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You have an idea that can disrupt the current scenario of your niche.  Kudos!

Every idea requires a platform to be built and if it is an android mobile app, you might be puzzled between Java and Kotlin.

In this article, you will see the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms. And in the end, it is you who has to decide what is best for your startup.

So without any further ado, let us get started:

What is Java?

A computer programming language, Java is a high-level language as it is easily written and read by humans. This language is more than just a programming language. Being[HM1]  able to use Java to build Android applications is a skill. It is a programming language to create server-side programs, responsive content for web pages, and independent software. From game consoles to networks to personal computers, Java is behind everything. Millions of software designers and end-users throughout the world use Java. No matter what, Java will always stay at the top for Android developers.

Advantages of Java in Android Development

Java has many advantages over other languages. It is just perfect for any programming task. Here are a few advantages of Java:

  1. Easy to Learn- Java is easy to write and easy to use. Compile, debug, and learn these programming languages easily.
  1. Object-Oriented- Java lets you build reusable code and modular programs.
  1. Platform Independent- Java can move easily from one system to another effortlessly. Running the same program on different systems is important to test the program. As Java is platform-independent at both the binary and source levels, developers can run the same program on different platforms easily.
  1. Easily Distributed- Java is designed to make distributed computing easy with the networking capability that is inherently integrated into it. Writing network programs in Java is like sending and receiving data to and from a file.
  1. Secure- Java considers security as part of its design. The Java language, compiler, interpreter, and runtime environment were each developed with security in mind.
  1. Robust- Robust means reliability. Java puts a lot of emphasis on early checking for possible errors, as Java compilers are able to detect many problems that would first show up during execution time in other languages.
  1. Multithreaded- Multithreaded is the capability for a program to perform several tasks simultaneously within a program. In Java, multithreaded programming has been smoothly integrated into it, while in other languages, operating system-specific procedures have to be called in order to enable multithreading.

Disadvantages of Java [HM2] in Android Development

Despite having some advantages, Java language has some disadvantages as well, here are a few of them:

  1. Performance- Programs are written in Java take a much longer time to run.
  1. Memory- As Java programs run on top of Java VM, it takes more memory.
  1. Cost- Processing and memory need good hardware, as a result, cost increases.
  1. Garbage collection- In Java, developers cannot control garbage collection as the platform does provide functions like free() and delete().

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a statically typed, cross-platform, general-purpose coding language that features type inference. It can interact with JVM and Java-based on the Java Class Library. But, the type inference also features a concise syntax. Primarily, Kotlin’s primary target is JVM but it may compile to native or JavaScript as well. JetBrains is responsible for the language development costs. On the other hand, Kotlin Foundation offers protection for the Kotlin trademark. Kotlin has Google’s backing for mobile development. After the introduction of Android Studio 3.0 in 2017, the language has become a good alternative to the regular Java compiler. With this compiler, you can go for either Java 8 or Java 6 compatible bytecode.

Advantages of Kotlin

  1. It is compatible with Java:- Certainly, this is the biggest advantage of Kotlin for the developers. The same problem can be solved with fewer lines of code.
  1. Shorter Program:- A statically typed language, Kotlin is easy to read and write. It is easy to debug the issues as the language is human-readable. The code is much smaller than Java and makes the entire process easy and saves time.
  1. Easy to Code:- You don’t need semicolons in the program and it makes the programs easy to read and understand. Developers can use mutable and immutable declarations for different data structures easily.
  1. Easy to Maintain:- Kotlin supports many IDEs, meaning you are free to use already proven development tools that you are comfortable with for maintaining your codebase at scale.

Disadvantages of Kotlin

  1. Not same as Java:- Both Java and Kotlin are similar, but there are some dissimilarities. It becomes hard for the developers to switch if they have less knowledge about Kotlin.
  1. Less Professionals:- Kotlin is getting popular day by day, but still, there are fewer professionals in Kotlin. All you need to have is a deep understanding of Kotlin.
  1. Compilation Speed:- Kotlin works faster than Java while performing builds most of the time.
  1. Limited Community:- As more and more developers are getting into this field, but still Kotlin has a limited community to learn.

What Kotlin Has That Java Doesn’t

Here are a few things that Kotlin has and java doesn’t:

  •         The raw types are not supported by Kotlin
  •         When compared to Java, Kotlin has function types
  •         Arrays in Kotlin are invariant
  •         Null references in Kotlin are monitored by the type system

Kotlin vs Java- Comparison

Kotlin

  •         Lets the users build an extension function
  •         Does not need much work for data classes
  •         Does not support static members        
  •         Does not have any wildcard-types       
  •         Does not need variable data type specifications  

Java

  •         Does not provide any extension functions
  •         Developers write and construct many elements to develop classes
  •         Uses static members
  •         Wide-card is available in Java
  •         Variable data type specifications

Conclusion

Still not sure what platform to choose for your next app startup? You can choose any of the platforms depending on your app requirements. Kotlin is becoming a top programming language for Android mobile app development and offers them a lot of opportunities to try out new things. For Kotlin, you need to give your team at least a month to get familiar with Kotlin. Also, you need to keep in mind that Java is not going anywhere and will stay ahead for Android app development always.

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Amit Tiwari is a member of JumpGrowth’s marketing team, and spends his free time to writing and publishing the tech news.

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