Kotlin vs Java: What to Choose for Android Development

Not too long ago, Google unveiled Kotlin as the language of choice for developing apps on Android platform. This announcement has drawn the attention of some of the world’s leading brands and has propelled Kotlin as the new must use a programming language and its popularity has been growing ever since. This has led a lot of specialists to foresee the collapse of Java as we know it as far as mobile development is concerned. We dug a little deeper into the debate between Kotlin and Java so you can see how the two stack up.

Kotlin vs Java Performance

Since performance is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a programming language, we must first determine which one would make apps work better. Kotlin’s byte code structure is almost identical to Java which makes apps run equally as fast, so, on the surface, there is no clear frontrunner in this category. However, when we look closer, we see that Kotlin can support inline functions which enable the code that incorporates lambdas to run faster than the one written by Java. Having said this, ultimately the code written by developers will determine how fast an application will run. This is simply because the byte code is so similar.

Kotlin can be the key to making your development teams function like well-oiled machines. A class consisting of 50 lines of code when using Java can be written with only one line of Kotlin. When we look at the history of Kotlin, especially the purpose for which it was invented by JetBrains, the goal was to increase productivity, yet it was not possible to rewrite everything using Kotlin. That’s why they made to be operational with Java. For example, Java Frameworks can work together with Kotlin libraries.

Kotlin vs. Java Android Development

It is no secret that pretty much all Android apps are developed with Java. However, here are some reasons why you should consider using Kotlin:

  • Java has become outdated — let’s face it, Java has not been keeping up with the times even with the release of Java 8, which many experts consider to be a monumental leap for them. Still Android supports only a handful of Java 8 features, so it is unclear how developers can take advantage of this platform.
  • Language issues — Java’s language issues have received a lot of attention with things like null-unsafety, no extendibility and it even does not support functional programming features.
  • Syntax issues — When we compare to some of the more modern platforms out there, what really stands out is how verbose it is. This is another red flag in terms of how out of date it really is.

Kotlin Advantages

If all the above reasons to switch to Kotlin was not convincing enough, there are many more features that Android development services are taking advantage of. Since Kotlin requires fewer lines of code, this makes it safer to use than Java because it improves readability and allows engineers to handle the code more efficiently. Also, it reduces the likelihood of making a mistake while writing the code, not to mention its compiler makes it really easy to discover bugs in the code which eliminates runtime errors. All of this makes any errors less costly and easier to fix.

With Kotlin the code base is much smaller which helps improve code quality since it can make technical debt avoidable. If developers are running late on a deadline, they often cut corners as far as the programming is concerned. This throws a huge monkey wrench into future development and hampers productivity. The good news is that with a smaller code base all of these problems can be avoided if everything is implemented correctly. This is yet another side effect of the conciseness that Kotlin brings to the table. In general, the less you have to write, the fewer mistakes you are going to make.

The developer community for Kotlin is very strong. It is an open community and highly responsive, thus enabling the flow of information and expertise from one developer to another to get the most pressing and challenging questions answered. There are many resources available for developers to hone their skills and there are now thousands of questions on StackOverflow regarding how to use Kotlin, thus making it a wonderful resource to turn to regarding usability.


Like we said earlier, Kotlin and Java are inter-operable which makes it possible to migrate even the biggest projects from Java to Kotlin gradually, while allowing developers to use Java libraries. You do not need to implement Kotlin overnight. Start using it for coding something that is not critical to your business, see how things go from there and let your team gain some experience with it. In many situations, test cases can be made simpler thanks to Kotlin which can take the huge task of implementing and making it manageable.

In most situations, the difference between these two languages is quite clear. Kotlin is able to provide your business with greater efficiency and reduce risks by eliminating unnecessary lines of code. In today’s IT landscape, companies are constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency, yet they often overlook switching to a new programming language as a means to accomplish this. However, it is certainly a good idea to at least give it a shot, especially since you do not have to stop what you are doing cold turkey. Once you see how everything is starting to run more smoothly and there are fewer mistakes, the benefits of switching to Kotlin will outweigh all the negatives. Bugs can be very expensive to fix, especially if they are noticed later on in the development process, therefore it is better to mitigate this risk from the very beginning. Mistakes will happen regardless of the programming language, this is just the nature of the business. However, it is up to you to give your development team the best chance of success and a better recovery method when the mistakes do occur. This is why you should switch to Kotlin today.

Originally published at skywell.software.