Kotlin For Android App Development

Kotlin For Android App Development

Each programmer can write Android Apps in a number of programming languages. He can use Android Native Development Kit (NDK) to write Android apps in C and C++. But Google recommends developers to write Android apps in Java programming language. At Google I/O 2017, the Android team announced first class support for a new programming language – Kotlin. Android Studio 3.0 further comes with native support for Kotlin. As the popularity of Kotlin has been increasing, many app developers have started using Kotlin for Android app development.

Earlier, Android app developers have to use Kotlin through a plug-in. But they can now use Kotlin as one of the official programming languages for Android app development. Hence, the developers can now write Android apps in Kotlin without using a programming language. The first class support extended by the Android team will boost the popularity of Kotlin significantly. Also, many developers will switch to Kotlin for Android apps development in a modern and elegant programming language.

Evaluating Kotlin For Android App Development

Runs on Java Virtual Machine

JetBrains has developed Kotlin as statically typed programming language. It runs seamlessly on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). While writing an application in Kotlin, the programmers can accelerate binary machine code generation by taking advantage of robust LLVM compiler infrastructure. The even have option to compile the code written in Kotlin into JavaScript code.

Interoperable with Java

The syntax of Kotlin is not compatible with Java programming language. But Kotlin is fully interoperable with Java and JDK6. The Android app developers can access existing Java code seamlessly from Kotlin code. Likewise, they can run apps written in Kotlin on older versions of Android. The interoperability enables mobile app developers to take advantage of many Android and Java libraries and makes a good case for app developers to accept Kotlin for Android development.

Keeps the Code Maintainable

Kotlin is a modern programming language. Its syntax rules are influenced by a number of programming languages. For instance, Kotlin supports both object oriented and procedural programming. But it is a statically typed programming language and distinguishes between nullable and non-nullable data types. It requires programmers to declare nullable objects in distinct way and perform null-check. The language features help programmers to write high quality code and keep the Android apps maintainable.

Addresses Several Java Issues

Kotlin is designed with features to fix a number of issues related to Java programming language. Unlike Java, Kotlin supports null references, invariant arrays, and proper function types. But the programming language does not support checked exceptions. Also, it comes with an array of new language features including lambda expressions, inline functions, smart casts, string templates, singletons, and range exceptions.  These language features help Android app developers to write high quality code by overcoming various Java issues.

Compact Runtime Library

Unlike Java, Kotlin comes with a compact runtime engine. The compact runtime engine reduces footprint significantly by adding lesser number of functions and reducing the size of the .apk file. The developers even have option to reduce the size of the runtime engine using a robust tool like ProGuard.

Reduced Compilation Time

Kotlin supports incremental compilation. The developers can take advantage of incremental compilation to execute code base faster. A number of studies even show that Kotlin code can be compiled much faster than Java code. The developers can further accelerate code compilation process by keeping the builds clean.

Unaltered Performance

Like Java, Kotlin also features a bytecode structure. The bytecode structure makes Kotlin code run as fast as Java code. Kotlin further enables developers to boost the performance of Android apps by availing robust language features like lambdas and inline functions. The programmers can avail these language features to run Kotlin code faster than Java.

Android Studio 3.0 Support

Android Studio 3.0 supports Kotlin natively. Hence, the Kotlin programmers can use the latest version of Android Studio to create new projects with Kotlin files. They can even avail the tools provided by Android Studio 3.0 to convert Java code into Kotlin code and add Kotlin files to existing projects. They can further avail the debugging, refactoring, lint checker, autocomplete and similar tools provided by Android Studio 3.0 to write high quality code rapidly.

On the whole, the mobile app developers can now use Kotlin for Android app development. The can write Android apps in Kotlin directly without using any specific plug-ins. Also, the tools provided by Android Studio 3.0 will enable developers to write Android apps in Kotlin and overcome major shortcomings of Java. The Java programmers can further learn and use Kotlin without putting extra time and effort.

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