Choosing Between Kotlin and Java for Your Android App Development Journey

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Mobile apps are now a big part of our daily lives. In 2023, Statista reported that 90 thousand Android apps were released globally on the Google Play Store, showing significant growth in the Android market. Entrepreneurs are using these apps to expand their businesses digitally. This leads to a debate between Kotlin and Java when it comes to Android app development.

Java has been the go-to language for Android projects, but Kotlin has gained a lot of popularity lately. Before Kotlin came into the scene, Java was the main player. Now, Kotlin has become the top choice for Android apps on the Google Play Store, as confirmed by Google. 

This has left developers and business owners wondering which language is the better option. In this article, we’ll break down the strengths and weaknesses of both languages to help businesses decide which one is right for their next Android project.

Kotlin vs. Java: Comparison For Android App Development

Many of us agree that Java used to be the top choice for creating Android apps, but now Kotlin is gaining popularity and changing this trend. Let’s quickly compare these two languages to understand their importance in development.

Security Aspect

In Java, coders often encounter the NullPointerException error, lacking null safety. Kotlin, on the other hand, provides built-in null safety features and a more concise syntax than Java. This means developers can achieve the same results with less code.

Extension Functionality

In Kotlin, coders can easily extend the operations of an existing class without the need for class inheritance. This simplifies the process of adding more functions to an app without modifying the existing code. In contrast, Java does not support extension functions.

Data Classes

While Java requires engineers to set up variables and write substantial standard code to create data classes, Kotlin streamlines this process. In Kotlin, engineers only need to use the “data” keyword in the class, and the compiler takes care of the rest.

Syntax

A notable difference between Kotlin and Java lies in their syntax. Kotlin boasts a simpler and more concise syntax, making code reading and writing more effortless compared to Java.

Object-Oriented Coding

Kotlin embraces both functional and object-oriented coding concepts, making it a versatile choice. In contrast, Java is more oriented toward object-oriented programming. Kotlin supports high-order operations, lambdas, and function types for functional coding, while Java introduced lambda expressions and functional interfaces in Java 8, which are not as suitable for functional programming.

Wildcards

When comparing Kotlin and Java, Kotlin does not support wildcard classes, whereas Java does. Wildcards, represented by a question mark, define a type that is not specified, ensuring type safety in Java programs.

Coroutine Support

In addressing long-running tasks that may block threads in a heavy Android system, Kotlin employs coroutines. Coroutines allow developers to halt the execution of code and restart it in an appropriate situation, enabling tasks to run in a single thread. 

Java, however, lacks support for coroutines and relies on creating multiple threads to handle lengthy functions, increasing the likelihood of project glitches. Let’s take a look at both coding languages, highlighting their main advantages and disadvantages to make the comparison easier to understand.

Advantages of Kotlin

Kotlin is a user-friendly coding language that works on different platforms. It’s designed by JetBrains to seamlessly work with Java and the JVM version of Kotlin’s standard library, making it easy to use and understand.

Simple & Easy Learning

Learning Kotlin is easier compared to Java. It has fewer things to learn, making it great for developers who already know a bit about Android app development. The skills you’ve mastered in Java can be easily used in Kotlin.

Fewer Bugs

Working with Kotlin means fewer chances of bugs compared to other languages. The code is concise, reducing the likelihood of errors. With a clean codebase, Kotlin provides reliable support for production, making it a great choice.

Coordinates With Java

Kotlin seamlessly integrates with existing Java code, tools, and Android frameworks. Switching from Java to Kotlin is a breeze for developers, thanks to its compatibility.

Smooth Maintenance

Kotlin works well with popular IDEs, making it easy for developers. You don’t need to learn new tools, which boosts overall productivity. Choosing Kotlin is a smart move for smooth and hassle-free maintenance.

More Reliable

Kotlin is a mature coding language. It underwent rigorous testing before its final public release, ensuring reliability. Choosing Kotlin means opting for a stable and dependable language.

Drawbacks of Kotlin

While Kotlin is leading the race, it is important to discuss some of its disadvantages.

Compilation Speed Variance

Kotlin exhibits faster performance than Java in certain scenarios, particularly during incremental builds. However, when it comes to creating clean builds for Android applications, Java remains the preferred choice.

Learning Curve Challenges

Despite the increasing popularity of Kotlin, there is still a limited availability of learning resources with narrow learning curves. This means that to use Kotlin effectively, one needs to gain a deep understanding of the Kotlin coding language.

