Android development. Java vs Kotlin: who holds the future?

25 Jul 2019

In the world of mobile technology, the influence of marketing, particularly mobile app marketing, has turned out to be fundamentally important as they are crucial in setting the tone for the business. Mobile apps mostly rely on the platform on which the application is built. “Newsoft” is aimed at Android Apps development, as it has an extensive range of devices, various screen resolutions, and thus, developing the app according to the marketing perspective, becomes vitally important.

When Google announced Kotlin its next official programming language for Android, its popularity in some regions saw a more than sixfold increase. The language has drawn the attention of brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Pinterest and broke into the elite of the programming world. Some people predicted the death of Java, at least on mobile devices. We are not going to announce the end of Java. We are going to show you the real usage of Java and Kotlin. We’ve done a little research to see how those two languages compare in terms of Android app development. Learn about who holds the future and why?

Described as a general-purpose language, Kotlin introduces functional features to support Java interoperability. The Kotlin project was created to increase productivity. The goal was to improve the coding experience in a way that was both practical and effective. A central focus of Kotlin is to enable mixed-language projects. Kotlin also introduces improved syntax, as well as concise expressions and abstractions. Using Kotlin with Java reduces excessive code, which is a huge win for Android developers.

In 2019, more enterprise leaders were moving to Kotlin or planning to do so. Mobile products like Pinterest, Twitter, Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Trello, and Evernote are all switching to Kotlin for Android applications. While the adoption of cross-platform Kotlin’s development hasn’t been explosive, many developers are taking notes of the many benefits Kotlin has to offer.  In two years, Kotlin has become a more stable and harmonious development option for Android Studio.

Some developers seem to believe that Kotlin will oust Java for Android development in the coming years. Other experts see Kotlin and Java coexisting without one outweighing the other. We believe that both of them should exist and develop for different purposes of different projects. Although Kotlin is more perspective in our company, we still use Java because its influence on the development world is huge. Kotlin was designed with a strong focus on its interoperability with its elder sibling Java. It means you can translate any Java code into Kotlin or vice versa without changes in their operability. We are going to show you the difference between these two programming languages in a comparative table below:

The Basis Of Comparison between 
Java vs. Kotlin

Java

Kotlin

Null Safe

In Java, NullPointerExceptions cause huge frustration for developers. It allows users to assign null to any variables but while accessing an object reference having null value raises a null pointer exception which the user needs to handle.

In Kotlin, by default, all types of variables are non-nullable (i.e., we can’t assign null values to any type of variables/objects). If we try to assign or return null values, Kotlin code will fail during compile-time. If we want a variable to have a null value, we can declare as follows:
value num: Int? = null.

Extension Functions

In Java, if we want to extend the functionality of an existing class, we need to create a new class and inherit the parent class. So, extension functions are not available in Java.

Kotlin provides developers the ability to extend an existing class with new functionality. We can create extend functions by prefixing the name of a class to name the new function.

Coroutines Support

In Java, whenever if we initiate a long-running network I/0 or CPU Intensive operations, the corresponding thread will be blocked as Android is a single-threaded by default. Java provides the ability to create multiple threads in the background and run, but managing them is a complex task.

In Kotlin, we can create multiple threads to run these long-running intensive operations but we have coroutines support, which will suspend execution at a certain point without blocking threads while executing long-running intensive operations.

No Checked Exceptions

In Java, we have checked exceptions support which makes developers declare and catch the exception which ultimately leads to robust code with good error handling.

In Kotlin, we don’t have checked exceptions. So, developers don’t need to declare or catch the exceptions, which have advantages and disadvantages.

Data Classes

In Java, suppose we need to have a class that needs to hold data but nothing else. For this we need to define constructors, variables to store data, getter and setter methods, hashcode(), toString(), and equals() functions.

In Kotlin, if we need to have classes that need to hold data, we can declare a class with keyword “data” in the class definition, then the compiler will take care of all of this work, such as creating constructors, getter, setter methods for different fields.

Smart Casts

In Java, we need to check the type of variables and cast according to our operation.

In Kotlin, smart casts will handle these casting checks with keyword “is-checks” which will check for immutable values and performs implicit casting.

Type Inference

In Java, we need to specify a type of each variable explicitly while declaring.

In Kotlin, we don’t need to specify the type of each variable explicitly based on the assignment it will handle. If we want to specify explicitly, we can do it.

Functional Programming

Java doesn’t have functional programming support till Java 8, but while developing Android applications, it supports the only subset of Java 8 features.

Kotlin is a mix of procedural and functional programming language, which consists of many useful methods such as lambda, operator overloading, higher-order functions, and lazy evaluation, etc.

 

There may be certain features for which you’d prefer Kotlin or some, where Java seems a better option, and it’s ok. Since both Kotlin and Java codes compile to JVM bytecode, and users will not be able to tell where the one ends, and the other continues.

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