Kotlin is an open-source, object-oriented, and cross-platform programming language developed by JetBrains.
Launched in July 2011, Kotlin is now maintained by JetBrains and Google “with the mission to protect, promote and advance the development of the Kotlin programming language.” The Foundation ensures continued development as free software while protecting its name and trademarks, and ensuring that incompatible changes are not introduced into the language.
Kotlin is closely associated with Android app development since it was first included in Android Studio in 2017. Since then, Kotlin’s ease of use and wide developer adoption have led to it being named the programming language preferred by Google.
Kotlin is considered easy to learn and use, allowing developers of varying experience levels to develop powerful applications quickly and effectively compared to other programming languages. As an open-source programming language, it has the tremendous support of contributors in its fastest-growing global community. The developers can write simple business logic for iOS and Android apps and easily make them compatible across platforms.
Kotlin’s features support functional programming and are designed to interoperate fully with the Java programming language.
- Seamless efficiency as syntax is intuitive, lean, and easy for coders
- Supports full Java’s interoperability
- Supports standard library functions and data classes
- Supports immutability and collection filtering
- Supports extension functions and smart cast functions
- Supports a NullPointerException
- Involves low-cost adoption as it is open source and needs no investment in licensing
Kotlin is popular among coders and developers due to its proven benefits for large-scale projects. Here are some key advantages:
- Developers can learn the language quickly
- Supports multiple platforms
- Enforces no runtime overhead
- Helps coders write less code for enabling apps
- Supports complex calculations and appending strings
- Supports running Java code, which helps users to compile a single project in both languages
- Supports concise programming and is much preferred by today’s coders/developers
How Kotlin is used
Google: Google decided to use this language for enabling Android apps. Google currently has 60 Kotlin-based apps.
Gradle: Gradle uses Kotlin as its base language for writing build scripts.
Corda: Corda, a distributed ledger blockchain platform used by numerous banks, utilizes Kotlin’s programming language due to its high level of integration.
Coursera: The Coursera application is partially written in Kotlin.
Spring: The Spring framework uses Kotlin’s language features to offer more concise application programming interfaces (APIs) and uses the Kotlin extensions primarily.
Atlassian: Atlassian and Square continuously use Kotlin as it is the fastest-growing programming language. Specifically, Atlassian uses it for developing Jira software cloud products.
Trello: The web-based application based on the Kanban style of project management uses Kotlin language due to its numerous features.
Zomato: Zomato was written in Kotlin and reduced the number of lines of code in its codebase significantly. It helped Zomato developers find many defects in their app while compiling, which was all solved by leveraging Kotlin language.
Kotlin vs. Java
The two languages compare favorably, but do have differences worth noting.
- Combines object-oriented features along with functional programming features.
- Supports extension functions used to create and extend functions prefixing the class name to the new function’s name.
- Does not support implicit conversions.
- Faster to compile than Java, with lightweight components.
- Does not support checked exceptions; therefore, developers don’t need to declare or catch exceptions.
- Java supports only object-oriented programming.
- Does not support any extension functions. If a function of an existing class needs to be extended, then coders have to create a new class and inherit it from the parent class.
- Supports implicit conversions.
- Java application deployment is slower, and coders need to write more lines of code.
- It supports checked exceptions which allow developers to declare and catch the exceptions.