Deciding whether to use Java or Kotlin for Android development is a big decision for app creators. Both of these choices are well-liked around the world and are used by many developers.
Statista’s data tells us that Java is in the 7th position with 30.55% usage. On the other hand, Kotlin stands at the 15th spot with 9.16%. Both these languages has its own special qualities and works better for different types of projects.
In this article, we will look at how these options compare when it comes to making Android apps effectively.
What is Java?
Java is a robust and versatile object-oriented programming language, that has been a staple in the Android development landscape for years. It was initially released in 1995 by Sun Microsystems. It has since become the go-to choice for many developers.
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What is Kotlin?
Kotlin vs Java for Android Development
For a long time, Java held the prime position as Google’s preferred language for creating Android apps. But in 2017, Kotlin officially joined the ranks, gaining Google’s support as a preferred language for Android app development in 2019.
So, what sets these programming languages apart, especially in the context of Android app development? And when should you lean towards Java over Kotlin?
One of Kotlin’s major strengths lies in its syntax. It demands significantly fewer lines of code compared to Java, leading to more readable and simpler code. This also translates into better code quality, as bugs and errors become easier to spot.
With less code to write, developing and maintaining apps in Kotlin typically takes less time than in Java. This efficiency can reduce costs, making Kotlin an attractive choice for project sponsors.
The ease of use of Kotlin further adds to its appeal. It successfully avoids the Java-specific issue of NullPointerException. Additionally, all Java-based frameworks and libraries can be accessed seamlessly in Kotlin.
An essential point to consider is that Kotlin has become the favored programming language within Android Studio, Google’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE). While Android Studio still supports Java and C++, Kotlin has gained priority since 2019.
Google has been actively promoting a Kotlin-first approach for Android, recommending it for new app development. Interestingly, the extensible support provided by Android Studio tools allows for the use of both Java and Kotlin code within the same project.
Java, however, boasts a larger pool of developers compared to Kotlin, leading to a more substantial Java support community and comprehensive documentation.
While Java code might seem more intricate than Kotlin, its application potential can be simpler for beginners due to reduced complexity. Furthermore, Java’s APKs tend to consume less memory, which can be advantageous for lightweight applications. However, in most cases, the slightly larger memory footprint of Kotlin won’t have a noticeable impact.
Kotlin emerges as a future-proof option for Android app development, providing confidence that apps built with it will remain relevant for years. It’s a fitting choice for swift app development that requires simplicity and easy maintenance.
For intricate, expansive applications, choosing Java might be prudent as there is likely to be a more abundant pool of Java developers available to work on them. But looking forward, it’s reasonable to assume that in five or ten years, the market might be teeming with more Kotlin developers than Java developers.
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When aiming to create an app that prioritizes speed and performance, you often wonder which technology is the right choice. Java and Kotlin produce similar bytecode, resulting in comparable performance.
The real difference lies in how effectively and cleanly the code is written.
Kotlin stands out for requiring fewer lines of code compared to Java. Thus, it saves a lot of time. The code is also simpler, more concise, and easier to maintain. This cleaner, more efficient code can contribute to improved app performance.
Kotlin’s efficiency can accelerate development, potentially reducing project costs. While Java compiles faster with clean builds. However, this advantage becomes neutral in Agile development due to incremental builds.
For fast, high-performance apps, Kotlin often emerges as the better technological choice. Maintaining Kotlin code is generally smoother.
Nonetheless, Java remains a viable option, especially for large, intricate apps. Java’s internal storage can narrow the performance gap.
Choosing between Java and Kotlin depends on available development resources. A team proficient in Java would likely build a better app in Java. Java’s relevance persists, assuaging concerns about app obsolescence.
Kotlin and Java both hold significance in the IT and software industries. Neither is likely to become irrelevant soon. Kotlin offers high performance and efficiency, while Java boasts a robust community. The better choice often aligns with the expertise of the development team.
Notably, a trend is emerging as companies shift from Java to Kotlin. Uber, Pinterest, Evernote, and more have migrated their Android apps. This switch is driven by improved stability, performance, code quality, and user experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re looking for better code efficiency, cleaner syntax, and ease of maintenance, learning Kotlin is recommended. However, learning Java can still be valuable due to its larger developer pool and existing extensive documentation.
Kotlin code is safer and shorter than Java code. It’s not only good for new apps but can also work alongside Java files, making it suitable for existing applications.
Both Kotlin and Java are capable and efficient for developing Android apps because Java runs well on any platform with its runtime environment and API.
Kotlin is a popular language for Android development due to its user-friendly features. However, Kotlin won’t replace Java, which has a broader history and is used for various projects beyond Android.
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