JetBrains, a company that sells IDEs or integrated development environments for programming languages, developed Kotlin in 2011. Since then, the language has become a favorite among developers. It continues to replace Java in several software projects. Kotlin is programmed to run side by side with Java. It can run on a Java Virtual Machine. Kotlin first started as a language for Android development specifically. But thanks to its features, it quickly spread through the Java community. Since then, it has been used for several types of applications.
Its name comes from Kotlin Island. Just like Java was named after an Indonesian island, the team named Kotlin after an island near St. Petersburg.
Kotlin: A Brief Background
When lead developer Dmitry Jemerov needed features he couldn’t find in Java; he created Kotlin as a new language. Jemerov needed a language that would run on the JVM and include all the features of more modern programming languages. He wanted something that would compile as fast as Java. Hence, Kotlin was born.
In 2019, nearly eight years after its release, Google declared it the preferred language for Android app development.
Why do Developers Love Kotlin?
Most businesses must set up a mobile presence because many of their target audience access the internet through mobile phones. Android dominates the global market with nearly a 71% market share. Hence, developers prefer Kotlin for Android development because it enables them to write safer and more concise code.
Google owns the open-source platform which is used and adapted by several smartphone brands. Android Studio, the official IDE for Android development, also supports it. Hence, developers can get duplicate type checking and code completion as with Java.
Here are some reasons why developers love Kotlin.
- A null in Java can crash a program if you are unprepared for it, but Kotlin can efficiently handle nulls.
- Since it is much easier to learn than Java, developers can easily pick up the language. Some other reasons why developers love Kotlin are described below:
- Kotlin can run on multiple platforms. Hence, we can use it for creating cross-platform apps.
- Kotlin is concise. So, it cuts down the time it would require writing boilerplate code in Java.
- Switching to Kotlin is easy because it is compatible with Java. Developers don’t have to change all their code at once, and they can slowly migrate an app to use Kotlin.
- The language can streamline asynchronous programming. While making database and network calls asynchronously in Java is quite challenging, Kotlin has coroutines that make asynchronous programming efficient.
- The language has a large community, so if an amateur developer ever gets stuck, they can easily find help.
- Typically, adding features to a language increases its overhead time, thus lowering its performance. However, that’s not the case with Kotlin.
Benefits of Kotlin
Here are some of the most notable benefits of Kotlin.
Most IDEs on the market today support Kotlin code. That enhances efficiency because developers don’t have to spend time on learning new IDEs. Since developers don’t have to learn different IDEs for Android projects, this also increases productivity.
Kotlin guarantees excellent interoperability with Java. Consequently, developers can switch to Kotlin from Java or vice versa easily. The language provides unmatched consistency with Java and all Java-based tools and frameworks currently used by Android developers.
Kotlin is reliable because it is a tried-and-tested language. Among all the languages that surfaced in recent years, Kotlin offers unrivaled reliability.
The syntax in Kotlin is logical and simple. It helps programmers produce code with fewer errors and more accuracy. Hence, Kotlin allows mobile developers to finish more tasks in less time.
JetBrains and Google both support Kotlin. That means developers who choose Kotlin are in good company.
From its readability to its versatility and compatibility with existing codebases, this incredible language offers many benefits, making it a fabulous option for Android developers.
How Does Kotlin Play a Crucial Role in Android Application Development
Flexible and Easier Android Development Process
Kotlin supports sharing codes between platforms. Thus, the language plays a significant role in creating applications across different Android operating systems, like Nougat and Marshmallow.
Kotlin is open source; meaning developers can conveniently access its source code without paying fees or buying a license. Developers can use it according to the requirements of their project.
An active developer community is constantly improving tools and libraries within the platform. Hence, it offers excellent support for making the coding process easier and more efficient. An open-source language with several libraries results in faster app development. In addition, it ensures bug-free apps before launch.
An open-source platform implies that community members can contribute their part in improving the capabilities and features of the language. Consistent bug reports and regular fixes help make the language more stable with each release.
Seamless Integration with Android Studio
The process of integrating Kotlin with Android Studio is easy and seamless. Extensive IDEs support the language. Developers can quickly learn it without investing much time and effort.
Designing apps with Kotlin is efficient. The process becomes easier with features like Syntax Highlighting, AutoComplete, and Refactoring and Debugging.
