Kotlin vs Java: Why Kotlin is Better over Java for Android App Development

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In this blog, we will have a short overview of Kotlin and Java followed by why Kotlin is a better option over Java as a better programming language for android application development.

Java has been the most popular language that often strikes first when it comes to the best programming language for the Android app. Java retained its space even with the introduction of a myriad of new technologies and languages in the Android app development horizon. It’s true that even today, Java is a widely-used programming language for developing Android apps.

Meanwhile, the introduction of Kotlin, first introduced in 2011, as the Android app development programming language has propagated the debate of Kotlin vs Java. With Kotlin, Android app developers not only find what they can access with Java but also much more to develop seamless apps without taking more time.

Today, Kotlin has become the most preferred choice among developers for Android app development, when it comes to Kotlin vs Java. Its USP lies in time-efficiency, less coding, fewer errors, easier to read, etc. Let’s discuss here why Kotlin gets an edge over Java.

We are going to take a deep dive into Kotlin vs Java to know which one is preferred for developing Android applications. Here, we will explore the pros and cons of both Java and Kotlin to understand the thing easily.

What is Kotlin?

Developed and introduced by JetBrains, Kotlin is a new programming language complemented with the advanced features of Java. As an open-source Android app development language, Kotlin is based on JVM (Java Virtual Machine – it’s a statically typed language that can be easily compiled to JavaScript or native, to create code that can also work on iOS flawlessly.

Pros of Kotlin

  • Kotlin is easier to learn and understand.
  • It is a feature-rich and highly up-to-date programming language.
  • Kotlin is concise, compact and has clear syntax. So, it improves the productivity of developers and they take less time compared to Java for coding and deployment. So, Kotlin makes even large projects development more precise and less time taking.
  • Kotlin includes complete Java interoperability. So, it works perfectly with Java including the related frameworks and tools. This makes it easier to use both Kotlin and Java within the same project successfully or also migrating to Kotlin smoothly.
  • The new programming language for Android app development includes stellar support for various IDEs that include Android Studio as well. So, developers can improve their productivity by leveraging tried and tested tools.
  • As Kotlin is concise and includes a clear database, it minimizes errors and thus makes code more stable in development. This is the reason why Kotlin is considered to be the safest programming language for Android app development.
  • Kotlin lets developers create clean APIs with the inclusion of all advanced functions.

Cons of Kotlin

  • Slow compilation speed is a major drawback of the new Android app development programming language. Meanwhile, the results are completely mixed – in some cases, Kotlin is far ahead of Java, when it comes to compilation speed. But, sometimes, it’s quite slower than Java.
  • Kotlin has a small developer community, though it is gaining popularity over its predecessor.
  • When it comes to the compilation, Java gains an edge over Kotlin.
  • The compilation and auto-complete of Android Studio run quite slow with the apps developed on Kotlin compared to Java.
  • Learning Kotlin requires much time.

What is Java?

Developed by Sun Microsystem, Java is the most popular and the oldest language for Android application development. It’s an object-oriented programming language that lets Android developers write once and run anywhere’. It was the sole programming language for Android app development, before the introduction of Kotlin. Java, meanwhile, still maintains its popularity among Android developers.

Pros of Java

  • Java is a highly flexible language that can be easily run on a virtual machine or a browser window.
  • It’s easier to learn and understand.
  • Since Android is itself developed on Java, it fully relies on Java. And this is the reason why Android SDK includes the number of Java libraries.
  • Mobile application developed on Java is highly compact and also is quite easier to be optimized, when high performance needed.
  • Java is highly secure. It doesn’t include explicit pointer and is available for a security manager that can easily define the access of classes.
  • Java is multithreaded and includes the potential to perform multiple tasks at the same time.
  • Java comes with automatic memory management and lets developers be stress-free while writing code for memory management tasks.
  • As a distributed language, it includes integrated management for data share and programs among many computers for increasing efficiency and performance.
  • Java supports numbers of libraries that can easily create a block of an enterprise system, which is highly beneficial for developers in building any computing function that an organization may require.

Cons of Java

  • As a memory-consuming language, Java is slow compared to those of natively compiled languages that include C.
  • In Java, memory management is done through garbage collection. But, whenever the collector runs, it adversely impacts on mobile app’s performance.
  • Android applications developed with Java fail to gain the same kind of look and feel delivered by native applications.
  • Coding written in java is verbose and highly complicated, which makes it difficult for developers to learn and understand.

Also read: Top 10 Programming Languages to Overview in 2019


So, who’s winning the battle of Java vs Kotlin?

Well, as we have already gone through a detailed overview of Kotlin vs Java, in terms of their pros and cons. Though Kotlin is gaining a wide space among developers for being advanced and feature-rich, still Java is used for Android app development. So, the app company that uses both languages for Android app development, depending on project requirements.

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