Kotlin vs Java: Which is Better for Android App Development?

What is Kotlin?

Pros of Kotlin

  • Conciseness. When comparing Java to Kotlin, the latter has proven to be more laconic and expressive. Kotlin allows developers to solve the same problem by writing less code. As a result, it improves code readability, leaves less space for errors, and makes the code more efficient.
  • Interoperability. Kotlin can boast full interoperability with Java. It is 100% compatible with the ecosystem of Java frameworks, tools, and libraries. In addition, one, and can be integrated with Gradle and Maven build systems. Programmers can write new modules in Kotlin without doubting whether they will work with the existing Java code. All of that makes Kotlin an easy-to-learn-and-use language for Android developers that were previously using Java to build their apps.
  • Vibrant community. Even though Kotlin is a quite young programming language, it has a strong and supportive community of programmers that stand behind it. All interested developers can benefit from the constantly growing number of open-source projects published on GitHub. One can find a range of learning resources, courses, blogs, videos, and tutorials to learn the language.
  • Safety. The Kotlin language eliminates a significant number of coding errors that may become the reasons for system crashes and failures. Thanks to its simplified framework, it requires developers to write fewer lines of code, which eventually means fewer coding errors. Except that, the language performs a range of different checks that allow detecting bugs early at the compile time.

Cons of Kotlin

  • Slow compilation. One of the main drawbacks of Kotlin is slower code compilation, especially when comparing it to Java. The numbers show that Java is 17% faster than Kotlin for compiling clean builds.
  • Lack of experienced developers. For example, when comparing Kotlin vs Python or Kotlin vs JavaScript, the latter two will have more proficient engineers available on the job market. Since Kotlin is only beginning to gain popularity, finding an experienced developer to lead the team may be a daunting task.
  • Steep learning curve. The Kotlin language has a steep learning curve. Albeit the language has an extremely concise syntax, which is one of its primary advantages, it will still take your team some time to learn it upfront.

What is Kotlin used for?

  • Netflix;
  • Pinterest;
  • Uber;
  • Trello;
  • Evernote;
  • Coursera;
  • Basecamp.

What is Java?

  • Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is an engine that provides a runtime environment for the execution of Java code. Its primary purpose lies in converting the Java bytecode which, in fact, is a language that can be understood by the device.
  • Java Runtime Environment (JRE). It is a part of the Java Development Kit (JDK) that encompasses all class libraries and JVM essential for executing the Java applets and applications.
  • Java Development Kit (JDK). Together with JVM and JRE, it represents the software development environment that provides tools to build java applications.

Pros of Java

  • Easy to learn. When compared to many other popular programming languages, Java is easy to learn and understand. It is a well-structured and object-oriented programming language with an understandable syntax, which makes it fairly easy for beginners.
  • Platform-independent. Platform independence is probably the primary benefit of Java. The compiler allows software engineers to convert Java source code to bytecode which is an intermediate language. It means that this bytecode can then be executed on any platform by using the JVM.
  • Large community. As Java is among the top 10 most popular programming languages, it is obvious that it has a large community of users behind it. That being said, it is easier to find help in case support is needed or to learn the language as there are a lot of resources available online.
  • Abundant API. Java provides a rich Application Programming Interface (API) that can be used by software developers to build integrations between different applications and make them communicate with each other.
  • Security. Java has a range of built-in security features, including garbage collection, automatic memory management, and range-checking on the array. All of that results in the reduction of programming errors and makes the code more secure and robust.

Cons of Java

  • Verbosity. If comparing Kotlin vs Python vs Java, the latter is wordier in terms of code. Since it requires more lines of code to perform the same tasks, it is more prone to bugs and subtle programming errors.
  • Performance. Java is considerably slower than other languages (e.g., C or C++) because of the necessity to be interpreted during the runtime. Aside from that, the applications written in this language consume a considerable percentage of the system’s resources (CPU and memory).
  • Costs. Since Java applications need more resources and have high processing requirements, you’ll need better hardware to develop Java programs, which may be rather expensive.

What is Java used for?

  • Google;
  • Android OS;
  • LinkedIn;
  • Spotify;
  • Amazon;
  • Twitter;
  • NASA World Wind.

Java vs Kotlin: the major differences explained

Kotlin or Java: Which is the best choice?

Final thoughts




CEO at Jelvix | Global Technology Partner for Software Innovation and Industry-Leading Solutions https://jelvix.com/

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Sasha Andrieiev

Sasha Andrieiev

CEO at Jelvix | Global Technology Partner for Software Innovation and Industry-Leading Solutions https://jelvix.com/

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