Java vs Kotlin – The Best Language for Android App Development?

Java vs Kotlin – It’s one of the most popular comparisons in the technology world. If you are in search to find out the best programming language out of two, this blog is for you!

Java is a well-known language that came into existence 24 years ago (established in 1995 by James Gosling). It has a supreme position in the list of the most popular programming languages. In fact, Java holds the highest usability record with a huge number of developers and systems.

Java dominates the enterprise programming language realm. Google is still utilizing Java for building mobile apps for Android. Moreover, it is a primary driver of the eCommerce engines including eBay and Amazon. In addition to this, Java is a major contributor to the open-source community i.e. a wealth of resources and a lot of fun tools.

Despite the undisputed reputation that Java holds, there was a need for a modern programming language. Kotlin fills this gap. Especially when Kotlin was declared as the official language for Android apps.

Kotlin has actually turned the tables especially since Google has officially announced Kotlin as the best language for Android development at Google IO at 7 May 2019, there has been a dilemma whether apps should be created in the new language or stick to the reliable Java language.

Java vs Kotlin - Which Programming Language is Best for Android App Development? - YourTeaminIndia

 

Definition of the Programming Languages?

Java: Java is the ‘Write Once & Run Everywhere’ code which is platform-independent. The general-purpose computer programming language is concurrent, class-based and object-oriented. The platform includes the execution of engine, compiler and a set of libraries. As a matter of fact, the language derives most of the syntax from C & C++.

Kotlin: Kotlin is an open-source platform, based on JVM and can be compiled to JavaScript, Android, and Native and run on iOS. Fully compatible with Java stacks, it is a combination of object-oriented and functional programming features. This concise, safe & pragmatic language focusses on interoperability with Java code and can be used everywhere Java is used.

Origin of the Programming Languages

Java: Java was developed by James Gosling and his colleagues at Sun Microsystems in 1995. Java is intended to be compiled to bytecode which is then run by JVM.

Kotlin: Kotlin was introduced by JetBrains in 2011 that is the originator of IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, and different top IDEs. The language has got its name from the ‘Kotlin Island’ in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Statistics

Java: Java is still the most popular programming language according to the TIOBE Index and is the second most searched language in PYPL (Popularity of Programming Language).

Kotlin: More than 50% of the professional Android developers now use Kotlin to develop the apps. And in the latest Stack Overflow developer survey, it ranks as the fourth-most loved programming language.

Compilation

Java: Programs do not compile into executable files instead they compile into bytecodes. Then the JVM executes them at runtime. If you will use Java compiler, source code will compile into bytecode.

Kotlin: Like Java, Bytecode is the compiled format for Kotlin. The programming code which is once compiled and then run via a virtual machine instead of a processor is called a ‘bytecode’. This approach helps to run the code on any platform.

Features

Java vs Kotlin Features
Source – Google Images

Java

  • Platform Independent: Easily transferable after the compilation of Java program byte codes.
  • Secure: Authentication based on public-key encryption. It develops a virus and tamper-free system.
  • Robust: Tries to eliminate error-prone situations by focusing on compile-time error checking.
  • Multithreaded: Programs that can perform multi-tasks can be created simultaneously.
  • Dynamic: Java programs carry large run-time information and are more dynamic than C & C++.

Recommended Read: 15 Top Reasons to Choose Java for Backend Development!

Kotlin

  • Highly Efficient: The language reduces the code length. The coding is 20% less than Java. This improves quality and has become code efficient.
  • Extension Function: Kotlin developers can add extra features to the existing component without changing the major part of the code.
  • Interoperability: You can run Java codes on Kotlin and vice versa.
  • Low Adoption Cost: The open-source has a low cost of adoption so there is no need to invest money on license
  • No Runtime Overhead: The library us small and doesn’t have garbage. It comprises of focused extensions to the standard library.

IDE support

Java

  • NetBeans: Open-source integrated development environment accelerated after it became part of Apache. It supports all Java application types: Java SE, JavaFX, Web, and EJB.
  • Enide Studio 2014: Initially released as a standalone product for different operating systems, later it develops a Tool Suite for Node.js, JavaScript and Java Development.
  • BlueJ: Running with the help of a JDK (Java Development Kit), it’s utilization is for educational purpose but also suitable for those who want to do small-scale development.
  • DrJava: DrJava is a very lightweight development environment to write programs of Java that is designed primarily for students. Also, Java developers can use it as a unit testing tool, source-level debugger, and pane for evaluating program text.

Kotlin

  • IntelliJ Idea: This IDE has a lot of versatility and stability. It has a number of tools for refactoring, software testing and more. Furthermore, the code coverage analysis and integrated version control the system which is very helpful. IntelliJ supports different languages like Java, Groovy and Scala.
  • Android Studio: This is the only mobile development that offers fast tools for building apps on any type of Android device. This studio has full support for Kotlin since May 2017.
  • Others include standalone compiler and eclipse.

Online Tutorials

Although there are innumerable websites that give detailed insights about both the languages but the popular ones are:

Java

Kotlin

Major Applications

Big brands are already using these top two programming languages. Here are a few examples of the applications that are extremely popular:

Java

  • Google: The biggest search engine
  • NASA World Wind: Open-source virtual globe API
  • Uber: A transportation network company
  • Spotify: Digital music streaming service
  • Linkedln: Social network for professionals
  • Pinterest: Social image sharing platform
  • Tripadvisor: Largest travel platform

Kotlin

  • Postmates: The on-demand food delivery app
  • Evernote: The note and task organizing app
  • Basecamp 3: The project management app, easily accessible via browser or smartphone
  • Gradle: Open source build automation tool designed to develop any type of software

Comparison Table:

Java vs Kotlin Comparison Table - YourTeaminIndia

Java vs Kotlin: Which one to Choose for Android App development?

Java vs Kotlin: Which one to Choose for Android App development?
Source – Google Images

As a personal opinion, Java is surviving for a very long time. Kotlin is basically a pragmatic enhancement of Java. They resemble one another in various instances and offers great support for Android app development. But because Kotlin has just made a fresh start, it has plenty of state-of-art features and Java is like a best friend that has stood the test of time.

Finally, I would like to say that Kotlin is the future of Android app development. In short, it is very reliable, flexible and safe language. With budget-friendly advantage and enhanced efficiency promised, utilization of Kotlin boosts profitability and improves the sales of a business. In addition to this, it not just reduces errors but also crashes at runtime making debugging reliable.

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