Kotlin vs Java: Which One Is A Better Choice For Android App Development?

Kotlin vs Java: Which One Is A Better Choice For Android App Development? iCoderz Solutions
Kotlin vs Java: Which One Is A Better Choice For Android App Development? iCoderz Solutions

When James Gosling launched Java back in 1995, he promised developers that they would have to write the codes once and it would run everywhere. He kept his words and Java is omnipresent and works everywhere. But that doesn’t mean that Java is necessarily the best choice because it has its own set of problems. On the other hand, we now have plenty of alternatives and Kotlin is among the best options available.

Java – The Legacy Language

Java is a very old development language nearing 25 years of its birth. In the digital world, 25 years is an eternity because here a new generation is born every 18 months. It is also an error-prone development tool and verbose too. In addition, it has not kept pace with the changing dynamics of the modern digital world.

Missing Features In Java

Developers of OpenJDK have started adding the missing features in Java 8. But the problems is that Android cannot use all the novelty of Java 8. So, unfortunately, Android app developers have to use the older versions of Java such as Java 6 and Java 7. These versions are not going to be updated anytime soon.

These older versions don’t support method references, lambdas, try-with-resources, streams etcetera. Mobile app developers have to use javax.time APIs from the older versions of Java. Developers can use third-party tools such as Streams Backport, ThreeTenABP and RetroLambda to gain these features but it requires sizable efforts.

The Billion Dollar Mistake

The way in which Java handles the “null” is the biggest flaw one can think of. It leads to the NullPointerException (NPE). And this NPE is the biggest reason for the crash of Android apps. No mobile app developer can develop a mobile app without a NullPointerException. In simple words, null means the absence of a value.

This “null” is a big issue for Android because Android uses this “null” concept in its framework and APIs. But Java makes it problematic for developers to handle it. In addition, the inner classes, the anonymous inner classes and the outer classes make Java prone to memory leaks.

Ceremonious Verbosity

Any mobile app developer would prefer concise coding. If there is less coding, it will save a lot of time and efforts in the process of writing, reviewing and debugging it. But Java goes in the exact opposite direction of conciseness. It requires a lot of coding to accomplish even simple things.

In addition, Android has its own method of doing things which adds to this verbosity of Java. End of the day, it’s the developer community who has to suffer, not Java or Android.

So, mobile app developers prefer a coding language that is clean and concise. Kotlin fits the bill precisely.

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Kotlin – The Better Choice

Kotlin Android App Development

So far we have talked about only Java but it is not the only player in the town when it comes to Android app development or the mobile app development in general. There are plenty of alternatives for the Android app development and Kotlin is the one with the most community support from developers. It also has all the missing features of Java required for the mobile app development.

Kotlin is a general purpose open source language. It is a statically typed language with a type interface. It interoperates with Java and targets the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). In addition, Kotlin can also compile to native code and JavaScript. JetBrains and Google have developed Kotlin and Google officially supports it for Android mobile app development in the Android Studio.

JetBrains

The JetBrains is the brain behind IntelliJ IDEA which is one of the most popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for mobile app developers. The icing on the cake of the company is their creation, the Android Studio. Google has declared it the best IDE for Android app development.

The reason is obvious. JetBrains understand the pain the mobile app developers have to endure during the development process. They have done everything they could and even cared to go an extra mile to reduce the pain of developers.

While developing Kotlin, they have done the same thing too. They have developed it with a pragmatic approach.

Good Riddance Of NullPointerException (NPE)

Most of the Android app crashes are caused by NullPointerException (NPE) errors. It takes a lot of time and energy to fix them all one by one so Kotlin fixed all of them together. They have incorporated Null safety right within the type system of Kotlin. So developers can spot all the nulls while compiling. They don’t have to crash their mobile apps to find them.

Other Salient Features Of Kotlin

  • Kotlin hasn’t implemented the complete Java collections framework. It would have been easier for them but they wanted Kotlin to be compatible with JDK interfaces too. So that was a practical decision that has paid off well.
  • It doesn’t have a built-in package manager or build system. The practical reason for this decision is that there are certain good open source tools like Maven and Gradle that can do these things very well. So, they have kept Kotlin open source as well as light on the resource by omitting these parts.
  • Kotlin provides wonderful backward compatibility for ancient Java and Android projects.
  • It is completely interoperable with Java. One can call Java code from Kotlin and the other way round works equally well. They produce the same bytecode.
  • A developer can start using Kotlin right in the middle of his existing Java project and it won’t hurt the outcome.
  • Kotlin has great support in terms of IDEs, tools, and plugins.
  • It is a very concise language which consumes less time.

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Final Thoughts

Kotlin has many advantages over Java when it comes to the modern coding environment. If you are dealing with legacy projects, you can stick with legacy Java codes. You can add or edit a few things in those projects using Kotlin and you can convert the entire project to Kotlin too. But, if you have to develop a mobile app from scratch, Kotlin is the best bet.

iCoderz Solutions has a vast team of Kotlin experts. In fact, iCoderz Solutions is a full stack mobile app development company with full stack web development capabilities too. We have dedicated teams for iOS app development, Android app development, and Web development too. Our experienced developers have developed 400+ mobile apps and 100+ websites. If you are looking to hire Kotlin developers as a dedicated resource or want to turn your dream into reality, get in touch with us to know more and have a quote.


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