The Kotlin Revolution: Why it’s the perfect language for Android apps?

Published on:
June 3, 2024

Kotlin is becoming the language of choice for Android developers. Developed by JetBrains, Kotlin is precise, concise, and offers expressive options for coding. The name Kotlin is derived from an island near St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Kotlin is poised for significant growth and is estimated to be among the fastest-growing programming languages. Since it is open-source, Kotlin app development does not involve paying hefty license fees. It also fosters an open environment for user contribution to improved features. 

However, its lack of maturity as a language might require the usage of workarounds. Kotlin isn’t entirely supported by Android development frameworks & third-party libraries. Let us delve into the Kotlin market to understand its benefits. 

In this MarsDevs article, we discuss the Kotlin revolution in app development & why it’s necessary. So, let’s get started!

Why use Kotlin for Android app development?

Why use Kotlin for Android app development?

Kotlin is an open-source & statically-based programming language. Kotlin was developed to address issues that older technologies could not. It lends itself easily to enterprise development and other problems. 

Kotlin was built for enterprise applications, unlike several languages with a research background. 

Kotlin is integrated with Android Studio and has helped widen the Android ecosystem. Google provides tooling support and IDE for Kotlin. New libraries and other features will soon be added to Kotlin. This will provide support, documentation, Android development tools, and updates to the Kotlin developer community. 

Team efficiency gets a boost with Kotlin as it facilitates clean compact programming. Android app development using data structures and algorithms can be more productively carried out with Kotlin. While Java is extremely verbose, Kotlin is precise and concise. 

The use of smart casts in Kotlin facilitates working with data types. It has improved safety and syntax features. The development costs of Android apps with Kotlin are also lesser. The development cycle is shorter too. The code has a shorter development cycle. 

Modification of Kotlin code is easier on account of its readability. Possible failures and crashes can be caught earlier. This allows developers to focus on the coding ideas. Kotlin scores over Scala because it is a light code with quick compilation. 

Ease of moving from Java to Kotlin

With more and more Android development using Kotlin, there is increasing scope for Kotlin professionals. While Java has been widely used for Android apps, it is old and prone to errors. It does not support streams, method references, and lambda. 

Android apps built on Kotlin are far less likely to crash. The concepts and syntax are similar to Scala, Java, and C#. Kotlin’s latest version is reverse-compatible with several earlier language versions.

Ease of moving from Java to Kotlin

Java and Kotlin codes can be seamlessly used by each other. Code can thus be mixed and matched. Kotlin is backward-compatible with Java thereby obviating the need for Java application rewrite. Using a script, java files can be converted to Kotlin. 

Android Studio, Android SDK, and Android KTX support Kotlin app development. Kotlin is interoperable with Java code but is not compatible with the syntax. Since Kotlin and Java use the same development environment, robust Android and other applications can be swiftly and efficiently developed. This makes it easier to migrate from Java to Kotlin.

Java developers can easily adapt to Kotlin as it shares several similarities. The cost of migration from Java to Kotlin is relatively low. Kotlin concepts and syntax are easy to grasp. With a single codebase, Kotlin reduces the application maintenance process. 

Kotlin can deploy aggressive inference, unlike Java. This can help decide the type of values and expressions if they haven’t been defined. Migration of existing codebases from Java to Kotlin can be tedious. However, automated tools can help to some extent. 

The use of Kotlin for back-end web development has nudged out Java. A slow migration to Kotlin can be made while the app incorporates Java. 

Since Kotlin works well with various frameworks like Spring, the migration is easier. Several companies have replaced Kotlin with server-side code. 

As per the JetBrains developer survey, over half of the developers have migrated to Kotlin since it has a built-in null safety option. The Survey also pointed out that Kotlin is recommended by nearly 80% of developers for Android application development.

