Android App Development: Should you make a Switch from Java to Kotlin?
There can’t be a single Android application development company that hasn’t worked on thousands of snippets of codes, whole programs, and full-fledged projects, using Java. While there’s no doubt as to Java is one of the most established programming languages, we now know that it is not the only option available to programmers.
Kotlin is a programming language that has especially caught the attention of the Android community all over the globe.
It’s true that many a developer is considering making a switch from Java to Kotlin, because of all the advantages offered by the latter. But, anything with pros is bound to have some cons as well.
To help you make an informed decision of whether or not you should go for Kotlin, we have come up with the few major pros and cons of Kotlin over Java.
Let’s first take a look at what makes Kotlin stand out in the crowd of programming languages of today…
- Kotlin is Interchangeable with Java
One of the biggest advantages of using Kotlin is that you can interchange it with Java without breaking a sweat. The level of interoperability that these languages have is the sight to see.
You can easily have codes in Java and Kotlin existing together, without it causing a single problem to the project.
Not just that, but even after the compilation is complete, it still won’t be distinguishable to the users of the program, that which of the parts were written in Java, and which in Kotlin.
Since we can use Java and Kotlin classes right next to each other, as a programmer, you don’t have to worry about using Kotlin somewhere in between a Java program, or vice versa.
You’ll never feel the need to completely convert a whole project, in order to use either of the languages.
You will find it utterly easy to use most if the Java frameworks, even the advanced ones that rely on annotation processing, as well as libraries in your Kotlin-based projects.
- It Provides a Gentle Learning Curve for Java Developers
Kotlin is an easy language to learn, especially for those who have had their fair amount of experience with Java. It’s a language that bears the strong resemblance to and doesn’t feel like a whole rewrite on Java.
Whatever skills a developer must have honed while learning Java can be, to a large extent, be applicable to working with Kotlin. It’s a great thing about Kotlin that it offers an easy learning curve for Java developers.
They even find the syntax at least lost if it, very similar to what they’d have already worked with.
In the top of it all, Kotlin is also a language that as designed to be quite intuitive in its own. Add to that, easy readability, and you have a language that is bound to be popular amongst Kotlin programmers.
Even if there’s a part in the code that they find very distinct from the ones in Java, they can still get a fair idea of what the code is meant to do.
- It Brings Together the Best of Procedural and Functional Approaches
When it one’s to programming paradigms, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
There are times when functional programming sets the stage, while at other times; you would need a procedural approach instead.
The good thing about Kotlin is that you don’t have to make a choice between the two.
Just as we see with many current languages, Kotlin to brings the best of both concepts to the fore, making it a great choice for both the Android app developers and the final users.
Now nothing and that includes a programming language, can be a cent percent perfect, now cans it!
So, here are some of the cons that you might encounter while you choose to make Kotlin replace Java in your ongoing or upcoming project…
- The Runtime Size Could Exceed
The extra runtime could hurt the size of your APK by increasing it.
Though it would be more or less 800KB, the problem might arise if your program is already too large, and even an extra 800KB could easily tip it over the edge, making you realize you might have been better off without Kotlin.
- The Concise Code can be a Problem Sometimes
We talked about the easy learning curve that Kotlin provides for Java developers, and it also considered an upside, that Kotlin code is very concise in nature.
But, sometimes, a concise code, even with that gentle learning curve, gets a little hard to understand. The greatest strength of this language, therefore, leaves many Android app developers with undecipherable code at times.
Java, on the other hand, is a quite a verbose language; but, the good thing is, it’s so clearly spelled out, that there’s little room left for any further doubt.
- Online Community Surrounding Kotlin is Fairly Small
Being a new language and such, Kotlin community isn’t too large as of now.
Especially, if you compare it with developer communities surrounding languages such as Java, which is clearly more established ones, it is fairly small.
So, switching to Kotlin for an individual developer or an Android application development company isn’t as easy as one would expect, even though the language bears the phenomenal resemblance to Java.
There is a lesser number of tutorials available, user documentation on the same is difficult to find, and of course, the community support in terms of having queries answered promptly, isn’t readily available right now.
So, we hope this post was able to throw some light on how making a switch from Java to Kotlin in Android development, could have its own pros as well as cons. The advantages and disadvantages, as you can see, are unique in nature.
But in the end, it is solely the prerogative of a developer, as to whether they want to be one of the many Kotlin programmers or not.