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Java vs Kotlin: Which language to choose for writing a mobile app?


What programming language comes to mind first when Android development is mentioned? You are likely think about Java. After all, a huge number of Android apps are developed in this language.
Nevertheless, do you know that there are new programming languages that can compete with Java for leadership in this segment? One of these languages is Kotlin, a relatively young language. According to some experts, it will soon replace Java in mobile development.
In this article we will examine in detail both programming languages in the context of the Andriod development.

Pros:

Portability
Using the Java Virtual Machine (Java VM, JVM), programs in this language can be run on almost any system. As a result, Java gains leadership among Android applications.

Large community
Thanks to the extensive GitHub and Stack Overflow communities, developers can get help on almost any problem.

Сross-platform scripting
The use of this language is not limited by Android apps development. Java is also perfect for developing cross-platform applications.

Resources
Since Android is developed in Java, this language has ready-made libraries and SDKs to facilitate the development process.

Cons:

Speed
Java is slower than compiled languages and also uses a lot of memory.

It’s harder to write code in Java
Being a very verbose language, Java requires writing a large amount of code, so the number of bugs increases significantly.

Kotlin’s pros and cons for Android apps development

Kotlin is a statically typed programming language created by JetBrains, based in St. Petersburg. Kotlin is fully compatible with Java, operates on top of the JVM, has a readable syntax and compiles with JavaScript source code. At the Google I/O 2017 conference, the Android development team reported that Kotlin received official support for the Android apps development. Currently Kotlin is used by such business leaders as Pivotal, Atlassian, Pinterest, Evernote, Uber and others.



Pros:

Improved productiveness
It takes less time and fewer lines of code to write and deploy a program. When the code is simpler and easier to understand, it’s harder to make errors and easier to detect them, so their number is rapidly decreasing As a result, it allows you to implement various tasks in much easier and faster way. Moreover, programmers are positive about Kotlin, as they get a tool that greatly simplifies their lives.

Full compatibility with Java
Kotlin is compatible with all Java libraries and frameworks. You can write a mobile solution in both languages or migrate your apps from Java to Kotlin.

Suitable for multiplatform development
Android application development is not the only direction of Kotlin. It provides JavaScript support, allowing programmers to transfer the frontend to Kotlin or write a web part on it from the very beginning of the project.
The founders also added Gradle support so that developers can write Gradle files on it. Moreover, actively developing Kotlin Native will help you create iOS applications.

Ease of transition
JetBrain made the process of transition to Kotlin very easy, it is partially automatic. The Java code is converted to Kotlin, and then the developer looks at the result and adds the missing elements.

Ease of support
Android developers can easily maintain Kotlin code, since this language is supported in many IDEs, including Android studio, and in several other SDKs. In addition, developers can work with any familiar set of tools.

Reliability
The latest version of Kotlin is backward compatible with all previous versions. This saves Android developers from working with different versions.

Ease of learning
Kotlin is easier to learn compared to Java, since it doesn’t require any knowledge in the mobile apps development.

Android Studio support
Android Studio provides Kotlin support and adaptation tools. Developers can work on Kotlin and Java at the same time.

Cons:

Compilation speed
Developers complain about fluctuations in the speed of compiling code on Kotlin. In some cases it happens very quickly while in others it is noticeably slower.

Less community support
Kotlin has a small community of developers, so the amount of resources for learning this language is limited. You will meet many unanswered questions.

Lack of developers
A very limited number of people write programs with the help of Kotlin. The lack of professionals in the development of Android applications concerns Kotlin more than Java. In addition, compared to other languages of the JVM family, for example, Groovy and Scala, Kotlin has far fewer programmers.

Conclusion

Of course, the comparison is always subjective. Java retains its advantage in Android development. Kotlin is a Java based language. Their full extent comparison will not effective because of their mutual influence. What is clear is that Kotlin offers many advantages and has great potential as a development tool for Android.

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