Companies using Kotlin

Companies using Kotlin
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Uber
  • Airbnb
  • Barclays Bank
  • OLX
  • Zald
  • Google
  • Tinder
  • Atlassian
  • Norwegian Tax Administration 
  • Courser
  • Slack 
  • Netflix
  • Basecamp
  • Evernote
  • Coursera
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Trello
  • Zomato

Ease of Kotlin coding

Kotlin involves just-in-time compiling thereby ensuring smooth running with Java apps. Thus, Kotlin does not have any runtime overhead. Kotlin programming involves lesser boilerplate code. While semicolons are not required at the end of each line, they are ignored if used. Android crashes have usually been attributed to NPE (NullPointerException) and other errors in Java. Kotlin overcomes that challenge with its compiler. Several checks are carried out to identify and eliminate errors in the app. The Kotlin code is thus safer and more reliable. It is more secure and error-free.Kotlin multiplatform supports the development of multiplatform apps. Code can be reused between platforms. This eases the development process. Android UIs can be quickly created using Kotlin as it has a modern UI toolkit with powerful APIs.

Ease of Kotlin coding

Kotlin makes light work of database updates and network calls as it is simple and facilitates asynchronous programming and blocking code through coroutines. It simplifies tasks like accessing local data and network calls. Kotlin can be deployed for server-side development along with Java as it supports Java Class libraries. 

The multiplatform mobile development facilitates the use of Kotlin for Linux, Apple iOS, and Apple watchOS, in addition to Android. Kotlin code can be easily deployed on multiple Android operating systems like Nougat and Marshmallow. 

The IDE offers tools such as Refactoring, syntax highlighting, auto-complete, and debugging to make Kotlin coding easier. Potential vulnerabilities are spotted by the Kotlin compiler to prevent security issues. It also detects performance bugs and memory leaks. 

Developers can use less code to create applications for multiple platforms. Developers need not learn more programming languages to develop apps for several platforms. Kotlin uses Lambda expressions thereby facilitating efficiency in coding. As it supports type inference, an explicit definition of data types isn’t required. 

Kotlin supports RxJava, Dagger, Retrofit, and other Android app development frameworks. The identification and fixing of bugs is quicker. New features are introduced as per user preferences by developers from different backgrounds. 

The null safety factor of Kotlin distinguishes between nullable and non-nullable types. This reduces the possibility of several bugs and app crashes. The IntelliJ IDEA is an automated Java-to-Kotlin converter that detects errors and suggests code completion options.

Idiomatic patterns and query operations for sequences and collections can be easily used in Kotlin. Kotlin supports immutability, higher-order functions, and other functional programming features. It is possible to convert data classes to XML or JSON. Getters and setters are easily supported in Kotlin. Accessing of fields is simplified. 

Java libraries and frameworks can be used when integrating Kotlin. However, it’s vital to consider Kotlin’s null safety features. There is a risk of increasing the app’s binary size if sufficient caution is not exercised while coding. 

Kotlin Applications

Kotlin/JS can also be applied for front-end development. It’s sensible to implement Kotlin for server-side website creation. Ultimately, Java has been used since its inception. Still, you can incorporate Kotlin for front-end creation with Kotlin/JS.

Kotlin Multi-platform Mobile aids the creation of cross-platform mobile apps. The same Kotlin code can be compiled for Android and iPhones. Kotlin can be harnessed for data science applications involving building data pipelines and deploying machine learning models for production.

Kotlin and Flutter

Flutter is a hybrid app development framework that is based on Dart. Though it has a larger development community, Kotlin has the advantage of being Android-based. Kotlin is backed by Google and a huge developer community. 

Learning Flutter is more challenging as it has its UI rendering engine and a vast customizable widget list. Kotlin is pragmatic and easier to understand for developers well-versed in Java and Swift. Kotlin doesn’t impact the UI/UX development, unlike Flutter. Other technologies have to be harnessed to design app UX.

With Google moving towards Kotlin and several Java apps being rewritten in Kotlin, it is creating a revolution in the app development sector. Kotlin might push out Java from the Android app development ecosystem much as Swift did with Objective C. 

Kotlin is all set to change the app development scenario, especially in the Android ecosystem. It blends the expressiveness of a scripting language with the ruggedness of a statically typed language. It is a modern language that enhances productivity and simplifies complex tasks. 

Final Words

Beyond Android, Kotlin encompasses web development and server-side applications for other platforms. Kotlin can survive the rapidly evolving technological landscape. Kotlin is versatile and its features can be of immense help to app developers in LATAM. 

At MarsDevs, we will analyze your customer sentiment and behavior cues to offer highly tailored experiences.

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