Kotlin — programming languages ​​in a nutshell

4 October 2021

Kotlin is it worth getting to know, use and bet on it?

We all know very well that nature does not like a vacuum, and it is the same in the IT world. Every now and then new concepts, languages ​​and technologies are created, and still others come back like boomerangs, but under slightly different names. The JVM community also follows this trend. Kotlin is a relatively young programming language, but not that hipster anymore.

It penetrates the production world very strongly and intensively. Is it the language that should be of interest to a young, inexperienced programmer, and is it to start your adventure in the IT industry? What are its advantages and where to learn about it? The beginnings with Kotlin are not difficult and if you are motivated, you will learn its secrets fairly quickly and start working in it.


Where to use Kotlin?

We know that Kotlin is perfect for the Android platform, and its popularity is mainly due to the limitations that the Java Virtual Machine must face. Google is making efforts in this, because Kotlin is officially supported by the company and for these reasons Android applications are created thanks to the JetBrains language.

Interoperability between Kotlin and Java makes creating solutions for a mobile platform simply comfortable and allows you to use known libraries for both languages. Many people entering the programming world ask themselves which language to write in, if you assume that you will primarily create a mobile application. Then nothing should stop you from choosing that language.


Learning this language

Kotlin is such a simple language that, with substantive documentation, you can learn it quite quickly. The language we are writing about can be mastered by anyone, even one who has never dealt with programming before, while someone who knows Java will have it much easier. Knowing Java will positively affect the smoothness of moving around in Kotlin’s code and the very awareness while writing scripts. If you do choose to program in Kotlin and want to do it well, you should aim at a level where you are familiar with Java and the way a virtual machine works.

The Android language can be run on the JVM because Kotlin compiles to Java bytecode, and that’s why frameworks can be used when creating a Kotlin script. While working, you can appreciate the documentation of a given language, it is very often important at the beginning of the road with a given technology. The creator of Kotlin himself, or JetBrains, is solid in this matter, and extensive documentation can be found on their website.

If you are definitely focused on Android programming, then you can also use the documentation of this system, so there is no fear that you are running out of materials for work. There are job offers and a wide range of job offers, so there is a lot to choose from, but there are the most offers for Android. It is an ideal path for those who want to deal with mobile applications and also want to broaden their knowledge in this direction.

In general, Java is the leader in the backend, but Kotlin is constantly evolving, growing in strength and there are many indications that over time it will take part of the market, and after the movement of offers on the labour market, you can see that it will be used more and more in other places. The first experiences with Kotlin may not be the lightest, but completely manageable, the material resources are huge, substantive and accurate. It is worth bearing this in mind, because it is worth providing yourself with a solid foundation at the beginning, on which your knowledge and experience will be built. You should also remember about the connection between Kotlin and Java.


Differences between Kotlin and Java?

  1. Kotlin has smart cast support which identifies immutable types and performs implicit casts through the compiler, and in Java we need to identify and cast.
  2. Kotlin has type inference support, hence, we do not need to explicitly specify the data type of the variables, and in Java it must be clearly defined.
  3. Java’s compile time is about 20% faster than Kotlin’s compile time, but on further incremental builds, Kotlin will take the same compile time as Java.
  4. We don’t have checked exceptions in Kotlin, which is cumbersome as it leads to error-prone code, while Java has support for checked exceptions to do error handling.
  5. In Kotlin, we cannot assign null values ​​to variables or return values, but if we really want to assign, we declare a variable with a special syntax, while in Java we can assign null, but when we try to access null objects, it raises an exception.
  6. Kotlin is interchangeable with Java, regardless of the difference between them. We can call Kotlin code in Java and vice versa. So we can have both Java vs Kotlin classes next to each other in the project, and it compiles without any problems.

It seems at this point that we can continue building Kotlin applications for Android without worrying about compile time, even though Java has few advantages over Kotlin.

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