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Android is currently the most preferred operating system. The reason for Android’s domination over its competitors like iOS is a smooth and affordable interface with applications, looks, and simplicity. Cheap Android smartphones start from a very affordable price with offering competitive features. Have you ever queried about how are the apps you use in daily life made?

Android Studio is used to develop Android applications. We use Java language for programming in Android Studio. In other words, a programmer develops applications through specific codes in specific coding language.

What is Java?

Java is an object-oriented language which manages memory automatically. To improve the performance of applications, Kotlin, an alternative to Java, was introduced.

What is Kotlin Android?

Kotlin is a general-purpose and open source programming language that runs in JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and Android. The best thing about Kotlin is that it is an alternative to Java yet works perfectly well in projects where Java and Kotlin both are used to such an extent that some users can not even differentiate which code is Java and which system is in Kotlin. Kotlin originated at JetBrains, famous for IntelliJ Idea (for Java programming), in 2010 and was made open source since 2012.

Java vs. Kotlin

So, while developing an Android app, what should you consider, Java or Kotlin? Alternatively, both? Here is a detailed comparison to help you decide. (Thank us later!)

Pros of Java

  1. Easy to understand syntax inherited from C and C++ programming language.
  2. Java supports automatic memory management, meaning that a user allocates the memory, but Java automatically deallocates memory.
  3. Java is a strictly typed language, due to this reason, a program is checked at run-time as well as at compile time so that even slightest errors can be detected.
  4. Java is architecture neutral, meaning that it is independent of your system’s architecture bits. For example, in the C language, the size of ‘int’ is 2 bytes for the 32-bit system and 4 bytes for the 64-bit system. However, in Java, its size is 4 bytes for both 32 and the 64-bit system.
  5. The most significant benefit of Java is that it is portable, meaning that once you write a Java program, it can be used in any system with Java environment directly.
  6. Java ensures faster development process than Kotlin.

Cons of Java

  1. Java is not a modern programming language.
  2. Android only supports a small part of Java 8 features. In some way, Android developers are not able to receive the full privileges of Java.
  3. Java comes with some well-documented language issues like endless try-catch blocks.

What are some applications developed in Java?

  • VLC media player official for Android App
  • Official WordPress App for Android — WordPress Engineering
  • Omni-Notes: Open source note-taking application for Android

Pros of Kotlin

  1. Kotlin is a modern programming language in comparison to Java.
  2. It’s more compact than Java, which means fewer opportunities for errors.
  3. Kotlin Kotlin has the preponderance of Java libraries and frameworks.
  4. Kotlin is easy to learn. Any developer with knowledge of Java can easily learn Kotlin.
  5. Java and Kotlin codes can run simultaneously in a single program without any errors.

Cons of Kotlin

  1. Slower compilation speed than Java (faster in some cases).
  2. Small developer community, which means limited learning resources and difficulty in finding answers to questions.
  3. Android studio functions run slower in a case when only Kotlin or both Kotlin and Java are used, in comparison to solo Java projects.

What are some popular applications developed with Kotlin?

  • Pinterest – A popular social media application for sharing a variety of content like images, infographics, gifs. The application has 100,000,000+ downloads from Google Play, average rating 4.6 from 3,922,994+ reviews.
  • Coursera – A popular educational website with 5,000,000+ downloads from Google Play, an average rating of 4.4 from 88,196+ reviews.

IDE for Kotlin

There are different IDE in the market like Eclipse and Atom which support Kotlin, but as Kotlin comes from JetBrains, I recommend that IntelliJ IDEA can be used as best IDE because here everything in Kotlin upgrades quickly and it is straightforward to learn.

IntelliJ IDEA can be download from its official website for free. I recommend you to download the community version as it is free and open-source. The guidelines on how to develop Kotlin in IntelliJ are also available on the official website.

I recommend that an Android developer must learn Kotlin as it was placed second on the list of the most loved programming languages in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2018.

Conclusion

Kotlin is relatively new but is gaining good popularity in the Android development. Various websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Lynda are providing courses to learn Kotlin. Even though Kotlin is quite popular already, it will still take much time to come close to Java concerning popularity. One major problem any team of developers may face is that finding experienced Kotlin developers is difficult and may cause problems for the team later while for Java, it is available with so many resources on the internet that any problem in Java can be solved easily.

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