The android app development space is a pretty complex one. While Java was the main language for app development for a long time, it all changed after Google started to officially support the Kotlin language. I’ve made a brief comparison of Kotlin vs Java to help you decide which is the best language for android app development in 2019!
With the increasing connectivity of the world made possible due to the smartphone revolution, mobile apps are gradually becoming the main medium of access for every service that people use. Thus it has become imperative for businesses to create apps that are accessed regularly and remain installed on their customers’ devices.
All modern mobile phones or smartphones are equipped either with the Android operating system, or iOS if its an iPhone. However, it is Android which dominates market share, with over 74.15% of smartphones running on the OS as of February 2019.
However, unlike the case with iOS, where every device comes with similar specifications, the Android application development ecosystem is highly fragmented. There are thousands of Android smartphones from different brands using modified versions of the OS, with different versions and hardware configurations.
Add to it the new design trends such as the notch, punch-hole and folded displays, and you’ve got an incredibly complex and confusing environment for android app development services.
This is the reason why android app developers sought a programming language that makes things a bit easier for them. So thus came Kotlin, developed by JetBrains, a company that has made some excellent tools for developers.
In fact, JetBrains also makes the base for the Android Development Studio. It is also responsible for the development of other IDEs including the Android IDE, IntelliJ Idea, PyCharm, and ReSharper.
Kotlin Vs Java: A brief overview
Java is an object-oriented programming language developed and introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1991. Today, it is owned by Oracle and is well-known amongst the developer community worldwide. Java is one of the oldest programming languages in the world used in nearly every device platform available.
Java was the only language officially supported by Google for android app development until Google I/O developers’ conference in 2017, where things changed.
What gives Java an edge over Kotlin
- Java is over 20 years old, and the second-most active language on Git Hub. Thus its simply easier to find expert developers in Java compared to Kotlin.
- Though Kotlin is based on Java, adapting to its concise syntax requires a bit of learning, though eventually, it will be worth the effort.
- Java’ popularity gives it a significant advantage when developers run into problems with either of these languages. Stack Overflow has over 1.52 million questions tagged with Java. On the other hand, questions tagged with Kotlin stand at a mere 21,096 as of March 2019.
Kotlin is a Java-based programming language which is interoperable with Java. It was created by JetBrains in 2010, but the first version was launched only in February 2016. Soon after, it was soon chosen by Google as an officially-supported programming language for android app development.
After being declared as an officially supported language, the popularity of Kotlin peaked, and by the end of 2018, it was the second most popular programming language after Java-script.
What makes Kotlin better than Java for android app development
In this battle of kotlin vs Java, one is an age-old programming language and the other is a modern language based out of the older one. However, in cases specific to android app development services, Kotlin has an edge over Java because of the following reasons:
- Java is a highly verbose programming language and requires writing long lines of codes. Kotlin, on the other hand, requires much less code.
- NullPointerExceptions always create problems for java developers , but Kotlin isn’t affected by this issue as all types are unable to hold any null value by default. So NullPointerExceptions won’t show up in Kotlin unless a developer asks it to show one.
- Kotlin uses very low memory in comparison with Java
- For all the advantages it offers, it is easy to switch from Java to Kotlin through conversion. Moreover, since both of these are interoperable with each other, it would further reduce any hassle while switching.
The state of Kotlin Vs Java in 2019
Ever since Kotlin was supported by Google as an official language for android app development in 2017, most companies converted their Java-based mobile apps into Kotlin. As a result, some of the most popular Android apps such as Pinterest, Evernote, Twitter, and Flipboard have adopted Kotlin for android app development today.
When considering all the pitfalls of Java, especially the problem with NUllPointerExceptions which have bugged android app developers for years- Kotlin seems to be the better one amongst the two in this battle between Kotlin vs Java. However, Java is still an essential language for every android app development company and developers, since the Android OS itself is based on the same. The Java language itself serves a myriad more areas other than for android app development services.
With that said, however, if you’re looking to hire Android app developers, and most importantly looking to future proof your android app development services, then you should seek to hire Kotlin developers for the same.
Still, the best thing about Kotlin is that any existing Java developer would easily adapt to Kotlin with little effort and training. So if you Hire Java developers, even that would still make a lot of sense.
I hope this comparison between Kotlin vs Java helped you understand which of these is relevant in 2019. If you have any suggestions, feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section below.
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