Kotlin Makes its Way to Android Development

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Java has long been a favorite when it comes to mobile application development. But now it seems that there’s a successor to Java, and a very good one at that.
 

Introducing Kotlin

 
Kotlin, a statically-typed object oriented programming language that runs on Java virtual machine is the brainchild of JetBrains, the people behind popular IDEs namely IntelliJ and ReSharper. It can be compiled to JavaScript source code or be used with LLVM infrastructure.

Despite incompatible syntax with Java, Kotlin still relies on Java code from the existing Java Class Library, and is interoperable with the same. Project Kotlin was first brought out in July 2011 by JetBrains as a new language for JVM with a faster compile time as quickly as Java. Unlike most other languages then, Kotlin came with many useful features.

The project was open sourced the following year, and v1.0 (the first official stable release) was released by 2016. Another feather in the cap for Kotlin was from Google itself. At Google I/O 2017, the tech giant announced first class support for the language on Android, thus making it the third language in the list following C++ and Java. Several major developers – Expedia, Pinterest, and Square etc. have now started using Kotlin for their Android production apps.
 

Features & Benefits

 
Less coding, faster development:The open source development platform makes development much faster for developers, with approximately 20% less coding compared to Java. The compile time is also faster and much more efficient.

  • Short learning curve: The language is quite easy to pick up, even for beginners. Its intuitive syntax borrows traits from many languages including Scala and Apache Groovy. In addition to object-oriented programming, Kotlin also supports procedural programming using functions, which makes it quite interesting as well.
  • Java interoperability: One of the biggest highlights of Kotlin is its exceptional interoperability with Java, supporting the use of Java frameworks and libraries. Kotlin v1.2, released quite recently this year, adds a new feature to the language which allows sharing code between JVM and JavaScript platforms. This also facilitates easier migration from Java to Kotlin for organizations.
  • It’s open source: Kotlin is another open source alternative for the android development sector, licensed under Apache 2. For quick conversion from Java to Kotlin, there is a Java-to-Kotlin converter tool available. Its open source nature means the entire open source community will be contributing to making it better and its usage easier. The language is also free for use.
  • Versatile and secure: The NullPointExceptions in Kotlin considerably reduces errors, while Kotlin’s compiler is designed to auto-cast coding errors. In addition to java code compatibility, it features extension functions which allows adding new functionalities to existing classes and more.

 

Conclusion

 
The coding and performance benefits of Kotlin alone can be expected to bring big changes in the development of mobile technologies. With Google’s backing, Kotlin seems to be on its way to becoming a staple for Android app developers. It’s also speculated that there’d be efforts to promote the language further. Kotlin is also expected to drive IntelliJ IDE sales and boost android development further in the coming years.

Written by Rikhil Mohan

Rikhil Mohan is a versatile, high energy Android Developer with software development experience in a broad range of industries. He has a solid understanding of full mobile and software development life cycles, UIX, changing web standards. Dedicated to continuously developing, implementing, and adopting new technologies to maximize development efficiency and produce innovative applications.

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