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Kotlin vs Java – Which One Should I Choose For Android Development?

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  • Last Updated : 27 Jul, 2022
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After marking its 26th Anniversary, Java is still holding its position in this ongoing digital transition among this hefty list of trendy programming languages. When you’re at a beginner’s stage after having good knowledge of C, it is still advisable to learn Java or C++ which is used in major-scale industries. Primarily, its robust nature and flexibility allow developers to add advanced features to applications but as we’re moving forward, the demand is rapidly changing which is now being easily escalated since Jetbrain (a Czech development company) introduced Kotlin for the very first time in 2016 and due to its noticeable advanced features, right after a year, Google declared it as an “Official language of Android Development” which raised the biggest question in everyone’s mind “Which one to choose for Android Development now?” while working for android development. 

Kotlin-vs-Java-For-Android-Development

We will discuss an in-depth comparison between Kotlin and Java and will surely help you decide the best pick for android app development.

What is Kotlin and Why Do We Use it?

It’s an open-source, statically typed, (where variable types are known at compile time) built by Jetbrains (team of Czech Dev Company) for their in-house purpose in 2010 but later in 2016, it went public for general and created a gap with full compatibility and interoperability with Java. Besides this, it also offers similar syntax and concepts from C#, Java, Scala, etc., and is officially supported by Google. Kotlin Android Tutorial will help you get an in-depth knowledge of how Kotlin can be used for android development.

It can also be denoted as Kotlin = Java + Bucket of Add-Ons

Latest Version: The currently released version is 1.7.10, (published on July 7, 2022)

What is Java and Why Do We Use It?

When we talk about reliability, Java is one that has been dominating the development industry for more than 2 decades now. From large to small, every company has adopted this language and has become a go-to language worldwide. The primary reason to choose Java is its portability, performance, and cross-platform interaction. Besides this, it has vast extended community support that has helped it to evolve over these years. Java Tutorial guides you with Java concepts from scratch to an advanced level.

Comparison  Between “Kotlin and Java”

Below we’re going to discuss some major differentiation between the two for better clarity. 

1. Expressions

Kotlin: It offers various expressions that include variables, operators, method calls, etc., and is supported by a string template. Besides this, Kotlin offers 2 variants of the string templates that allow variation in outputs. Below is the list of those string templates that are used in Kotlin:

Raw String: contains newlines and is determined by a “”” Below is the example for the same –

Kotlin




fun main(args : Array<String>)
{
  
    val myString = "" "
        for (character in "Hello!") println(character) "" "
        print(myString)
}

Escaped String: it can be described simply as a string where there is an escape of any character and there are 8 supported characters that Kotlin supports:

  1. \t (for tab insertion)
  2. \n (for newline insertion)
  3. \\ (for backslash)
  4. \$ (dollar sign)
  5. \b (backspace)
  6. \’ (for single quote character)
  7. \” (double character)
  8. \r (for carriage insertion) 

Also, check out the example for the \n character

Kotlin




val myString = "Hello World!\n"

Java: Unlike Kotlin, Java does not provide any expression support and strings are enclosed within ” ” but do not allow any expressions.

2. Syntax

Both Java and Kotlin have differences while using syntaxes, this can be denoted by a semicolon that is present in java whereas Kotlin does not require to have any semicolons in a statement. Also, check the example below for the best reference.

For Java

Java




public class myClass
{
    public void Name(String Name){
        String Name = " ";
        System.out.println("My name is :" + Name );
}
public void mobile()
{
    int mobile = 1234567890;
    System.out.println("I am " + mobile + "is a verified user");
}
public static void main(string [] args)
{
    myClass my = new myClass();
    my.Name("Hendrick");
    my.mobile();
}
}

For Kotlin

Kotlin




class myClass
{
    fun FullName(firstName:string , lastName:String)
    {
        var fullName = "$firstName $lastName"
        println("My name is  :$fullName")
    }
}
fun age()
    {
        var age : Int
        age = 30
        println("My age is : $age")
    }
    fun main(args :Array<String>)
    {
         myClass().FullName("Mark Hendrick")
         age()
   }

3. Verbose

Since Kotlin was introduced to reduce the gaps that java couldn’t offer, code verbose is something that created a big fuzz among developers. For any program, the less code it will be used, the better it will be to handle such complexity. To take this into consideration, Kotlin offers less code that offers fewer bugs, and also saves time and cost.

