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Kotlin: Trending Buzz in the World of Android App Development

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If you’re not familiar with programming in Android, then chances are you haven’t heard about Kotlin. Kotlin is a new language which is fully interoperable with Java bytecodes. This language was developed by JetBrains who are also the makers of Intellij IDEA. Kotlin started out as a third party language and it was first released on February 15, 2016 but was open sourced back in 2012. And after a year, In May 2017 google announced their first class support for Kotlin on Android programming.

JetBrains is a Czech Java developer company. They found java limited and thought of something much more improved. So they looked into existing JVM languages and borrowed many features from other languages as well as created new exciting features and combined all of them into one language and created Kotlin. Companies like Basecamp, Pinterest and Square were the majors to start using Kotlin but now that they have official support from google, you can expect them in many places.

How did they started

JetBrains didn’t make this product to sell, but to solve their own development issues. JetBrains deals with creating software for programmers and designed 70% of their products using java. They were sick of old fashioned ways used in java. Java implemented large codes that other language handles automatically. JetBrains wanted to implement less complicated language and they still had many applications written in java that should be maintained and wasn’t practical to rewrite all these applications. They started working on a language compatible with java in order to add new features to older applications without rewriting all codes.

Finally, they built a language that had a strong focus on compatibility with java and instead of keeping the project internal they open-sourced them. They achieved a lot of feedbacks and improvements from Java community for giving Kotlin away for free. Even before Google extended their support for Kotlin it was possible to create Android applications. The crucial fact was that if Google made any changes in the working environment for Android, then applications written in unsupported language will crash or not work the way that developers intended. All these uncertainties were cleared when Google made their announcement this year by supporting Kotlin.

The features of Kotlin we must know

To understand what makes Kotlin different from others, you should definitely get to know about the killer features that only Kotlin can provide as Google officially supports Kotlin in Android Studio 3.0 Canary 7 which is already available in the market.

  • Open Source: First and foremost, they are an open source programming language which makes them free to use, modify and distribute. As they are Open Sourced they are analyzed by Java community to produce more secure and stable codes.
  • Interoperability with Java: One among the best features that Kotlin provides which attracts more and more java developers to learn Kotlin. Kotlin uses Java libraries, tools and runs in Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Kotlin even offers backward compatibility for Java version 6 and 7.
  • Lesser codes: Unlike Java, where you need to write the entire code, Kotlin compiler learn from the codes and complete the remaining codes. For example, In variable declaration, it can actually deduce codes saving time and increasing productivity.
  • Kotlin compiles to Java-Script: Java and Java-Script developers will be most tempted to learn this language as they run on both platforms. Even the developers who use garbage collected runtime will also find this language interesting.
  • Data Classes: Every designers of programming language have always argued about the scope and necessity of a class. In java, a typical data class has tons of boilerplate code that needs to skip while finding the actual usage of that class but in Kotlin you can write the equivalent of the same code but in a simple manner saving time and mental effort.
  • Defaulted parameters: Here, the parameters are pretty handy as we can pass the arguments by name instead of index. Defaulted parameters make them a cake walk Whenever a function with tons of optional parameters needs to be included.
  • No Runtime Overhead: The standard library in Kotlin is small, tight and don’t have garbage. They are mostly focused on extension to Java standard library. Kotlin even provides various optimization which helps in Android development.

To Android and Beyond

Although the attraction of Kotlin is that they can be mixed with Java, it has got a fascinating nature that companies with a huge amount of old java codes still use Kotlin for their applications. Kotlin can even be used to write the apps that can run on both servers as well as desktops like java. Speaking of which JetBrains has even released tools that can change Kotlin codes into codes that can be used to run in web browsers and even IOS. In upcoming years, all of us can expect to find ourselves using apps written in Kotlin.

If you are looking for highly efficient and perfect language to help you with coding, then Kotlin is your best choice and the IDE support from Intellij is superb. It’s worth noting that Kotlin got their loudest applause from Google when they officially announced Kotlin as a programming language for Android.

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