Kotlin vs. Java: What Should You Choose for Your Next Project?
Kotlin vs Java: Is Kotlin better than Java? Is there a big difference between Kotlin and Java? This blog post will help you answer all these questions. According to a survey, 36 percent of developers use Java compared to eight percent who use Kotlin. Java has been a popular choice for mobile and web applications for the past two decades. On the other hand, Kotlin is Google’s official programming language for developing Android apps.
Java is an object-oriented programming language, whereas Kotlin supports both object-oriented and functional programming. Popular applications developed using the Kotlin language are Netflix, Uber, Tinder, Airbnb, and Pinterest. Similarly, well-known applications developed using Java are Twitter, Spotify, and LinkedIn.
Is Kotlin replacing Java?
Kotlin language is a popular choice for android development. Kotlin has a range of features that make it more accessible and ideal for android development. However, Kotlin cannot replace Java, which is an old programming language used for several projects other than android development. Millions of developers around the world trust Java for their projects.
Is Kotlin difficult to learn?
Kotlin language is very easy to learn. Developers interested in Kotlin must master the basics first and then learn more about design and syntax capabilities. Developers with Python or Java backgrounds can learn Kotlin faster.
Let’s take a look at the key differences between Java and Kotlin:
- Kotlin vs Java: Extension functions
In Java, extension functions are not available. Developers need to create a new class and parent class to add this feature.
Kotlin helps developers easily add extension functions in existing classes. Developers must prefix the name of the class and function to enable extension functions.
- Kotlin vs Java: Implicit conversion
Implicit type conversion is the conversion of a data type automatically by a compiler. There are seven different data types in Java. Data types of the same kind convert to accommodate smaller data types into larger data types. Thus, java supports implicit conversion.
Kotlin does not support implicit conversion of data types, which means smaller data types do not convert to larger data types.
- Kotlin vs Java: Data classes
Kotlin enables the smart creation of data classes. Developers need to declare the class with keyword data. Afterward, the Kotlin compiler creates constructor, getter, and setter methods automatically.
Contrarily, developers need to define the constructor, getter, and setter methods in Java to create data classes.
- Kotlin vs Java: Language scripting
Language scripting helps developers execute different functions automatically, which otherwise would require manual operation.
Kotlin enables language scripting integration in existing scripts, whereas Java does not allow language scripting.
- Kotlin vs Java: Operator overloading
Operator overloading allows the utilization of the same operator on different user-defined data types. Java doesn’t allow operator overloading except for the + function used for addition and concatenation in numeric and string types.
Kotlin enables the implementation of the pre-defined set of operator types like + and * with precedence. Developers need to specify the member function with the specific name of the corresponding type for the operator modifier to implement overloading.
- Kotlin vs Java: Static members
Java uses static members for memory management. Developers can apply static java keywords to different methods, blocks, variables, and nested classes to make them static members. Also, developers can access these members without instantiating the class.
Unlike other programming languages, static members in Kotlin do not use static variables in name fields. Developers must use Kotlin objects to create a companion object inside the class. Since the companion object is single, it acts as a static member allowing direct access without disturbing the containing class.
- Kotlin vs Java: String templates and expressions
String templates are a set of string literals that contain a sequence of characters to display text to a user. In Java, string templates are enclosed within quotation marks but do not allow expressions.
In Kotlin, there are two types of string templates raw strings and escape string templates. Kotlin allows expressions inside strings that can change the output of a pre-written program.
- Kotlin vs Java: Smart cast
Smart cast is an exclusive feature of the Kotlin language. Developers can use a smart cast to track the object and variable and then safely cast it into the call methods and types.
Since the smart cast is not available in Java, developers need to perform two separate functions. The first function checks the variable type and the second function casts the object to the target type.
- Kotlin vs Java: Type inference
Type inference is a feature that allows the deduction of data types for specific expressions automatically. Java does not allow type inferences as developers need to specify each variable before a declaration.
Kotlin allows type inference so that developers do not have to declare the type of each variable separately.
A competitive analysis of the remaining features:
Kotlin is a programming language inspired by Java and developed exclusively for Android development. Developers can get things done with fewer lines of code using the Kotlin language. However, for developing client-side applications and web applications, developers can choose Java over Kotlin.
In the end, developers should take their pick as per their project’s requirements. They should also list the pros and cons of each language to make an informed decision.
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How is Kotlin different from Java?
Kotlin is an enhanced version of Java. The language improves on Java aspects that previously made Android development time-consuming. Kotlin is faster and can compile code in fewer lines than Java.
Should I learn Java before learning Kotlin?
Developers who are just starting out must learn Java to code well. Java is one of the oldest programming languages, so understanding Java basics help learn newer programming languages like Kotlin.
What are the features of Kotlin?
Kotlin has many smart features like smart casts, lazy loading, null safety, and exception handling, among others.
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