4. Data Classes

  • For Java: The developers will be required to declare the constructor, getter, and setter methods to form any data classes.
  • For Kotlin: Kotlin does not require any such method and classes with keywords will create a class to hold the data. You can also see the example below for reference.

Kotlin




data class Address(var street: String,
var tower: Tower)

5. Memory management

  • For Java: Java developers get the privilege to apply static keywords over various blocks, variables, and nested classes in order to make them static for memory management. 
  • For Kotlin: On the other hand, Kotlin does not require to have any static variables in its name field and for that developers are required to use objects to create a suitable object inside the class and that class will act as a static member by allowing direct access. 

6. Typecast

It’s a process of converting one data type into another. This method requires explicit treatment in Kotlin whereas java performs the same action automatically (to a certain extent). For best reference, we’ve shown the example below: 

For Java: Int is automatically converted to a Long data type as long is larger than int.

Java




import androidx.appcompat.app.AppCompatActivity;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.net.Uri;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.widget.Button;
import android.widget.EditText;
  
public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {
  
    EditText editText;
    Button btn;
    String url;
  
    @Override
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);
  
        editText = (EditText) findViewById(R.id.editText);
        btn = (Button) findViewById(R.id.btn);
        url = editText.getText().toString();
  
        btn.setOnClickListener(view -> {
            Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, Uri.parse(url));
            startActivity(intent);
        });
    }
}

For Kotlin: In Kotlin the conversion is not automatic, we need to explicitly do the type conversion.

Kotlin




import android.content.Intent
import android.net.Uri
import android.os.Bundle
import android.view.View
import android.widget.Button
import android.widget.EditText
import androidx.appcompat.app.AppCompatActivity
  
class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
      
    var editText: EditText? = null
    var btn: Button? = null
    var url: String? = null
      
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main)
          
        editText = findViewById<View>(R.id.editText) as EditText
        btn = findViewById<View>(R.id.btn) as Button
        url = editText!!.text.toString()
          
        btn!!.setOnClickListener {
            val intent = Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, Uri.parse(url))
            startActivity(intent)
        }
    }
}

7. Smart Cast

  • For Java: In Java programming, developers are required to check the type and post that cast an object in such scenarios where it’s already clear that casting can be done of the object.
  • For Kotlin: Unlike Java, Kotlin enables developers to use a smart cast that can handle such repetitive casts so that building cast inside a statement will not be required anymore (if you’ve checked with the ‘is’ operator). 

8. Scripting

  • For Kotlin: For those who don’t know, language scripting allows developers to execute various functions automatically, and Kotlin enables such functionality for its developers, unlike java programmers.
  • For Java: Java does not offer any such capabilities for language scripting.

9. Lateinit/Null Checks

  • For Java: Developers are required to assign a null value for any variable and if they try to use an object reference (having a null value) it suddenly becomes NullPointerException. This issue has created some serious disturbance among Java developers.
  • For Kotlin: Whereas for Kotlin, all types are non-nullable by default in which whenever any developer will assign/return null in code, it will fail during compilation. That’s why to assign a null value to any variable, it is expected to mark that variable as NULLABLE (which can be executed by adding?) Have a look at the example below:

var message: String? = null

var city_name: String? = null

This indicates that there is no such NPE in Kotlin and will fail when it is thrown during compile-time.

10. Jetpack Compose

Kotlin is purely a jetpack compose language that uses features such as coroutine, and it has been designed to work with the established view-based UI approach that can be implemented easily in any project. Besides this, Google also announced Kotlin as a primary language to build android applications stated that the Jetpack compose saves time and has better performance than the traditional view systems.

and, Java does not offer any such extensions and developers can’t access any of them.

Future of Android Development Using Java Vs Kotlin

Today, many businesses are shifting their workforce towards Kotlin and naming it their primary language for android programming. Perhaps we can say that the future of Kotlin is slightly high as compared to Java.

In general, the possibilities of adopting modern features and capabilities for building android applications might sound fuzzy, but once you inherit those (features and functionalities) that Kotlin provides (which proportionally helps developers), building android applications can be more fun. But from a salary point of view, Java is still leading ahead of Kotlin and it is still considered the preferred language to start the coding life of any beginner. Android App Development Course for Beginners – Self-Paced gives you an overview of the steps required to build an android application.

Perhaps it’s all about how you’re dealing with the concepts, especially in the beginner’s stage, so start digging out as much as you can and learn with the pace of technology, only when your base is clear.


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