What Is Kotlin?Kotlin has been all the hype for quite a long time. It’s a programming language that has gained amazing popularity in recent years, especially among developers looking for a more concise and efficient alternative to Java. But what stands up behind the scenes? Kotlin is a cross-platform, statically-typed language developed by the JetBrains company more than ten years ago and released in 2016. Its popularity was quickly boosted by Google in 2017 when the tech giant made Kotlin an officially-supported programming language for Android development. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that currently, more than 20% of the apps in the Play Store currently rely on Kotlin. That just being said, Kotlin is meant not just for Android apps — it can be also used for front-end and back-end web development, data science, and cross-platform mobile development.
What Makes Kotlin Stand OutThe most important thing that makes Kotlin so attractive is that it’s designed to be more modern and user-friendly than Java, boasting many features that make it easier to write code, reduce errors, and increase productivity. While Java is basically limited to object-oriented programming, Kotlin offers functional programming features as well.
Some of the main benefits of Kotlin include:
Great Readability. Kotlin has a more concise syntax than Java, making reading and writing code easier. It reduces boilerplate code, such as semicolons and curly braces, and uses type inference to reduce the need for explicit type declarations.
By the way, after a small learning curve, a Java developer can easily understand how to write Kotlin very quickly.
Null Safety. Kotlin has built-in null safety features that help prevent null pointer exceptions. And as you may have already heard, “Null pointer exceptions, also referred to as “The billion-dollar mistake,” aka it’s one of the most common errors that cause apps to crash when you’re using Java.
Kotlin is null-safe by default since it doesn’t allow variables to be assigned with a null value.
Extension Functions. Kotlin allows developers to add new functions to existing classes without modifying the original source code. This is done using extension functions, which can be called in the same way as if they were part of the original class.
Coroutines. By default, Kotlin has built-in support for coroutines, which is a more tempting alternative to threads. Coroutines enable developers to write asynchronous code that is more readable and easier to maintain than traditional callback-based code.
Getters and Setters. In Java, developers typically need to use getter and setter functions in order to receive data from variables in the modal classes. In Kotlin, on the other hand, there is no need for getter and setter functions. Developers can simply access all the data by using the variable name itself.
What Is Java? Its Main BenefitsDespite all the aforementioned advantages, Kotlin is still less popular than Java. Why? Because Java is a well-established high-level, object-oriented programming language that was released in 1995. And the most significant advantage of Java is that it’s a platform-independent language that can be run on any computer that supports the Java Virtual Machine. Due to its versatility (including app development, enterprise development, game development, big data software development, desktop/web/IoT application development, and many more), Java has also affected the development of other languages, including Kotlin. Admittedly, Java is a foundational programming language that allows for numerous opportunities and add-ons. So, no wonder that from 2015 until 2020, Java was the undisputed #1 programming language in use, and it is still in the top 3. The main benefits of Java include:
Portability. As we’ve just mentioned, Java is a platform-independent language meaning that its code can be written once and run on any platform that supports the JVM.
Scalability. Java is extremely scalable — it can handle numerous complex applications with no issues. Java is used in a wide range of industries and can be used to build everything from small desktop apps to large enterprise platforms.
Garbage collection. One of the main perks is that Java has automatic memory management through its garbage collection feature. This means that developers don’t need to manually manage memory allocation and deallocation. Hence, the reduction of memory leaks and other memory-related errors.
Large community. Java probably boasts the largest community of developers out there. This makes it the easiest language that can help companies find solutions to tricky problems and learn from other developers.
Security. Java has quite good built-in security features, such as a sandbox environment that isolates untrusted code from the rest of the system. This prevents malicious code from causing harm to the system or stealing sensitive information.
Key Differences: Kotlin vs JavaNo denying Java and Kotlin are two popular programming languages used in software development. While Kotlin can boast of such advantages as concise syntax and support of both object-oriented and functional programming, Java still has significant benefits. For one, Java has been around for more than two decades and has a vast user base, which means it has more resources, support, and documentation available, making it easier to learn. In addition, there are numerous codebases written in Java. From all this, it’s easy to conclude that the majority of companies have invested significant resources in developing, testing, and maintaining Java code, making it difficult to justify switching to Kotlin. Furthermore, Java has a wealth of libraries and frameworks that are not yet available in Kotlin, which makes it quite challenging for developers to swap for Kotlin. Whereas Kotlin is more user-friendly than Java, it still has a tricky learning curve that can be difficult for developers who’re used to simple syntax and programming paradigms of Java and other similar languages.
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