26Apr 2023

Kotlin for Android: An Overview

Android is happening and it will continue until another game changer decides to replace it. We see that a lot of new trends are emerging and we just cannot wait for another change to unveil. This is when Google announced their support for Kotlin. And, now this simply means that Kotlin will be counted as the official language for developing Android apps. Kotlin is also used for developing apps in iOS as well (JetBrains is the living example for this). This app was completely written in Kotlin. The interesting part is that Kotlin runs perfectly well on Android, iOS, regardless of the browser.

The support for both Android and iOS mobile platforms is on the rise day by day, which means that Kotlin will gain a greater prominence and will expand far beyond the Android that it is focusing at present. Though, Google has extended its support declaring Kotlin as an official language for developing Android apps, but, still, people are doubtful about choosing Kotlin technology instead of Java for developing Android apps.  Check out some of the best design tools for developers.

We will help to solve some of these concerns of yours.

Let us find out the history and what exactly is Kotlin.

Developed by JetBrains, Kotlin is one of the latest programming languages in the sophisticated array of languages that can be used for the development of JVM, Native, Browser and Android as well. Though the Android community was using this language for developing apps for quite some time now, it is not until recently that Google made an official declaration of Kotlin for Android development.

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Very recently, it has also started receiving an enhanced support for not just Android, but iOS as well. If you check Kotlin’s website, you will find that there are numerous products that we are using in our daily lives that have been built on Kotlin and some of these include – Evernote, Trello and even Pinterest.

The Kotlin difference – why programmers have started paying attention

This modernized language Kotlin comes with a  number of features, which makes it different from others. When compared with Java, it is precise and communicable. Yes, of course, Java is well-known for its robustness and reliability, there are still a number of features that it is weak in. Java lacks certain features that Kotlin is rich in, which could be one of the reasons why Kotlin would be replacing Java over time. Experts are also of the opinion that Kotlin’s goals and objectives are ideally similar to that of Swift from Apple. And, developers are utilizing this similarity for the transition from Android to iOS and vice-versa.

Kotlin is object-oriented, but it doesn’t stop it from offering a number of technological benefits, providing functional programming, which is one of the highlights again opening up the possibilities for new ideas in programming.

JetBrains’ idea of proofing by introducing protection cover against null-related errors, which was implemented into the types is what presents the language as a one that is mistake proof. Also, another highlight is that it is easy and cheap to maintain too. This will help save you from all the errors that used to arise in nulls leading to irrevocable losses. It will save your time and money.

Kotlin helps in web, back-end server and desktop app development apart from JVM and Android development. It implements Java frameworks, including Vaadin, Hadoop, Spark and Spring, and others for accomplishing the app development process. The Kotlin-JavaScript compiler is known for helping build front-end browser apps that are statically typed. Kotlin also helps in developing Node.js apps. If you were planning to learn Kotlin, then great as it would be soon ruling all spheres of an app development process.

The transition from Java to Kotlin

For people who already have an Android app, the transition from Java to Kotlin is a very easy process. Or if you still wish to continue with the Java system that you are using, then too everything is going to be the same. Google has been always at the forefront providing all kinds of resources and tools to ensure that the process is easy and smooth. While Java rules, you can slowly get Kotlin to mingle in with the process without affecting the existing process. Google provides you with the guide to getting started with Kotlin – for your Android app – from the scratch.

As we already discussed, it’s your choice whether you wish to continue with Java or go for a transition from Java to Kotlin. This gives you an option to incorporate Kotlin within Java to seamlessly get your existing app perform without rewriting any code from one language to the other.

Now you have several reasons to convert the app to Kotlin. Also, now we know that it is easy and cheap to maintain the app. It also helps in cutting all the huge volume of code present in Java and making it more precise. Also, Kotlin-to-Java converter is available that will make your job much easier.

The business motive – why choose Kotlin and not Java

  • Apps that are written in Kotlin are cheaper
  • It is easy to develop Kotlin apps when compared with Java
  • Maintaining Kotlin apps are easier
  • A fault-proof and precise code base, which helps to save money and time
  • App transfer from one platform to another is extremely easy

Do you need any more reasons to choose Kotlin over Java?

