The most recent presentation of Kotlin in the latest Google I/O conference was a big announcement that represents news programming opportunities for Android app developers. As it is known, Kotlin is the new support language for Android Development.
What´s happening with Java?
Java continues as the official language for Android Development. But surely, at this point, you must remark that both Java as Kotlin are friendly programming languages that seek to innovate Android developers choices.
With so many recent expectations about Kotlin, and KontlinConf arriving soon, you must think that Java probably is being phased out. Well, not for the moment.
With the latest Java SE 9 launched last september by Oracle, and adding support for Kotlin, they are innovating Java. For sure, you can expect new and useful benefits from Java 9 .
So, Kotlin versus Java?
Kotlin works side by side with Java and C++ on Android. But, what does this mean? Well, you can add Kotlin code to your existing project. With this “bi-directional use” of Kotlin, you can call into Java language from Kotlin or viceversa, unlike other languages.
The new Android language is completely “interoperable” with Java, this means you can use Java frameworks and mix commands from both in your code, with no limitations. Kotlin has been used by developers since some years ago but it was until this year that it was officially presented as an Android support language.
Android Oreo will support the Kotlin language and tools with the recent Android Studio 3.0 by default. As you can find in the description of the official Developer Android web: “Kotlin is expressive, concise, extensible, powerful and a joy to read and write”. It´s also the first language to be added to Android.
Are any differences using Kotlin or Java?
The new Android language helps to write safer, because with less work it´s possible to write a more reliable code. Of course, for the UX this translates into apps with less bugs and crashes.
Although Java and Kotlin are both languages for Android development, there are several comparisons between both programming languages. However, Kotlin is a clean slate in many ways and it adds a lot of great features for app creators.
One interesting characteristic of this Google language acquisition is that Kotlin will continue to be developed and supported by JetBrains. Actually, both companies are currently trying to set up a nonprofit Kotlin foundation to look after the language.
Kotlin for beginners, intermediate or advanced
Should an Android developer use Java or Kotlin? This is recently a constant question app developers ask, but here are some tips you must take into consideration.
Firstly, if you already decided to become an android developer probably the best thing to do is to start or continue learning Java.
At this moment, the resources for learning Kotlin are scarce, compared to Java. Keep learning about Java and eventually you will become more confident to use Kotlin later.
Secondly, if you feel confident enough, you should try out Kotlin and start enjoying the benefits of creating less code and other advantages from this new language.
Even if you´re not planning to use it any time soon, at least try to inform yourself about it, by participating in communities and eventually start implementing it into your projects.
And thirdly, if you’re an advanced developer you should be already into it! You find yourself in a stage where both languages are at your disposal and you have the knowledge enough to take the most out of them.
Advanced or not, every Android developer should give Kotlin a try. Until now, Java continues to be the most popular language app for development, however, keep an eye on Kotlin too, since is definitely going to play a determinant role in a short future.