Kotlin vs Java: Which Should You Choose?

8 Sep · 5 min read

Kotlin vs Java: Which Should You Choose?

According to a recent survey, 33.27% of developers use Java while 9.27% of the developer community is using Kotlin. The high stats associated with Java shows that the programming language is the first choice of developers. Although there are many questions that come to our mind when we compare Java and Kotlin. Is Kotlin better than Java?  What makes both programming languages different from each other? And so on. 

Java is an object-oriented programming language that has been popular for over 23 years now. With excellent community support, it serves as a great programming language but does that make it ideal for doing everything when it comes to development? 

Well, the answer is, of course, NO! 

That is where Kotlin comes into the picture. 

Kotlin is a cross-platform programming language developed by JetBrains in 2011 to fully interoperate with Java. It is also considered Google’s official language for developing Android Apps. 

Difference between Kotlin and Java

The major difference between Kotlin and Java is that Kotlin combines features of both object-oriented and functional programming whereas Kotlin is limited to only Object- Oriented Programming. Also, Kotlin can be easily interchanged with Java whereas Java doesn’t offer the liberty to do so with Kotlin. 

Let’s understand the detailed comparison between Kotlin and Java to know more about both programming languages: 

Extensive Functions 

Java doesn’t contain extensive functions. Programmers have to create a new class and a parent class to add this functionality. 

Kotlin offers the functionality of extensive functions. The programmers can easily add extensive functions to an existing class by just prefixing the name of a class as well as the name of the function. 

Static Members 

Static members are available in Java. It is mainly used for memory management. The developers can apply static java keywords with different methods, variables, blocks, and nested classes.  

In Kotlin, programmers have to make use of companion objects to create static members of a class. All you need to do is declare an object inside the class that can be marked with a companion keyword. The companion object acts as a static member offering direct access without restricting the container class. 

Operator Overloading 

Operator overloading allows the utilization of the same operator on different data types. Java doesn’t support operator overloading. But for instance, the + operator can be used in java for concatenation and addition. 

Kotlin supports operator overloading. It allows for custom implementation for a predefined set of operators on types such as + and * with precedence. Users need to invoke the special member function with the specific name of the corresponding data type to implement operator overloading. 

Language Scripting 

Language scripting offers developers the freedom to execute different functions automatically which would otherwise require manual implementation. Java doesn’t enable developers to utilize language scripting capabilities.  

Kotlin offers language scripting integration in existing scripts. The developers can use the language in their Gradle build scripts. 

Type Inference 

Type Inference is the automatic detection of the data types for specific expressions in a programming language. Java doesn’t allow type inference as developers need to specify each variable prior to declaration. 

Kotlin allows type inferencing as you don’t have to declare the type of each variable separately. This functionality will be automatically handled by Kotlin. 

Smart Cast 

Smart Cast is not available in Java. To perform this functionality, developers need to perform two separate functions. The first function checks the variable type and then casts it with the right type. 

 Kotlin supports Smart Cast Feature. The compilers can use the smart cast to track the object and the variable and then cast them into specific call methods and types. 

Although the differences are not over yet, but the comparison between Kotlin and Java is a never-ending debate. Let’s discuss the top applications that were developed using Java and Kotlin respectively. 

Top Applications Developed Using Java

LinkedIn 

Java is the language that majorly incorporates the social media platform, LinkedIn. The programming language manages the server side of the LinkedIn app. 

Spotify 

The API of one of the biggest audio and media services platforms was built using Java. The overall development process became easier and more convenient due to high-level implementations in Java. 

Various other well-known applications such as Twitter, Signal, CashApp, Opera, etc have been developed using Java which makes the programming language popular among its users. 

Top Applications Developed Using Kotlin

Netflix 

The current UI Interface of Netflix’s Android and iOS Studio Apps is 100% powered by Kotlin. Netflix is also the first FAANG Company to use Kotlin Multiplatform (KMP) in production on the large scale. The company is further innovating the physical production of Films and TV using KMP and other mobile technologies. 

Pinterest 

One of the well-known social networking apps stays firm to its policy of being Kotlin-first and not Kotlin-exclusive.  The migration of Pinterest’s Android App from Java to Kotlin has resulted in great outcomes for the company by building code with enhanced efficiency and increased speed. 

Various other renowned apps such as Tinder, Airbnb, Uber, etc. are developed using Kotlin which makes it no less than the first choice of developers when compared to Java. 

Conclusion

Herein we discussed the major points to justify the comparison between Kotlin and Java. Keeping convenience and popularity in mind, Kotlin is one of the trending choices for Android App Development. On the other hand, Java is the programming language that has been popular for a long among Android users and its replacement won’t happen right away. 

However, the choice of which programming language is best to opt for depends totally on project requirements. The developers can consider the pros and cons of both languages to reach an informed decision. In case, you’re having confusion about which language to choose between Java and Kotlin. Please feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll connect you with the top software providers from our vast network to help you out with the best decision. 

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