Kotlin is a statically typed programming language like Java developed by JetBrains who developed IntelliJ IDEA and has been widely used for Android app development projects. Like Java, Kotlin is also a general-purpose language and has some splendid features that make it a most preferred programming language for Android app development.
One of the reasons why Kotlin is preferred over Java is that you don't need to write never-ending code with Kotlin. It saves time and efforts of android developers and makes a development process smoother and streamlined.
In this blog, we will discuss some of the best Kotlin features for Android development. Stay tuned!
Whether you are using Android Studio or IntelliJ, the good thing is Kotlin is well supported. To setup Kotlin, the first thing to do is to install the Kotlin plugin. Once you do it, you will be having new options to convert Java into Kotlin. The two options are mentioned below.
To create a new android project and setup Kotlin in the project
Add Kotlin into an already existing project. There is a step by step guide is available to learn how to add Kotlin to new android project. It is easy to learn and implement successfully. You can also create a Java class and convert it into Kotlin with a simple set of rules. Also, there are Kotlin extensions available for you that saves a lot of time. All you need to do is apply another plugin in your module to build a Gradle file.
Apply plugin: kotlin-android-extensions
Read about Kotlin features in details to ensure that you run and test your app using Kotlin.
Now, let's understand what some of the Kotlin features are for Android developer that makes it a perfect language for Android development.
It is an open-source programming language that takes a pragmatic approach when it comes to android app development. For example, Kotlin does not include features such as build system and package manager as these features are taken care of by open source tools such as Grade and Maven. Also, Kotlin mostly focuses on maintaining backward compatibility and its language design decisions are based on it. The most relevant example is that Kotlin still supports Java 6 bytecode as most of the android devices run on it.
It is 100% interoperable with Java
One of the main qualities that developers love about Kotlin is that it is 100% interoperable with Java and you can call Java code from Kotlin and vice versa. The bytecodes of Java and Kotlin are the same and you are not doing something different with Kotlin.
The main benefit of it is that you can directly start using Kotlin in the middle of the development of the android project even if you are earlier developing the project on Java. All you need to do is to learn about simple syntax and constructs of Kotlin. Developers find it very beneficial and interacting to use Java and Kotlin code together and it works well without jeopardising the project and its features and functionalities.
Forget about NullPointerExceptions
As per android developers, one of the reasons why apps crash is NullPointerExceptions. When you come to know about NPEs in the app, it takes a lot of time to fix those NPEs while safeguarding your code from NPEs. It is a major issue and needs to be addressed completely.
Thanks to Kotlin, you just have to forget about NPEs as Kotlin backs null safety in its type system. You can catch these NPEs during the compilation and your app will not crash while using.
Greater IDE and tooling support
If you are a fresher in android development, you don't need to worry about support and help when you are using Kotlin as it is supported by a well-known company JetBrains. JetBrains specializes in developing the best IDEs in the world.
If you are looking for Kotlin support from the community, you just need to install a plugin for that. Kotlin supports almost all IDE features of android studio and if you want to mix and match Java and Kotlin features and code, it does not affect the app. No other languages offer such IDE support.
Another feature that developers love about Kotlin is "Convert Java file to Kotlin". All you need to do is give it to your old java file and it will convert your old Java file onto equivalent Kotlin file in just one click.
Write less code
Developers love to write less code and that's what Kotlin offers to them and that is the reason developers too prefer Kotlin over Java. You can also convert your old java files into Kotlin files to reduce their sizes.
Another reason to use Kotlin for Android development is its readability. It is not a verbose language like Java. It is concise and crisp and easily readable when you understand the Syntax.
It is an enterprise language
When JetBrains conceptualised Kotlin, the main aim was to help developers to build enterprise apps easily and quickly. There is no academic or research background associated with Kotlin as it is built with the enterprise in mind. It solves and addresses real-life practical development issues and problems. They have not developed Kotlin from scratch, because they just want to develop something that helps developers to build android apps with ease and comfort.
Kotlin is one of the best and most preferred programming languages for android app development and it has carved a niche for itself by offering some of the crucial advantages to the developers. Kotlin makes the whole android app development process very quick, convenient and effortless. This is the biggest advantage of preferring Kotlin over Java for android app development.