What Makes Kotlin Stand Out: An Introduction To Kotlin

What Makes Kotlin Stand Out: An Introduction To Kotlin

Introduced by JetBrains, Kotlin is a relatively fresh programming language that runs on the Java platform and uses JDK. Kotlin has a different syntax from Java, which was the main reason it was introduced as Java’s syntax is unnecessarily protracted. Kotlin facilitates the life of coders and gives them the chance to utilize a single code line instead of multiple lines. Back in 2017, Google promoted Kotlin for Android development, giving it a big, deserving break in the developers’ world.

Benefits of Kotlin:

Why should developers add Kotlin to their skillset? What is it that makes Kotlin stand out? Here are some reasons that will answer ‘why developers should learn Kotlin?’:

1. Helps in developing projects faster – As compared to other programming languages, Kotlin needs fewer lines of code when doing the same things. It is a crisp and compact language which helps in overcoming usual development problems with the help of a few lines of code.
For instance, using a lambda expression, developers can filter a list in this manner:

val positiveNumbers = list.filter { it > 0}

An object can also be created simply for a singleton like this:

object ThisIsASingleton {
 val companyName: String = “JetBrains”

Kotlin adds concise and powerful abstractions that do not hinder the readability of the code created. This, in turn, helps in writing code faster without spending much time reviewing the code. This leads to more time in hand which can be utilized to provide the additional features that users request. An article on TechBeacon read: “Developers love clean, concise code. Less code takes less time to write, less time to read, and is less susceptible to bugs…JetBrains (the organization that created Kotlin) understood the pain developers face in day-to-day developer workflow, and with Kotlin it has attempted to address those.”

2. Checks for nulls – Kotlin houses safety features that are designed to eliminate bugs and system failure, eventually improving the quality of the released applications. Nullable code flow is taken as a compile-time error by Kotlin and gives additional syntax for handling null checks. Kotlin also provides safety against NullPointerException (NPE) in chained calls. Kotlin programming language’s type system focuses on removing the risk of null references from code which is commonly known as ‘The Billion Dollar Mistake’. For instance, retrieving a member of null reference in Java results in a null reference exception. A code that returns or assigns a null is not compiled by Kotlin, and this is one of the most crucial features offered by Kotlin.

3. Type inference – A first class feature, Kotlin infers the type of variable with absolutely no need to specifying it explicitly. In cases where types are required for clarity, they can still be specified. Following the path, Java 10 has also taken in a similar direction by launching the ‘var’ keyword. The difference is that the scope of local variables is very limited and cannot be used for method signatures and fields.

4. Can be used with existing Java libraries – Kotlin can 100% be interoperated with Java. This successfully enables the migration of apps that are already built in Kotlin. This interoperability assures that there is no need to stop utilizing Java. Extension functions enable adding functionalities to existing classes without the need of fully rewriting to Kotlin. Advantages and features provided by Kotlin can be enjoyed by developers without deserting all the skills gained while creating existing applications.

5. Highly demanded programming language – A global survey done by The Realm Report on mobile developers about what programming languages they use states that “the year of Kotlin” is here. According to the survey, 20% of the applications built in Java prior to the Google I/O 2017 event (where Google announced that they will be using Kotlin for Android development) are now built using Kotlin. This led to companies looking for developers skilled in Kotlin language. Forecasts by The Realm proposes that Kotlin will be dominating the market in terms of Android development.

The future of Kotlin:

The language is still young. It hasn’t gained as much popularity as its counter-parts like Clojure, Groovy, or Scala (non-Java JVM languages) but it definitely has managed to stand tall among other myriad JVM languages.
Kotlin is known to work wonders for Android developers. Many companies are adopting Kotlin for app development. It has enabled developers to deliver their projects much faster.

Source: InfoQ, JavaPapers, Codementor, Udacity, Baeldung, Anadea, DiscoverSDK, TechBeacon

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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