LEARN ANDROID PROGRAMMING: KOTLIN OR JAVA

 2020-09-09

LEARN ANDROID PROGRAMMING: KOTLIN OR JAVA

Start learning to program then should learn Android first or Java first?

Despite the undeniable renown of Java as a programming language, Android initially needed a modern language. Kotlin filled that gasp since it was announced as the official language for Android.

Kotlin is an amazing language. Kotlin is powerful, statically typed, and less verbose than Java. Yet, does this make Kotlin become the first choice to learn Android programming development? What about the fact that Java has been around for 20 years now, is the Android language built up and has been hugely adored by Android developers?

So, Java has its position that is difficult to compete with. Which language should you choose to learn to program?

Later in this article will discuss the pros and cons of each language for you to decide which language you want to learn. But now, to make a long story short, we have to classify - anyone working with Android has to know about Java, even if you want to master Kotlin or other languages. So if you’re already a Java developer, you can start with Kotlin. But if you’re a beginner in the programming world, you should learn Java first. Java is the foundation of Android development that helps you understand the etiquette and properly understand your basics.

Now, let's take a closer look at both Java and Kotlin, to see which one will catch your eye.

Java programming learning

Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by Sun microsystems, currently owned by Oracle. As such an old language, Java doesn't just develop Android apps. If you learn to program Java, you’ll have a lot of job opportunities. You may not want to just develop Android apps all the time. Learning Java allows you to spread your wings. But if it's specifically about Android application development that you want to talk about, let's discuss the pros and cons of learning Java programming.

The pros of Java

  • Easy to learn and understand.
  • Suitable for native and cross-platform applications.
  • Since Android itself is built on top of Java, there are plenty of Java libraries supported. Besides, Java has an extensible source ecosystem.
  • Lighter and leaner Java applications, even when compared to Kotlin apps, resulting in a faster application experience.
  • Java also brings a faster build process, allowing you to write more code in less time.
  • Thanks to Gradle accelerated assembly, it's even easier to assemble large projects in Java.

The cons of Java

  • Java is a heavy language, which means the more you write, the more errors likely will increase.
  • Java has several problems in designing the Android API due to its inherent limitations.
  • Java requires more memory than other languages and tends to be slower.

Kotlin programming learning

Kotlin came when Android development needed a more modern language to add Java qualities and support mobile developments. JetBrains, who created Interliji, an integrated development environment also created Kotlin. This is an open-source, statically-typed language based on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The advantage of Kotlin is you can compile it into JavaScript and interoperate with Java. This allows the developers not only easily update the old Java apps to Kotlin, but also performs the old works by Java with Kotlin. Let’s see the interview with Andrey Breslav, the current main designer of Kotlin.

The pros of Kotlin 

  • Kotlin is written faster so many developers are into it. If it takes 50 lines of code in Java, it's only 1-2 lines in Kotlin. This also means fewer bugs and errors.
  • Kotlin's support in building clean APIs.
  • Thanks to Java bytecode, you can use Java libraries and frameworks in Kotlin, making the transition from Java to Kotlin seamlessly.
  • Kotlin has a much needed null in its type system, something that's missing in Java. Android uses null to represent the absence of a value, and Kotlin lets you use null, greatly reducing that toll.
  • The Anko library available to Kotlin helps a lot for developers and has a very active and extensive collection of projects on Github.

The cons of Kotlin

  • There's a steep learning curve with Kotlin. It’s very concise syntax, while a great advantage, requires prior knowledge of programming learning.
  • Kotlin shows a slower compile speed than Java in most cases, although it beat Java in a few cases.
  • The Kotlin community is still young and learning resources are limited, so finding answers to problems can be a little tricky. However, with its growing popularity, resources and communities will expand over time.
  • Since Kotlin is still new, finding experienced developers that can act as advisors to your team can be a little tricky. Everyone out there is just learning and experiencing it.
  • Some Android Studio features like autocomplete and compile tend to run slower in Kotlin compared to Java.

Therefore, learning Java programming or Kotlin programming.

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