The demand for Android app development is increasing day by day. This is because Android has become the most popular smartphone operating system in the world. As a matter of fact, due to this rise in demand, most businesses are thinking about developing a leading and impactful app but which programming language (Java Vs Kotlin) is the best?
Well, the first two technologies’ names that strike most of the experts are Java vs Kotlin if someone talks about developing an Android application. Moreover, Java Vs Kotlin are the most popular languages, both are outstanding, mainly known worldwide for their superior functionalities, features, and capability of developing a great Android application.
Obviously, multiple languages can’t be used to develop any mobile application. Therefore, let’s figure out which one will be the best among Java vs Kotlin. So, in this blog, we will cover everything from the introduction of the programming languages, their pros, and cons, to the differences between Java Vs Kotlin, and much more.
What Is Java?
Java is one of the oldest object-oriented, multi-platform programming languages. Java is one of the most extensively used languages in today’s date and reputable programming languages applied for Android development worldwide. Not to mention, as per the Developer Nation’s research, in the year 2020, Java reached over 8 million active software developers across the globe.
Java is a platform-independent language. On the other hand, the basis for the creation of Java was the WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) principle. Furthermore, that signifies once the Java code is compiled, it will work on almost any device, operating system, server, or platform that supports Java without the need to be recompiled.
Additionally, Java can be characterized as a scalable, secure, and robust programming language that can be applied to build a whole host of various desktop, enterprise, cloud-based, and web-based applications.
Benefits of programming in Java
Easy to learn
Challenges of the Java Language
The syntax that Java uses can be a little complicated or cumbersome in comparison to other languages – like C + or Python.
With Java, it is impossible to access certain content that may be incompatible with the device or equipment being used.
It isn’t easy to access the new Java enhancements in mobile development.
There are times when Java causes problems with Android API design.
Test-Driven Development for Java requires writing more code and carries a much higher risk of programming errors and bugs.
Java is a bit slower with respect to other programming languages and takes a lot of system memory.
Top 5 Applications of Java Programming Language
What Is Kotlin?
The language is supported by all the leading Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), including Eclipse, NetBeans, Android Studio, and IntelliJ IDEA.
Benefits of programming in Kotlin
Easy to Adopt
Kotlin can boast full interoperability with Java. It is 100% compatible with the ecosystem of Java frameworks, tools, and libraries. Additionally, it can couple 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.
Challenges of the Kotlin Language
Kotlin is not so popular, and so the developer community is sparse compared to other well-established languages like Java.
Kotlin matches weak patterns, and initial code readability becomes a bit difficult to read and understand at first.
It has a small support community as Kotlin is younger than Java. Moreover, it has fewer libraries, blog posts, and tutorials.
Kotlin has a steep learning curve, and switching teams to Kotlin because of the language’s concise syntax can be a real challenge.
There are very few Kotlin developers available in the market. So, finding an experienced mentor is quite tricky.
Top 5 Applications built with Kotlin
Java Vs Kotlin: What’s The Difference Between These Two Programming Languages
Comparisons Between Java Vs Kotlin
|Functional Programming||Java is more limited to the concept of object-oriented programming.||Kotlin is a mix of object-oriented and functional programming. It can use lambda expressions and high-order functions.|
|Checked Exceptions||Java developers have checked exceptions support.||Checked exceptions are not available on Kotlin. Thus, Kotlin’s developers do not require catching or declaring exceptions.|
|Extension Functions||To extend the functionality of an existing class, we need to create a new class and inherit the functions from the parent class.||Kotlin enables the developer to extend the functionality of classes without necessarily having to inherit from a class.|
|Wildcard Types||Java provides wildcards.||Kotlin does not provide wildcards.|
|Data Classes||Developers need to establish the fields (or variables) to store the data, the constructor, and the getter and setter functions for the fields/variables, as well as other functions, such as the hashCode(), equals(), and toString().||Kotlin provides a more straightforward way to create classes to hold data by simply including the “data” keyword in the class definition.|
|Public Fields||Public fields (also known as non-private fields) are available in Java.||Kotlin does not have public fields.|
|Smart Casts||The developer must check the variables’ type in consonance to the operation.||Casting checks are handled by the smart casts feature. Kotlin’s intelligent compiler automatically manages redundant casts.|
|Null Safety||NullPointerExceptions – enables developers to attribute a null value to any variable.||In Kotlin it is not possible to attribute null values to variables or objects by default.|
|Code||Requires more lines of code than Kotlin.||Typically requires less code and is a very concise language.|
As we know, Kotlin is a mix of object-oriented and functional programming.
