy working code.
- Interoperable with Java — developers can write code for new modules in Kotlin and be sure they will work alongside the existing Java code. Kotlin is compatible with all Java libraries and frameworks and can also integrate with the Gradle or Maven build systems.
2. Limitations of Kotlin
- Kotlin’s compilation of code is slower than Java
- For developers who have just begun working with Kotlin, it would require a lot of effort to understand it, due to its difficult-to-understand syntax.
- Kotlin has a small developer community due to which it has a limited number of learning resources. It also faces difficulty in finding solutions for developers.
III. Is Kotlin Worth the Effort?
Since Google has announced it as an official Android app development language, Kotlin has seen a growing acceptance and recognition by major players in the android development space. As Kotlin is the new official framework for android app development, it has considerable potential to be adopted by all the android developers in the future. Kotlin has been built with developer productivity in mind. And, it goes without saying that its enhanced productivity tracks back to its concise code that can roughly cut as much as 40% lines of code compared to Java. Its intuitive syntax and its overall clean language design of Kotlin, makes developers life easy as they require less time to write new code, deploy it and maintain it at any scale. Due to this the android apps will become easier and cheaper to maintain. Hire expert Android app developers for hassle-free, end to end solutions today!
For now, Java isn’t going anywhere, and it will be a long until it gets completely phased out by Kotlin. Kotlin is here to stay. It will get even more developer-friendly as time goes on. Kotlin definitely has a lot to offer to developers of the future. Apart from Google, there are many companies like Uber, Pinterest, Basecamp, Coursera that are also embracing Kotlin as their official Android programming language!
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