Everything You Need to Know About Kotlin

By Shaun Williams
Everything You Need to Know About Kotlin

Kotlin has become a popular programming language amongst mobile app developers in a relatively short period since its launch in 2016. It is the product of JetBrains, the same giant behind PyCharm, the IDE for Python. Leading mobile app developers are increasingly adopting Kotlin to create robust apps as an alternative to older programming languages.

In this post, we will learn everything about Kotlin. With this language's increasing usage and demand, it has become essential for new developers and mobile app development service seekers to know and understand the perks and features of this programming language. 

So, let's move forward and start by getting an overview of Kotlin. 

A Brief Overview of Kotlin

Kotlin, a product of JetBrains, is being used extensively to create Android mobile apps. It is considered unique because of its compatibility with Java, which allows app developers to use the Java code and its rich library in kotlin programs. Some of the most popular mobile apps with billions of downloads are built using Kotlin, with the likes of Netflix, Uber, Evernote, Pinterest, Duolingo, and many others.

Kotlin is popular because of its cross-platform nature, which allows developers to build mobile apps for multiple platforms in minimal time. Let's move forward and discuss some of the most important features of Kotlin that make it loved by mobile app developers worldwide. 

Top Features of Kotlin

Now, let us talk about some key features of Kotlin that every mobile app developer and app development service seeker must know.

#1 Multiplatform Support 

Multiplatform support enabled by Kotlin is one of this language's best perks, allowing you to reuse the code over various platforms like Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, etc., while retaining the elements and perks of native programming. This platform thus allows you to avoid compromise by choosing one out of native and cross-platform development and instead leverage the benefits of both into your projects.

#2 Java Compatibility 

One of the significant perks of Kotlin is its compatibility with Java. If your entire program is written in Java and you are willing to migrate to Kotlin, you won't need to change the entire codebase to Kotlin. Instead, you can migrate your whole codebase to Kotlin with minimal changes, thanks to Kotlin's interoperability with Java. 

#3 Easy to Learn and Use

One of the many reasons mobile app developers love Kotlin is its ease of use. This language is easy to learn and use, thanks to the thorough documentation provided. 

These documents are well crafted and written in an easily readable and understandable manner. This helps users understand the ins and outs of Kotlin faster and allows new learners to use Kotlin more quickly. 

#4 Highly Secure 

Kotlin is a highly secure programming language, one of the many reasons Android app developers choose Kotlin over Java. Kotlin's programs, or codebase, are smaller and have fewer lines than Java programs. Because of this, spotting bugs and errors is way easier and faster in Kotlin programs.

#5 Free to Use  

Another great benefit of Kotlin is that it is free to use. Hence, you can download it for free and use its various features and toolkits. This is perfect for new learners and programming enthusiasts who can learn this language and use it to write programs for free.

#6 Excellent Community Support

Community support is one of the most important things that make any programming language user-friendly and easy to learn. Kotlin has a large community of more than 5 million developers who are friendly and willing to help their fellow Kotlin developers at every point. Kotlin provides various channels for developers to connect via platforms like Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more.

#7 Recommended by Google For Android

Kotlin is highly recommended for Android app development because of its popularity amongst professional Android developers. According to Kotlin, almost 50% of professional Android developers prefer Kotlin as their primary language, as opposed to 30% who prefer Java as their primary language. 

Also, over 70% of these Android developers reported that Kotlin is boosting their productivity.

#8 Built-in Null Safety Feature

One of the biggest pain points of the leading programming languages is the Null pointer exception, one of the key reasons programs keep crashing. Kotlin has introduced a countermeasure to fight Null pointer exceptions via its type system. This "type system" discerns between nullable references and non-nullable references, and via its operations, the system detects a null reference and, instead of crashing, jumps off to the safe calls.

Why Is Kotlin Considered Best for Android App Development?

There are numerous reasons why Android developers love Kotlin, and it is considered the best alternative to Java and other leading programming languages for Android app development. Let's briefly examine some key reasons why Kotlin is the best Android app development option. 

Kotlin is highly suitable for Android app developers because of the range of benefits it boasts for Android app developers. One of the key reasons is that it is a multiplatform language that allows these developers to create Android for multiple apps by sharing the same codebase. 

Kotlin, as already discussed, has excellent Java interoperability and is also open-source. Due to its open-source nature, there is excellent transparency amongst the development team, thus allowing them to collaborate better, point out bugs and errors on time, and correct them faster. Being open-source is one of the key characteristics of Android and also the reason why Kotlin fits it the best. 

Being open-source and offering better code readability favors Kotlin as its syntax is clean and easy to understand. Another impressive feature of Kotlin is its concise and small-size programs. Compared to its alternatives, such as Java Kotlin, which requires fewer lines for the same code and eliminates the need to write codes for repetitive things.

Suggested Reading: Android App Development Company or Freelance Android App Developer: Whom to Hire?

What Can You Build Using Kotlin?

Kotlin has been Android developer-friendly since its release, and it is not surprising that some of the leading Android apps have been built on kotlin. Let's discuss what kind of mobile apps can be made using Kotlin. 

  • Educational apps: Coursera is a popular e-learning app for learners worldwide. This app is built on Kotlin. Another such app is Duolingo, a language learning app built using Koltin. Hence, you can see how to make educational apps using Kotlin by checking out these examples.

  • Food delivery apps: Two of India's most popular food delivery apps, Zomato and Swiggy, are built on Kotlin. 

  • Productivity apps: You can build productivity apps that help user boost their productivity and efficiency using Kotlin. Some prime examples of this genre of apps built using Kotlin are Evernote and Basecamp 3. 

  • Entertainment apps: Kotlin is used to create entertainment apps such as Netflix. Netflix, the most popular OTT app, is built using Kotlin. 

  • Cab-booking apps: You can use Kotlin to build online cab-booking apps such as Uber, among several successful apps built on Kotlin.

  • Crowdfunding apps: One can use Kotlin to build apps for crowdfunding to help people get the resources they need. One of the best examples of crowdfunding apps built using Kotlin is Kickstarter.

Some Key Alternatives to Kotlin

Android developers have used many programming languages along with Kotlin over the past years. Some key programming languages that are the best alternatives to Kotlin will be discussed. 

  • Java: It is a popular and quite old programming language released in 1995 and has been one of the most loved Android app development languages for developers worldwide. It is one of Kotlin's most significant competitors for Android app development.

  • Python: It is one of the most popular languages among developers and learners. It is an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose programming language. It is portable, meaning the same code can be run over all the platforms without making any changes, be it macOS, Linux, or Windows. Some leading apps, such as Instagram, Dropbox, Spotify, and many more, are written in Python. 

  • Scala: It is again a general-purpose, high-level programming language that lets users write freely and concisely and by writing less. It is used to build applications faster; hence, it is also used to make rapid applications and fast systems. 

Suggested Reading: Python Development: Tips, Applications & Challenges!

Wrapping Up

Kotlin is a highly popular programming language known for its prowess in Android app development. It was developed by JetBrains, the same company that developed PyCharm, the IDE for Python. Kotlin has many perks for Android app development, making Android developers love this platform and their first choice for creating Android apps over Java. 

First of all, Kotlin is a free-to-use software that is available to download and use for beginners as well as professionals. The best thing about it is that programs written on it are concise and of smaller size than compared to another popular language for Android app development, Java. 

Another advantage of this language is its great interoperability with Java, making it easier for developers to transition their existing Java programs to Kotlin with negligible changes. Some other essential features we noted about Kotlin were that it is a highly secure language that helps detect bugs and errors faster and has excellent code readability. 

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