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Java Vs Kotlin: Which Should You Choose For Android Development

Java and Kotlin both are object-oriented programming languages. But both are used for different purposes. Kotlin is used to develop android applications while Java is mainly used for developing enterprise applications. In this section, we have discussed the differences between Java and Kotlin.

That’s what we’re going to talk about today. This head-to-head comparison between Kotlin vs Java highlights the similarities and contrasts between the two languages. If you want a fast overview of the differences, we’ve included a table below. Following that, you’ll discover a more in-depth breakdown of the differences.

Kotlin vs Java: Head to Head Comparison

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is an open-source programming language that can run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The language can run on numerous platforms.

It is a language that combines Object Oriented Programming (OOPs) and functional programming in an unrestricted, self – sufficient and distinctive platform.

What is Java?

Java is a programming language that is multi-platform, object-oriented, and network-centric. It’s one of the most commonly used programming languages. It was first released by Sun Microsystem in 1995 and is also used as a computing platform. Oracle Corporation later purchased it.

Stack Overflow Questions Java vs Kotlin

KEY DIFFERENCES:

  • Kotlin combines features of both object-oriented and functional programming, whereas Java is limited to object-oriented programming.
  • Kotlin allows users to create an extension function while Java doesn’t offer any extension functions.
  • Kotlin doesn’t offer implicit conversions, and Java supports implicit conversions.
  • There are no null variables or objects in Kotlin on the other hand, Null variable or objects are part of Java language.
  • Kotlin doesn’t support static members, while Java uses static members.
  • In, Kotlin variables of a primitive type are objects while in Java Variables of a primitive type aren’t objects
  • Lambda Expression is supported in Kotlin, but it is not supported in Java. (In Java 8, lambda expressions are added.)
  • Kotlin doesn’t require any variable datatype specifications while Java requires variable datatype specifications.
  • Kotlin doesn’t require any variable datatype specifications but Java requires variable datatype specifications .
  • Kotlin programs don’t require semicolons in their program while Java program does need a semicolon.
  • Language scripting capabilities allow you to use Kotlin directly in your Gradle build scripts while Java does not offer language scripting capabilities.

Features Of Java

  • Simple
  • Object-Oriented
  • Platform Independent
  • Multi Threading
  • Architectural Neutral
  • Portable
  • High Performance
  • Checked exceptions
  • Primitive types that are not classes. The byte-code uses primitives where possible, but they are not explicitly available.
  • Static members are replaced with companion objects, top-level functions, extension functions, or @JvmStatic.
  • Wildcard-types are replaced with declaration-site variance and type projections.
  • Ternary-operator a ? b : c is replaced with if expression.

Features Of Kotlin

  • Lambda expressions + Inline functions = performant custom control structures
  • Extension functions
  • Type inference for variable and property types
  • Null-safety
  • Smart casts
  • String templates
  • Properties
  • Primary constructors
  • First-class delegation Singletons
  • Declaration-site variance & Type projections
  • Range expressions
  • Operator overloading
  • Companion objects
  • Data classes
  • Separate interfaces for read-only and mutable collections
  • Coroutines

History of Kotlin

Here, are important landmarks from the history of Kotlin:

  • In 2016, Kotlin v1.0 was launched
  • In 2017, Announcement of Google on the first-class support of Kotlin in Android
  • In 2018, Kotlin v1.3 version released bringing coroutines for asynchronous programming.
  • In 2019, Google announced Kotlin as its preferred programming language for Android application developers

History of JAVA

Here, are important landmarks from the history of Java language

  • OAK was the original name for the Java programming language. It was originally designed to handle portable devices and set-top boxes. Oak was a colossal flop.In 1995, Sun changed the name to “Java” and modified the language to take advantage of the burgeoning www (World Wide Web) development business.
  • Later in 2009, Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems and took ownership of three key Sun software assets: Java, MySQL, and Solaris.

Here, are differences between Kotlin vs Java

Advantage of Kotlin

Here, are benefits/pros of Kotlin:

  • Using the Kotlin Multiplatform framework, you can extract one common codebase that will target all of them at the same time
  • Kotlin offers built-in null safety support, which is a lifesaver, especially on Android, which is full of old Java-style APIs.
  • It’s more concise and expressive than Java, which means there is less room for error.
  • Offers user-friendly and understandable coding norms
  • Divides large apps into smaller layers.
  • Uses lots of function types and specialized language structures like lambda expressions.
  • Helps developers to create extension functions
  • Offers a very simple and almost automated way of creating data classes
  • Kotlin is a statically-typed language, so it is very easy to read and write.
  • This language allows the exchange and use of information from Java in various ways.
  • It’ll take less time to write new code in Kotlin.
  • It’s quite easier to deploy kotlin code and to maintain it at scale.

Advantages of Java

Here, are pros/benefits of Java

  • Checked exceptions that improve error detecting and solving
  • Detailed documentation is available.
  • A large pool of skilled developers available
  • A huge array of 3rd party libraries
  • It allows you to form standard programs and reusable code.
  • It is a multi-threaded environment that allows you to perform many tasks simultaneously in a program.
  • Excellent performance
  • Easy to navigate libraries

Disadvantage of Kotlin

Here, are cons/drawback of using Kotlin:

  • Small community of developers, so it lacks learning materials and professional assistance.
  • Java doesn’t offer a function of checked exceptions that may lead to errors.
  • Slower compilation speed than Java
  • Kotlin, being a highly declarative language, sometimes it helps you to generate great amounts of boilerplate in corresponding JVM bytecode

Disadvantages of Java

Here, are cons/disadvantages of Java:

  • Not very suitable for Android API design because of a number of limitations
  • Demands a lot of manual work which increases the number of potential errors
  • JIT compiler makes the program comparatively slow.
  • Java has high memory and processing requirements.
  • It does not provide support for low-level programming constructs like pointers.
  • You don’t have any control over garbage collection as Java does not offer functions like delete(), free().

Which is Better?

  • When all of Java’s weaknesses are considered, particularly the problem with NullPointerExceptions, Kotlin appears to be the superior language.
  • Although Java is still an essential language for every android app development as the Android OS itself is based on the same.
  • If you are looking to future proof your android app development services, then you should hire Kotlin developers for the same.

Why are we comparing Kotlin vs Java?

As previously said, Java is a general-purpose programming language that, together with JavaScript and Python, is one of the most widely used in the world. Although Kotlin isn’t currently on the podium, it has shown to be a formidable opponent in Android development.

One year after its launch, in 2017, Google recognized Kotlin as their second official language for Android development. In 2019, Kotlin was declared as the favored programming language for Android applications at Google. Consequently, this programming language underwent incredible growth.

Conclusion

For Android development, Kotlin seems to be the best option at the moment. Many companies and developers are adopting it, and the language will most likely continue to grow.

However, Java remains an excellent general-purpose language. It has been Android’s favorite for a long time, so it will not be that quickly replaced.

To summarise, the dispute over which language is superior is complex and will almost certainly result in lively debates. Furthermore, there are additional factors to consider than only the differences in the languages, such as the language used by the companies and how comfortable developers are with Kotlin or Java.

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