Functional programming is a declarative style of programming that handles computations based on mathematical functions. High-order functions and lambda expressions are (some) functional programming concepts.
Kotlin is a statically typed language and can make the most out of various function types to represent functions. Or, it is possible to operate functions in a variety of ways.
Also, it is also possible to use lambda expressions or anonymous functions with Kotlin. These are a “functional literal”. Therefore, it represents a non-declarable function and immediately passes as an expression.
Whereas Java is more limited to the concept of object-oriented programming. However, it has been taking some steps toward functional programming too. Since Java 8, in 2014, Java has introduced lambda expressions, which is a function that can be created without necessarily belonging to a class. In fact, lambda expressions in Java qualify as objects and can be executed on demand.
Further, with the introduction of lambda expressions, Java also started supporting high-order functions. Java associates a function with a method, and Java 8 enables lambda’s return from methods.
In Kotlin, we don’t have checked exceptions. So, Kotlin’s developers don’t need to catch or declare the exceptions which have advantages and disadvantages.
In Java, we have checked exceptions support which makes developers declare and catch the exception. It ensures robust code with good error handling. Therefore, checked exceptions support has its pros and cons.
Kotlin allows developers to extend an existing class with new functionality. To perform the extension function in Kotlin, the developer must prefix the name of the class (that will be extended) to the name of the function created by using the ‘.’ notation.
In Java, if we want to extend the functionality of the existing class, we need to create a new class and inherit the parent class. So, the Extension function is not available in Java.
Typically, a question mark (?) in code is a wildcard, which suggests an unknown type (of variable, field, or parameter).
Unlike Java Vs Kotlin does not provide wildcards. Instead, it has a declaration-site variance and type projections, which serve as an alternative.
In Java, variables of a primitive type are not objects; they are Java’s data types that are predefine. Java has 8 different primitive data types: int, byte, short, double, float, boolean, char, and long. Consequently, these variables cannot be an object that is from a struct or a class.
Even though primitive types are not classes, Java developers can use classes that can wrap a value of the primitive type. To do so using Java, the developer must indicate it explicitly.
Whereas, in Kotlin, as soon as you initiate a variable of a primitive type, it will automatically become an object.
In Java, suppose we need to have a class that needs to hold data but nothing else. For this we need to define constructors, variables to store data, getter and setter methods, hashcode(), toString(), and equals() functions.
On the other hand, in Kotlin, if we need to have classes that need to hold data, we can declare a class with the keyword “data” in the class definition then the compiler will take care of all of this work, such as creating constructors getter, setter methods for different fields.
Public fields (also known as non-private fields) are available in Java. They can be pretty convenient in case the callers of an object require modifying according to the representation of that same object since it enables the developer to change the representation of an object without needing to adjust the callers. This way, the fields can be public; therefore, the public API remains unchanged, and the program can sustain a level of maintainability.
Contrastingly, Kotlin does not have public fields.
In Java, NullPointerExceptions cause huge frustration for developers. It allows users to assign null to any variables, but while accessing an object reference having a null value raises a null pointer exception which the user needs to handle.
In contrast, in Kotlin, by default, all types of variables are non-nullable (i.e. we can’t assign null values to any type of variables/objects). If we try to assign or return null values, the Kotlin code will fail during compile time. If we really want a variable to have a null value, we can declare it as follows:
value num: Int? = null
One of the key differences between Kotlin and Java is that Kotlin requires way less code. It is a very concise language, which reduces the chances of making code errors and simplifies the developers’ work.
Overall, Kotlin’s brevity makes it more manageable to write large projects considering that it typically requires fewer lines of code than Java to write the exact same functions. Also, it knows how to keep it short and straight to the point without compromising syntax’s readability.
For Java Vs Kotlin, Kotlin seems to be the best option at present. Most of the companies and developers are adopting it, and the programming language will most likely continue to grow.
However, Java remains an excellent general-purpose language. Also, it has been Android’s favorite for so long, so the replacement is not that easy.
This is an overview of the comparison between Java vs Kotlin and which language is better is not that straightforward. Also, there are several aspects to consider other than only the languages’ differences, for example, which language the companies are using and how comfortable developers feel with Java Vs Kotlin and more. Therefore, you can go with any of these top-notch programming languages depending on your requirements, and Echoinnovate IT can help you with that. Get in touch with us today!