Kotlin vs Java: Which is Better for Android App Development?



Android applications have become a part of our routine life in less than a decade. Every business trying to expand or offer a personalized experience to their consumers will target the Android platform due to the humungous user base it has. Applications for Android are created using an Android development programming language. The best in the business is Kotlin & Java. One is a new but powerful contender trying to take over an experienced and well-versed champion. And so the Kotlin vs Java battle is always on.

The conventional belief that Java is the veteran and so it’s the best for Android app development is a bit shaken after the advent of Kotlin. To add clarity to your perception we decided to share this write-up. This read brings you the ultimate comparison guide between the two languages. 

Let’s start with the basics first.

What is Java?

Java was released by Sun Microsystems in the year 1995. It’s an object-oriented programming language and is the property of Oracle. Android apps and a large part of Android is based on Java and most Java elements are available in open-source. As of 2020, Java was the 3rd most popular language on GitHub that was used by programmers to create:

  • Web apps
  • Server apps
  • Android apps
  • Embedded systems
  • Big data tools & more
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What is Kotlin?

Kotlin was introduced to make coding in Java more productive. It was launched by some guys at JetBrains. Kotlin runs on JVM i.e. Java Virtual Machine and became an official programming language in 2018. Apart from this, Kotlin can run in browsers and compile into JavaScript. It facilitates coding in Kotlin/Native while also allowing developers to use IDE to develop cross-platform apps. 

Many tech giants have created their Android apps using Kotlin while others are planning to migrate soon. This includes enterprise leaders such as:

  • Pinterest
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Twitter
  • Trello

Benefits of Java

Here are a few benefits that you can enjoy while working with Java.

  • Java can function on practically any server, device, or operating system.
  • It offers a high level of security. Hence it becomes impossible to compromise data or corrupt memory. It also offers robust coding features.
  • Java reuses the parts adding to the robustness and making it easy to create modular applications.
  • Developers get a lot of ready-to-use third-party code with Java.
  • As compared to Kotlin, Java is easy to compile, debug, deploy, and use.
  • One can trust Java as a language, as many of its libraries are maintained by trusted companies such as Apache, Google, and others.
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Benefits of Kotlin

  • With Kotlin you can create lightweight, faster to compile and small-sized applications.
  • With Kotlin one can write less verbose code. This accounts for a much small code as compared to Java and fewer bugs.
  • The code with Kotlin is compiled as Bytecode and executed in JVM. Hence, Kotlin can run all the frameworks and libraries created in Java.
  • For auto-compilation aids and to reduce compile-time error detection, one can configure projects using Android-Studio.
  • It offers safety against NullPointerException.
  • For web development, one can inculcate interoperability and coroutines with JavaScript.

Kotlin vs Java: Ultimate Comparison

Here are some parameters that we can compare to learn the suitable platform for your project. Those parameters include:

  • Coding Speed
  • Stability
  • Performance
  • Popularity
  • Documentation
  • Talent Pool
  • Learning Curve

Coding Speed

Kotlin and Java don’t have much difference as far as the coding speed is concerned. But Kotlin demands less from a coder in terms of typing code due to its iconic construction. Yet, there is a tradeoff, finding a solution on Kotlin requires more time than Java. So, if you’re an abstract thinker who can bear the cognitive load, then Kotlin is the right choice for you.

If you opt for Java you would have to write more code for the same task as compared to Kotlin. But you will have to invest more time thinking with Java. So, both the platforms are equals in this category.

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Stability

This is the metric that offers a difference. Like Java has been in the market for quite some time now, and so it offers long-term support with its different versions such as Java 8 and Java 11. But are you aware of what’s long-term support? It means that if there is a problem with the current version, developers can fix the same using a patch. 

Kotlin too is an established language but doesn’t offer long-term support like Java. Both can be considered stable languages but Java wins the race with this one. 

Performance

Kotlin has a large number of features and so it’s more functional than Java. And because of the Coroutines that Kotlin has, it’s easy to work with multithreading apps. On the downside though, Kotlin compiles a bit slower due to the vast number of features it has.

Java is a lot simpler and compiles fast due to the same. It doesn’t have as many features as Kotlin, but this is also the reason for its high speed. But on a broader scale, the difference is hard to pinpoint and varies with different projects. So, you can consider this a draw. 

Popularity

Java has been in the market for a decade, and so with confirmation from Google Trends, we can say that Java piques more interest than Kotlin. Yes, Java has had its share of ups and downs, yet Kotlin is nowhere near its popularity. Both the languages are similar yet different at the same time, but due to long-time stability in the market, Java wins this race. 

Documentation

You can find enough documentation with both languages to learn any language from scratch. But as Java was introduced before Kotlin you can find many tutorials and books on the same. According to developers, Java is comparatively straightforward to learn. 

Being a young language, Kotlin has enough learning documentation. You might have to dig deep to find an authentic source for learning but you can find the same with some research.

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Talent Pool

The StackOverflow Dev survey of Oct 2020 states that Kotlin is one of the most popular techs. And 8% of pro-developers prefer using the same. Java may have a higher interest rate on Google Trends but doesn’t make it to this list. 

But Java makes it to the list of most loved techs. 44.1% of devs love working with Java. Kotlin tops this list as well, with 62.9% devs. As per StackOverflow Dev Survey, Kotlin (55 K USD) also earns more money to devs as compared to Java (50 K USD).

Learning Curve

Kotlin surely has a higher learning curve than Java. Having said this, you need to write more lines of code in Java to resolve the same task as compared to Kotlin. But as Java is an older language, you can find numerous tutorials and ready-made solutions on the internet, to do the preceding efficiently.

Kotlin on the other hand requires cognitive investments to learn. But offers the perks of writing fewer lines of code for similar problems. So, if you like to think abstract, then Kotlin won’t be an issue for you. You can skip this jargon completely by getting in touch with a mobile app development company.

Kotlin vs Java: Practical Applications

Let’s understand this comparison from a practical aspect. Languages are much similar but the scope of the project makes a difference in the one you choose. Below you can observe the tech that’s best for your project. 

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How Good is Java?

Java has become a universal language. A decade ago it started with Android app development. But today its usability has extended to enterprise systems, eCommerce, and Big Data. Hadoop and HBase, some of the popular Big Data platforms make use of the same. Hadoop offers MapReduce and HDFS and tech giants manage their high-loaded servers using Java.

Here are a few big names that use Java:

  • Apple TV
  • Hybris
  • ATG
  • Netflix

These are some of the well-designed and complicated apps in the market. You can seek assistance from an Android app development company if you plan to develop such apps.

How Good is Kotlin?

Kotlin is used by many indie developers and companies. Most of the apps present on Google Play Market use Kotlin as a base. It’s best suitable when creating modern mobile apps as it can also serve as a base for microservices. It can also be used with Micronaut, Quarkus, and Spring Boot. Some of the renowned platforms that have been created using Kotlin are:

  • Evernote
  • Coursera
  • Pinterest
  • Trello

Wrapping Up

Are you confused about which tech would be best suitable for your next project? Technource being a top-notch mobile app development company can surely assist you with this vector. Our team of experts has been offering Android app development services for many years now. 

If you want to hire Android app developers you should surely get in touch with us by signing up for a free consultation form on our website. Remember, an investment in technology is an investment into the future. Thank you for reading.

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Mr. Sanjay Singh Rajpurohit, An early-aged entrepreneur who always leads his team from the front and achieved success. As the founder & CEO of Technource, a top AngularJS development company, he made a global presence in a short time by offering custom software development, premium mobile apps and website development services.

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