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Kotlin VS Java for Android Development

Kotlin VS Java for Android Development

Kotlin VS Java

Although Java was leading in Android development for a long time, in 2019, Google gave its preference to a new and improved programming language Kotlin. Kotlin’s popularity has been increasing over the last few years making it one of the most popular programming languages. The question is whether it will be possible for Kotlin to surpass well-known and wide-spread Java. In this article, we will look into the differences between Kotlin and Java in Android app development trying to clear up what lurks in their future.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a modern open-source statically typed programming language aimed at Java Virtual Machine (JVM), Android, JavaScript, and Native. It was created by JetBrains in 2010. Kotlin is fully interoperable with Java as it was based on its library. The main goal of it was to improve the development process making it time-saving and efficient. As a result, Kotlin stands out for being concise letting developers write less boilerplate code. This improved programming language can be applied in any kind of development: be it back-end, front-end, or web.

One of the main objectives of Kotlin was to make it accessible on various platforms and make it productive when working with other languages. As a result, developers can use Kotlin on one IDE for different platforms.

Nowadays, over 60% of Android developers prefer this new programming language. Among popular mobile apps using Kotlin app development services are Pinterest, Uber, Airbnb, and others.

What Is Java?

Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems back in 1995. Not only is it one of the most used programming languages, but also Android itself was created in it. Many developers opt for Java application development as it is secure, reliable, and provides access to a large number of open-source tools and libraries.

Apart from Android app development, Java is applied in a vast number of spheres such as back-end technologies (Apache, JBoss, etc), hardware programming, enterprise software development, and others.

Major Difference Between Java And Kotlin Programming Languages

To find out why some developers choose Kotlin and some stay committed to Java for Android app development services let’s look into their distinctive features.


Kotlin’s main goal was to address some Java issues, thus, here are some of its advantages:

  • Kotlin has become a key story due to its concision. Moreover, it managed to save perfect readability. Less code keeps developers away from numerous bugs and errors saving time on the development process and later checks.
  • Null safety. NullPointerException is notorious for causing many mistakes and even destroying apps. Kotlin took it into account building in null safety.
  • No checked exceptions. Checked exceptions are a function that makes the caller of a function catch an exception. In the majority of cases, it is useless and causes empty catch blocks that increase verbosity and hinder navigation in the written code.
  • No raw types. Raw types can be a reason for a ClassCastException causing some errors during program execution. Kotlin got rid of them, allowing developers to build a safer code.
  • Kotlin obtains full interoperability with Java. Both programming languages work together effectively and smoothly.
  • Anko library. Kotlin has access to the Anko library providing developers with extra tools and resources.
  • Data classes. By using this programming language developers benefit from a great amount of self-generated code and the ability to drop some lines out of it.

Nonetheless, Kotlin is inferior to Java in some aspects. Here are some of the points where Java wins in Kotlin vs Java rivalry:

  • Since Kotlin is a new programming language its community is much less than Java’s so it could be challenging to address some emerging issues.
  • Learning curve. Kotlin has a steep learning curve. Developers have to adjust to some of its distinctive features. Moreover, basic knowledge of Java will be also of use.
  • Few experts. Only a few years’ presence on the market implies a lack of specialists working with this programming language.


Java has earned the trust of many developers and remains one of the most well-known programming languages. Besides being secure, simple, and efficient it offers some other advantages:

  • Learning curve. Java doesn’t need much studying as it is less complicated than other programming languages. It is simpler to write, compile, or debug.
  • Tools and resources. Java offers Android app developers a full pack of libraries and tools. It makes the development process time-saving and more effective. Moreover, a wide community can be of help in solving some challenging issues.
  • Java operates almost on any system or device. It is compatible with both native and cross-platform applications.
  • Object-oriented. This feature makes Java more robust allowing developers to build modular apps and work with reusable code.

As well as any other programming language Java has some disadvantages:

  • Java is heavy and memory-consuming, thus it usually operates slower than alternative languages.
  • Cumbersome nature. The need of writing more code (in comparison with Kotling) leads to more errors and bugs that can slow down the development process.
  • Android API. Java faces some limitations working with Android API making some developers refuse from it and start using Kotlin.

What is Better for Android Development?

The answer to this question remains unsolved as it depends on the preferences of a developer. Java is a wide-spread and respected programming language with a big number of libraries and tools for Android app development. On the other hand, Kotlin is a new pragmatic and intuitive language that has managed to improve some operating difficulties of its main competitor.

The outcome of the Java vs Kotlin battle for Android development is still blurred. Some experts believe that Kotlin will replace Java due to its concise syntax, full interoperability, and improved efficiency. However, others say that these two programming languages will continue to coexist meeting the needs of different groups of developers.

Summing it up, both Kotlin and Java have merits and drawbacks. When choosing one of them for your Android app it is crucial to focus on the developer team’s expertise. If the developers are high-skilled and knowledgeable your project will succeed bringing your company to the top of the market competition.

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