The multi-platform language is used in web, iOS, Android, and embedded systems. With Kotlin, developers can design apps for multiple platforms at work. They can write fewer lines of code than in other languages. Kotlin also provides various libraries and APIs that are helpful for customizing the application further. Developing and maintaining apps across multiple platforms is convenient, thanks to these features. Also, less time is spent on the development process.
Furthermore, the language’s cross-platform development support takes care of the need to learn several programming languages when creating an app on multiple platforms.
Kotlin prevents any errors that could lead to security issues. The language’s compiler offers early feedback on potential vulnerabilities as you type. Thus, spotting mistakes and fixing them is more convenient. In addition, Kotlin takes care of performance-related bugs and memory leaks by ensuring resources are discarded once they are no longer needed.
Compatibility with Java
The language is completely interoperable with Java. That’s great news for developers because they can use both languages in their app development projects. They can easily use libraries written in Java for Kotlin without any issue, and vice versa.
Additionally, this capability enables gradual migration from Java to Kotlin. That’s because developers can gradually add more language features to their existing projects.
No extra costs are associated with using both languages as they share the same development environment. That is why it is cheap for developers to use both languages for their app development projects. Google also supports Kotlin as the preferred language for Android app development.
The Kotlin Playground
Two prominent and essential features of Kotlin include code readability and brevity. For that reason, it is a prevalent programming language for Android app development. Developers prefer using Kotlin since it allows them to write far fewer lines of code. In addition, its syntax is cleaner, making it more convenient for developers to work on their codes.
But what’s more? You can practice your Kotlin skills to see what you’ve learned by typing in your code in the Kotlin Playground. This online lightweight compiler enables Kotlin programmers to run code directly in the browser, using different versions of Kotlin and targeting different platforms.
In addition, the Playground allows developers to share their code with other people and embed a small version of the compiler into websites.
Cuts Boilerplate Code
This incredible language reduces the boilerplate code thanks to its numerous language features. For example, data classes, which allow developers to create classes for storing data quickly, can be converted into other formats—for example, XML or JSON.
That means developers must write fewer lines of code for basic tasks like mapping and parsing data from APIs.
This language also supports properties with setters and getters, simplifying accessing fields in a class without writing additional code. Moreover, Kotlin features extensions for adding valuable functions to current objects and classes, reducing the boilerplate code required for common tasks. Using all these features can provide a host of benefits for today’s developers. Not only do they help developers save time, but they also allow them to maintain complete control over their projects.
Excellent IDE Support
This mature language is a creation by open-source developers with years of experience. These developers ensure that the features of this language remain reliable and bug-free. Furthermore, Kotlin guarantees superior IDE support. That allows developers to work with Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, Studio, Eclipse, and other development environments.
This IDE support allows developers to design and maintain projects without learning new software or tools.
Furthermore, Kotlin’s detailed documentation helps developers acquire exceptional speed. They can turn to a plethora of resources for troubleshooting common problems.
Fewer Bugs and Errors in the Code
This language helps reduce bugs and errors with its robust type checker. This feature checks all of the expressions in a program and guarantees that types are compatible. It prevents you from writing any code resulting in crashes and unexpected runtime errors. In addition, the concise syntax can simplify the implementation of complex logic in a codebase.
Kotlin seems like the the future of Android programming. The language guarantees that a programmer does not have to spend time on writing repetitive and mundane code. A developer can spend less time on bug testing and quality assurance, using Kotlin, because of its powerful features.
Easy to Learn
Professionals with some background in Java can quickly learn Kotlin because of its simple syntax. Generally, Kotlin has the same concepts as Java. For example, classes, variables, and functions. However, it also introduces numerous new ones which make programming easier. For instance, the language support type inference. That means there is no need for developers to define the data types used in their code.
In addition, the language uses lambda expressions. That allows developers to create more efficient and concise code, reducing the time it takes to write programs in Kotlin.
Our discussion shows that Kotlin continues revolutionizing how development companies provide Android app development services. Language is crucial in helping today’s developers build feature-rich and safer Android apps across all niches. Hence, leading Android development companies turn to Kotlin for their front-line projects.
This technology has been in the development phase since 2011. That makes it mature enough for enterprise applications. Many renowned app development companies are utilizing Kotlin to create enterprise applications. The developer-friendly language offers numerous advantages and is a favorite in the development community.
Developing applications using a modern language like Kotlin improves the productivity and efficiency of developers. Since it is open-source, professionals who use Kotlin for Android app development can receive timely support from their peers in the community.