The development of Android created history with Java as its most widely used language. But Java came with its own issues and does not always seem to be the best choice. Kotlin is a worthy alternative and seems to fill the need of modern language for the Android platform and works perfectly for Android Studio. Kotlin proves to be advantageous for the Android platform but with the least of new restrictions.
It was JetBrains who developed the open sourced, statistically typed language Kotlin that has become the most popularly supported JVM language operable in the Android studio or ecosystem. The best feature of Kotlin was not to replace the whole Java framework but work in combination with it. Some of its features are stated below.
- Kotlin is totally compatible with JDK6 and can effectively run on all Android devices without any problems. Android Studio is fully supported by Kotlin tools and is also fully compatible with the Android build system
- Kotlin is completely interoperable with Java. It can use all the already present Android libraries in Kotlin apps like processing, annotation, data binding along with dragger work.
- Kotlin application has a bytecode structure that is quite similar to Java. So it runs fast just like a Java application. Kotlin’s performance for inline functions like code using lambdas is comparatively faster than the code written in Java.
- Kotlin applications have a closely packed runtime library, but when used with ProGuard the runtime can be greatly reduced. For real applications, Kotlin footprints can add around 100 methods along with 100K to the .apk file.
- Kotlins compilation time with incremental builds is more efficient and faster than with Java. But it is expressive enough to make your code decipherable and understandable.
- Beginning with Kotlin is quite simple even for a Java developer. Kotlin plugin helps converter to automatically shift from Java to Kotlin. Kotlin Koans act like a guide through the learning curve of the language with several interactive exercises.
Kotlin Tools for Android Development
A set of tools are developed by the Kotlin team for Android development with features that go much beyond the standard language.
- Kotlin Android Extensions are extensions that can remove ‘findViewById()’ bringing in your code to replace it with properties that are synthetically compiler generated.
- Anko provides Kotlin friendly wrappers around DSL and Android APIs so it becomes simple to replace the .xml files with the Kotlin code.
Get Started With Kotlin in Android Studio
- Install Android Studio 3.0 by downloading it. It will include Kotlin support.
- Start with your first Kotlin application by following the tutorial “Getting Started with Android and Kotlin”.
- Refer to on-site documents and Kotlin Koans for a detailed introduction.
- Refer to the book “Kotlin for Android Developers” that will give you a step by step procedure of creating an Android Application in Kotlin.
- Sample projects of Google written in Kotlin can be checked out for better reference.