The number of technologies and libraries that accelerate the development of mobile applications is increasing every day. As a result, choosing a technology stack and architecture to start developing a mobile project is becoming increasingly difficult. This is a laborious and responsible process that determines the speed of project development and the composition of the expert team.
Simple and concise programming languages, as well as ready-made unified solutions, are used to reduce labor costs for the development of complex software (in particular, an Android mobile application). In addition, such solutions speed up development, reduce the number of code errors, and facilitate communication between developers.
Prerequisites for the Emergence of Kotlin
The first version of the Android 1.0 operating system (Apple Pie) was released in 2008. Java 6 was the main app writing language for it. A new version of the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) operating system was released in 2015. It uses Java 6 and some Java 7 features not available in earlier versions of the Android SDK.
Although Java is considered the main programming language for creating Android mobile applications, it is not developing fast enough, and the process of introducing a new version to the Android platform takes even longer.
In 2010, JetBrains began developing a new programming language. Its goal was to create an expressive, statistically typed language that could replace Java. The first stable release was in February 2016 – Kotlin (1.0).
The Kotlin Programming Language: Key Features
Key features and capabilities of Kotlin include:
- Integrates perfectly with Gradle, Maven, and other build systems. Uses all existing Java libraries and frameworks;
- Language does not cause problems in learning. The syntax is very easy to understand;
- It is possible to automatically convert Java code to Kotlin in the IntelliJ IDEA integrated software development environment and vice versa. Compatibility of the Kotlin programming language with Java is 100%;
- Providing full compatibility with Java, Kotlin offers additional features that simplify the day-to-day work of a programmer and increase their productivity, etc.
As we can see, the capabilities of Kotlin are pretty large and varied. Therefore, if you want to create a mobile application based on this programming language, you can hire kotlin developers and put the most original solutions into practice.
Kotlin vs. Java: What Are the Benefits of the Kotlin Programming language?
There are a number of important advantages of Kotlin over Java. Learn more about it in the sections below.
More Short Code
Let’s compare a Java class with a similar Kotlin class. For the same operation performed in a Java class and a Kotlin class, the Kotlin class code is smaller.
Creation of Coroutines
Some processes actively use network I/O and CPU. These processes usually use lengthy operations. Until the operation is completed, the calling thread is blocked. By default, Android is single-threaded. Therefore, blocking the main thread also blocks the application’s user interface.
Java creates a background thread to do intensive or long-running work and, thus, solve the problem. At the same time, there is a need to manage multiple threads, which leads to complications of work and the appearance of errors in the code.
In Kotlin, there is a more convenient way to work with intensive operations. It’s called coroutines. They use less memory than regular threads because they don’t use the stack. With a coroutine, you can easily perform intensive tasks that take a long time to complete. In addition, the code written using the coroutine is concise and clear.
An important advantage of Kotlin is null safety. Java developers can assign the Null value to any variable. Therefore, accessing an object that has the value Null throws a NullPointerException. In Kotlin, all types are non-nullable by default.
Smart Cast Feature
The smart cast feature has been introduced into Kotlin. Therefore, if in Java, there is a need to check the type of an object before casting, then Kotlin does not require casting if the operator has already passed IS validation.
Practice shows that a Java developer has to create relatively large code to create classes that store data. When using Kotlin, everything is simple. Including the keyword ‘data’ in the class definition is necessary, after which the compiler does the main work and creates classes to store the data.
The Kotlin programming language is a rather convenient tool. It greatly improves productivity and empowers developers. At the same time, working with Java libraries has become more simplified. The flexibility and simplicity of the language give the developer more opportunities to write high-quality and fast code. Therefore, Kotlin is rightfully considered one of the best programming languages for Android application developers today.