Kotlin is a relatively young open-source language that is gradually gaining strength in the developer community due to its many advantages compared to other programming languages.
Jetbrains started the Kotlin project in 2011. However, the first stable version wasn't released until 2016 - so the language is still very young. It has many modern features and does a lot better than Java. It was originally developed only for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Kotlin has been an official programming language supported by Android since 2017.
A special feature of the language is its compatibility with Java. A Java class can be called in the Kotlin code without any problems and vice versa. This means that Java projects can gradually be rewritten in Kotlin. This has the advantage that it doesn't have to be completely rewritten in one fell swoop. For this reason, existing Android apps are increasingly relying on Kotlin and not on Java.
Kotlin does a lot better than Java in many ways. One of the most common mistakes in Java (Null Pointer Exceptions) is avoided with Kotlin. Jetbrains solves the problem with Kotlin quite simply.
Features of Kotlin:
- Extend any existing class with new functions
- Higher order functions allow a function to be passed as a parameter or returned as a result
- Smarter syntax for lambda expressions
- Data classes
- Type aliases
What Benefits Does Kotlin Bring Us Compared To Java?
Faster To Compile
To use Kotlin in Android Studio, you have to install a plugin so that the IDE understands this language. The Kotlin library is very light; the developed app will not increase much in size. In its first versions of the library, the compilation time of a project carried out in Kotlin required more time than a purely Java one. But when subsequent updates, things changed, with Kotlin code compiling faster.
Any piece of code written in Kotlin is much smaller than written in Java, as it is less verbose. And as we all know: "less code equals fewer bugs." So less time spent on scheduling and project cost savings.
Java and Kotlin code can coexist in the same project without problems. Kotlin's solution is to compile your code to a bytecode that can be executed in the JVM. So all libraries and frameworks made in Java can be imported and run in a Kotlin project. And thanks to its versatility, any library developed in Kotlin is usable in a Java project. It is easily integrable with Maven, Gradle, or other tools. Furthermore, with a simple click, the Java code can be converted into Kotlin code, allowing us to migrate our Java code to Kotlin gradually.
Kotlin was chosen by Gradle to write a script as an alternative to Groovy. So we can write a script to configure our Android Studio project and have auto-completion aids and compile-time error detection.
It is safe against NullPointerException. All null situations in our code will be warned at compile time. You have to explicitly specify to the language that an object can be null and then check for nullity before using it. Invalid references are controlled by the type system and will check if the code contains null instantiation.
New Language Functionalities
Programming using the same language and not experimenting with others means that we cannot know other languages' benefits . In Java 7, you will not find concepts such as extension functions, lambdas, smart casting, functional operations on collections, sealed classes, data classes, etc. that they are in younger programming languages. Knowing other languages is a plus in addition to being able to read algorithms in other languages.
Advantages Of Using Kotlin
Let's take a look at some of the features that make Kotlin different from Java, allowing us at Hyperlink InfoSystem to program by writing less code.
- Automatic Casting: Once you check if an object is of a certain type, you don't need to do an explicit casting later to use the properties of that type. Kotlin assumes that if the check succeeds, the object becomes of the concrete type immediately and treats it as such.
- Package Organization: Your code's organization in packages no longer needs to follow the folder structure in your directory.
- Null Values: Kotlin does not have the concept of null. This implies that you will never have an exception of the type NullPointerException. Avoiding null is proven to save a lot of time in development, and there are safer ways to indicate the absence of value.
- Functions: In Kotlin, functions are on the same level as classes. You can define functions without first creating a class for them. Besides, functions can receive another function as an argument (or return one as a result), allowing a high functional programming level. There is also support for anonymous lambdas/functions.
- Extensions To Existing Classes: Kotlin allows you to add new methods to an existing class without creating the corresponding subclass. This allows the new way to run on all instances of the original class and not just on those of the subclass required to develop in Java. In the same way, Kotlin also allows you to add new properties.