Java vs Kotlin: What is better for Android development?

Java vs Kotlin: What is better for Android development?

The debate to decide which is better for Android development, Java or Kotlin, is a never ending saga in the world of software development. Both of them are so well-known that even experts consider them when it comes to Android development. These programming languages are capable of developing great applications using their superior functionalities and features.

But if you want to create an Android application, you only need one programming language, so it’s crucial to pick the best one from the two: Java or Kotlin. In this article, you will find out which is better by doing a comparison between them, considering some factors such as ease of use, performance, popularity, and many others. Read on to learn more. 

Similarities between the programming languages 

Before comparing them, you should know that they share some similarities. One of the two similarities is the type system, and the other is the collection library. The similarity in the type system of the programming languages allows the developers to easily convert their existing code to the other programming language. The Kotlin libraries are very similar to Java’s collection libraries, and the classes are also easy to convert, which makes it very convenient for developers to try Kotlin.

Which is best for Android development?

Both are great at what they do and offer a range of advantages that make them excellent for developing leading mobile apps. To find out which one is better, you should consider doing a comparison of both languages based on the following factors. It includes:

  • Ease-of-use and Learn
  • Performance
  • Popularity
  • Cross-Platform
  • Mature Libraries
  • Scalability
  • Community Support

1. Ease-of-use and learn

Compared to Java, Kotlin is an easier to use programming language. The availability of a good collection of tools, IDEs, and tutorials allows developers to learn the programming language, making the development of mobile applications easier. As a result, the developers will have the chance to use the programming language effectively and advance their expertise, finishing projects on schedule.  

2. Performance

Java is an established language with numerous libraries and tools. It has a complex syntax to begin with, whereas the other has a more concise syntax and built-in null safety. In terms of performance, Kotlin has the upper hand and outperforms Java for Android development due to its immutability and properties, and its interoperability with Java distinguishes it. It works better for applications where performance is crucial, such as photo editing programmes or those that must function without a hitch on older Android devices. 

3. Popularity

Java has been the go to language for developers for a long time. But Kotlin came on the scene as a modern option for this purpose. Although it is a more recent language, it has quickly become one of the most popular options for creating Android apps. Moreover, Google supports it, so it will gain more support and advance over time. It is comparatively less popular than Java right now when the current situation is taken into account. 

4. Cross-Platform

Another factor that should be considered is the ability to cross compile and run on multiple platforms. It is possible with Kotlin. The Java programming language, however, has limitations due to the fact that it uses bytecode, which can only be compiled once for a single platform. Sometimes, the developers have to create Android versions, iOS versions, and even Windows versions in mobile development, which requires the use of a programming language like Kotlin.

5. Mature libraries

As said earlier, Java is an older language introduced in the early 1990s with more mature libraries. Consequently, it has a sizable selection of libraries, frameworks, and tools that are available for app development. But Kotlin is a new language introduced in 2011 that has become popular recently. So, it is beginning to catch up with the introduction of newer libraries, such as Coroutines and KTX. However, it still needs to catch up on this front.

6. Scalability

Programming languages like Java are not scalable enough compared to other languages. It negatively affects the performance of the applications made using them, especially on older devices like Android phones. On the other hand, Kotlin has more scalability in its design, which improves the performance of an app by reducing the chances of getting bloated. So Android development is better with it than with the others. 

7. Community support

Compared to Java, which has been around for a while, Kotlin is a fairly recent programming language. Since there are more developers and experts available to consult with when using Java, it has become the platform of choice for many companies in recent years. So it has a high level of community support.

These are the major differences between the programming languages you can consider looking at when choosing one for your mobile app development. The applications of Kotlin include Spotify, Twitter, Cash App, LinkedIn, and many others. And Java is used in a variety of applications such as Pinterest, Trello, Evernote, and others. 

With its long history, stability, ease of learning, and large developer community, Java is a proven and reliable language that can be of help. Even though Kotlin is a more recent language and doesn’t yet have the same level of support, more developers are starting to use it for coding because of its many benefits. It’s not easy to decide between them, but it all depends on your project.

Both are well-liked programming languages that are frequently used for Android development; each has advantages and disadvantages. Personal preference will determine which is best for your needs, but this article has compared some of the major differences to help you make your decision.

Interesting Links:

Are Android Developers in Demand?

More information about Android Software Development

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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