Not Evolved Compared to Java

Kotlin and Java share many similarities, but Kotlin has matured in its own unique way, making it take some time for developers to become familiar with it. This learning curve can pose a cost challenge for entrepreneurs investing in team training.

Limited Pool of Kotlin Professionals

Despite the popularity of Kotlin, there is a scarcity of Kotlin professionals in the market. In a competitive environment, entrepreneurs may find it challenging to locate and hire the right developers for Android app development. That’s where Xcelore comes into play; we are a top Kotlin development company in India that helps businesses of all sizes with Kotlin Android app development.

Advantages of Java

Java, created by James Gosling in 1995, is a widely used high-level, object-oriented technology. Its goal is to enable programmers to write code that can run anywhere. Java is known for being cost-effective and easy to adapt from the beginning.

For more than two decades, Java has been the go-to programming language for building mobile apps, large-scale business software, and more. Major companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon rely on Java in their tech stacks, contributing to its continued popularity in the digital industry.

User-Friendly Discovery

Java stands out as a straightforward coding language that’s easy for beginners to grasp. Its simplicity and clarity make it an excellent choice for those diving into programming for the first time. Java simplifies the coding process by removing complexities, making implementation much more straightforward.

Adaptable and Platform-Independent

Java’s flexibility shines through its platform independence and hardware non-reliance. With the “write once, run anywhere” capability, Java allows code to be written once and executed anywhere, offering a significant advantage for developers.

Efficient Multithreading

To maximize CPU utilization, Java supports multithreading, enabling the simultaneous execution of multiple threads. This capability empowers developers to create applications that perform various activities concurrently, significantly enhancing efficiency.

Embracing Objects

Java’s strength lies in its object-oriented nature. By adhering to object-oriented principles, Java becomes not only easier to work with but also more secure. This adaptability proves invaluable when tackling real-world problems through Java programming.

Secure High-Level Language

Java programs are crafted using high-level tech stacks with straightforward syntax. Additionally, Java incorporates key object-oriented programming concepts like encapsulation, abstraction, and inheritance. These elements not only make the language easy to understand but also bolster security, preventing unauthorized access.

Drawbacks of Java

As we have discussed some advantages of Java and observed that Kotlin is ahead in the game, let’s now explore some disadvantages of Java.

Memory Usage

Java tends to use more memory compared to native languages like C or C++. This is because Java code is translated into machine code, which negatively impacts performance. Additionally, the automatic garbage collection feature, running in the background, further affects overall performance.

Code Complexity

Java-based applications often end up with verbose and intricate code structures. Programmers grapple with lengthy and convoluted syntax, making the code challenging to read and understand.

GUI Limitations

In the Kotlin vs. Java debate, Java falls short in terms of GUI capabilities. The GUI builder in Java exhibits subpar performance and struggles to handle intricate UI designs. While there are alternative frameworks, they haven’t evolved sufficiently to support complex graphical interfaces.

Licensing Changes

In 2019, Oracle introduced a commercial licensing strategy for developers. The SE 8 version, once freely accessible, now requires payment of licensing fees. Consequently, developers and businesses must pay fees to access the latest updates and features.

Kotln Or Java? What Should Be Your Choice?

In the world of Android app development, Kotlin and Java stand out as top choices. While Java has a strong presence, Kotlin is gaining popularity due to its efficiency in building Android projects, aligning with current market trends.

When it comes to coding, Kotlin’s syntax is robust, allowing developers to write fewer lines of code compared to Java. This simplicity in coding makes Kotlin a winner, offering code that is easy to understand and maintain, ultimately leading to better quality and quicker bug identification.

In terms of performance, Java and Kotlin are generally equivalent, with Kotlin often showing faster execution in certain scenarios as it is designed to run on the JVM.

Both Kotlin and Java boast excellent community support, although Java has a more established community due to its longer presence in the market. Kotlin, being relatively newer, is still growing its community.

In the end, Kotlin emerged as a forward-looking technology for Android app development. It promises to deliver quick, error-free projects with simplified code and easy maintenance, making it a promising choice for the future.

Wrapping up

Comparing Kotlin and Java for Android app development, we find that Kotlin is a more modern and efficient language. But if you’re already comfortable with Java, sticking with it isn’t a bad choice. The decision boils down to your preferences and project needs.

Choose Xcelore’s Kotlin developers for your next Android project. We strive to deliver strong and high-quality results, ensuring guaranteed success.

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