The debate between Java and Kotlin has been a point of discussion among Android developers ever since Kotlin was announced as an official language for Android development at Google I/O in 2017.
While Java has been around since the mid-1990s and has long been the default language for Android, Kotlin has been rapidly gaining ground for its modern features, concise syntax, and interoperability with Java.
When it comes to choosing between Java and Kotlin for a new project, developers must weigh the advantages and limitations of each language.
History and Evolution
Java has been a cornerstone of Android development since its inception. Created by Sun Microsystems in 1995 and later acquired by Oracle Corporation, Java was designed to be a portable, high-level language that could run on any device with the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Over the years, Java has grown to be a robust, secure, and well-supported language, boasting a vast ecosystem of libraries and frameworks.
Kotlin, on the other hand, is a much younger language, developed by JetBrains and officially released in 2016.
It’s designed to be fully interoperable with Java, allowing developers to use both languages within the same project.
Kotlin was specifically created to address many of the pitfalls of Java, such as verbose syntax and null pointer exceptions.
Syntax and Language Features
The most immediate difference one notices between Java and Kotlin is the syntax. Kotlin’s syntax is more concise, which means you can do more with fewer lines of code.
This conciseness reduces the risk of errors and makes code easier to read and maintain.
For instance, in Java, a simple class with a few properties requires a lot of boilerplate code for variables, getters, setters, and a constructor.