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Unlocking the Potential of Kotlin: A Backend Development Perspective

Using Kotlin for Backend Development

by Rajni
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Kotlin has recently gained a lot of popularity for its performance in backend development. It has been largely preferred by most Android developers as it resolves issues related to Java coding. According to Kotlin, over 50% of professional Android developers have embraced Kotlin as their primary language of choice. And only 30% of developers adhere to Java as their main programming language. An overwhelming 70% of developers who prioritize Kotlin as their primary language say that it enhances their productivity. 

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Coroutines and Ktor in Kotlin

The two special features in Kotlin that make it a really great choice for building the backend of websites and apps are Coroutines and Ktor. 

Coroutines in Kotlin helps you do multiple things at once in your program. Moreover, it doesn’t complicate things with extra codes. It also helps you work with tasks that can happen at the same time without getting tangled up in confusing methods or old-fashioned ways of handling them. It allows you to write non-blocking code in a more sequential and readable manner. 

On the other hand, Ktor is a lightweight, asynchronous web framework built specifically for Kotlin. It embraces Kotlin’s coroutines to provide a clean and concise way to handle HTTP requests and build RESTful APIs, web applications, or microservices. 

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Benefits of Using Kotlin for Back-End Development

Kotlin is a modern programming language that offers a wide range of features designed to improve developer productivity, code quality, and maintainability. Here are some of the key features of Kotlin:

  • Interoperability with Java: One of the most compelling reasons to use Kotlin for backend development is its seamless interoperability with Java. Kotlin was designed to work flawlessly with existing Java codebases. Thus, making it easy to adapt for teams already familiar with Java. Also, this interoperability allows you to leverage the extensive Java ecosystem, libraries, and frameworks while taking advantage of Kotlin’s modern syntax and features.
  • Concise and Readable Code: Kotlin is known for its concise and expressive syntax. When you use Kotlin instead of Java, you’ll have to write less extra, repetitive code. This, thus, makes your server-side code neater and simpler to take care of in the long run. Also, the reduced verbosity of Kotlin leads to more readable and maintainable code, ultimately increasing developer productivity.
  • Null Safety: Null pointer exceptions (NPEs) are a common source of runtime errors in Java. Kotlin addresses this issue by introducing a robust type of system that distinguishes nullable and non-nullable types. This, thus, prevents null references and helps catch potential NPEs at compile-time, reducing the risk of crashes in your backend applications
  • Functional Programming Support: Kotlin also supports functional programming paradigms, which can lead to more expressive and concise code. Furthermore, it includes features like lambdas, higher-order functions, and extension functions, making it easier to write clean, functional-style code for backend operations.
  • Coroutines for Asynchronous Programming: Asynchronous programming is essential for building responsive and scalable backend systems. Kotlin has a built-in way to handle tasks happening at the same time, making your code easier to read and maintain compared to the old-style callback method. Coroutines provide a structured way to handle concurrency, making it easier to write efficient, non-blocking code.
  • Strong Tooling and IDE Support: JetBrains, the company behind Kotlin, offers excellent tooling support for the language. IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio, and other popular IDEs provide robust Kotlin integration, enhancing developer productivity through features like code completion, refactoring, and debugging. 
  • Active and Growing Community: Kotlin has a vibrant and rapidly growing community. This means you can find ample resources, libraries, and third-party tools to aid your backend development efforts. Also, the community’s active engagement ensures that Kotlin remains up to date with the latest industry trends.
  • Proven Adoption in the Industry: Many renowned companies have adopted Kotlin for backend development, thus attesting to its reliability and efficiency. Examples include Netflix, Uber, Pinterest, and JetBrains themselves. This means more companies using it make Kotlin even better for building websites and apps.
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List of Companies that use Kotlin for Backend Development

  1. Netflix: The popular streaming service uses Kotlin for various backend services. Kotlin’s interoperability with Java and concise syntax make it a great choice for Netflix’s development needs.  
  2. Coursera: Coursera benefits from Kotlin’s safety features and expressiveness, which helps Coursera to operate efficiently.  
  3. Pinterest: This visual discovery platform has adopted Kotlin for its backend infrastructure. The modern features of Kotlin enhance Pinterest’s productivity and code quality for its engineering teams. 
  4. Trello: It is a project management tool that benefits from Kotlin’s conciseness and null safety features. Trello uses these features to build robust backend services that power their platform.  
  5. Square: It is a financial services and mobile payment company. Kotlin can integrate seamlessly with existing Java codebases. This has allowed Square to enhance their services.  
  6. Uber: This globally popular on-demand ride app benefits from Kotlin’s strong type system and expressive syntax. Kotlin helps the app with its modern features and improved developer productivity. 

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Evidently, Kotlin for backend development is an appropriate choice because of the features it possesses. Moreover, it helps in writing clean, readable, and safer codes, thereby reducing the chances of bugs and errors. Also, using coroutines makes doing things at different times easier, and functional programming helps make code neater and easier to take care of. 

Kotlin’s frameworks and tools like Ktor and Spring Boot, help in issue resolution and boosting overall development productivity. Thus, by leveraging Kotlin’s strengths, developers can tackle backend challenges more effectively and deliver robust and efficient solutions. 

If you are looking for backend developer jobs that match your skills as a Kotlin expert, sign up with Olibr now!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Kotlin multiplatform is a technology that makes cross-platform development easy. It allows developers to reuse code across various platforms, including Android, iOS, web, desktop, and server-side. 

Kotlin online compiler is a tool that helps developers write, compile, and run Kotlin code directly from their browsers. Kotlin compilers provide an interactive environment where you can experiment with Kotlin snippets, see the output, and share your code with others. 

Kotlin and Java are both great programming languages with great features and advantages for developers. What you pick depends on your project needs and goals. If your project needs modern features and concise code, Kotlin may be your choice. However, if your task needs a mature ecosystem and widespread adoption, Java is a good choice. 

A Kotlin developer should learn basic Kotlin syntax and be familiar with object-oriented programming, server handling, data structure, and algorithms. As a Kotlin developer, you should also have a working knowledge of front-end technology along with back-end frameworks and databases.

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