Still not convinced? Then, here are the reasons that support Kotlin:

1. Environment and language are mature


Though the languages such as Swift are gaining popularity, Kotlin would be more easier to use. Kotlin’s release went through several stages before its 1.0, the final item was released. There are no major issues that can arise with Kotlin as everything will function as it is conditioned to. All the plugins and features that you were already using in Java works here along with the IDE plugin. So, you have no concerns when working with Kotlin. Another rather interesting fact is that before the final 1.0 release, people have worked for a long time with the alpha and beta versions for real projects as well.

2.Android development is easier than before

Our description and discussion about Kotlin would have served as an eye-opener for the readers as to the ease and functionality that it provides. Though it is strong and powerful, it is simple too. It opens up a new world of programming possibilities. This looks quite too impossible for someone who has worked on Java all their life.

There could be no other best replacement for Java apart from Kotlin which will help in creating great apps in Android as it takes fewer compilation times and the tools are easier to handle and manage. The compilation times are similar to that in Java. Also, it would not contribute to increasing the method count as the library required for writing Kotlin apps are minimal.

3.Seamless integration with Android Studio – what else could be a highlight

Can you think of any other programming language wherein everything is ready and composed as if it has been waiting for you all these years?If you have ever tried working on a Kotlin project, then you would have experienced this as within the first few minutes of setting up the Kotlin environment, everything is ready to spread out and function, regardless of whether the user is aware of anything at all about Kotlin. When you are working with Android 2.3, you might have to get a plugin installed and when it comes to 3.0, you can enjoy the benefit of seamless integration of the entire process. Just like Java, from here on, you can debug, do refactoring, run from the IDE and even implement instant run.

4. The evolution is very well encapsulated


Kotlin was introduced by JetBrains. They have used it across all their projects. Also, they are working on further adding improvisations and extending it.

When we think about Android specifically, along with the unending support from Google, we can expect miracles to unveil with both these giants constantly working on bringing out the best of the language and tools.

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JetBrains and their effort are clearly visible through the features such as Kotlin android extensions, libraries including Anko and the build times that are flexible along with optimizations across the library size.

5. Recycling is what Android developers are well-known for

Admit it or not, but the fact is that Java is outdated though many of us are still using it. But, once you start working with Kotlin, the tension is released as you have the power and strength of the most modernized language that will be spread across your app development process, which will gleam through your code though you can still continue using the programming language that was previously being used.

Versatility is another feature that comes with it. With it, all the other languages, including Ruby, Swift and Groovy all become more easier to understand as all these exhibit similar kind of ideas.

A variety of concepts, including the functional operations on collections, data classes, sealed classes, lambdas and the extension functions, etc. might be in different names. But, you can find all these across all the latest languages. Mapping the transition from one language to another is now easier with this and helps with Android development further.

6.Java might not be as much as safe as it is

Remember all those NullPointer Exceptions that are thrown every time we work with Java. But, now with Kotlin, you need not worry about any of these exceptions or errors that will arise. Though some tools, such as the design patterns or annotations help to get rid of these, still, a lot of effort and money is involved to actually make it perfectly functional.

There are lesser errors. The code is stable now and there is least or no possibility of the code to fail. Since the compiler will help you to identify the errors during compile time, it will not appear during the runtime.The code will be easier for others to understand and interpret, and there are least chances of error introduction.This brings us to a point where a lot of work can be accomplished in less time and you can achieve more stability.

7. A number of big names are already utilizing Kotlin


Pinterest is one among those that have already been using it across some of the latest features of their Android app. Basecamp is one of the other examples, wherein 100% of the code on their Android app was wired in Kotlin.

Trello has used Kotlin in their production code. Just take a tour of the Kotlin website for more details on which other companies are using it.

8.It would be soon starting to appear on the eligibility criteria to qualify for jobs

Companies are looking to introduce it and many have already. Very soon, they will be looking for professionals to develop it.As the demand increases, there would be a need for a number of experienced professionals to handle the same.

9.Multi-platform is another highlight

Guys, did you know that Kotlin is multi-platform? The history says that Kotlin was initially introduced with JVM in mind. The main intent was to run JVM virtually on any device that is compatible with JVM. But, with the release of Kotlin JS, front-end development happened easier.The Gradle support paves the way to write Gradle files using Kotlin. Also, with Kotlin Native, you can use it for any platforms.So, now you know what is Kotlin and the fancy things that Kotlin is capable of doing from Android … to a large number of things.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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