Pros and Cons of Kotlin for Android App Development

Sandeep Agarwal
Quick Code
Published in
5 min readOct 22, 2019
Kotlin App Devleopment

During Google I/O 2017, Google announced Kotlin as an official programming language for building Android apps.

Though the announcement was a bit surprising for the Android development community since Java had been the preferred language for developing Android apps.

However, it’s been two years now, and since then Kotlin’s popularity has only increased.

For instance, a quick search on Google trends proves that Kotlin is picking the pace fast than imagined.

Thanks to the solid support from Google and Jetbrains, both developers as well as businesses, Kotlin’s adoption is on a quick rise.

In fact, according to Kotlin’s official website, many tech giants including Uber, Evernote, Pinterest have adopted Kotlin for their Android version of mobile apps.

If you’re also considering to use Kotlin for your next Android app project, be sure to first understand what exactly Kotlin is, its benefits, and disadvantages of this programming language.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is an open-source, statistically-typed programming language created by JetBrains.

It was named after Kotlin Island which is located near St. Petersburg, Russia and it basically allows creating code that can seamlessly run on the Java Virtual Machine.

Although, Kotlin’s syntax is not compatible with Java, the common-used language for developing Android apps, however, it can easily interoperate with the Java code.

In laymen’s terms, Kotlin code can easily work with Java exactly the way it does natively.

Apart from this, JetBrains has also enabled Kotlin to use aggressive inference to decide the type of expressions and values in case they weren’t defined by Android app developers.

This, in turn, makes Kotlin even more distinctive than Java. Kotlin tutorials are a great way to learn more about Kotlin for Android beginners

However, the aim of this article is not to compare Kotlin with Java. Rather, the main focus is to discuss the pros and cons of using Kotlin for Android app development and determine whether it’s the right technology for your project.

Let’s start with the pros.

Pros of Kotlin for Android App Development

Kotlin is clearly loved by companies as well as Android app developers. Here’s the list of Kotlin advantages that makes it the prime option to build Android apps.

1 — Interoperability with Java Code

Kotlin is 100% Java-Interoperable programming language, which means switching from Java to Kotlin is a piece of cake for experienced Android app developers.

This is possible because Kotlin is consistent not only with Java but also with its frameworks and tools. And in case you have an existing Android app developed using Java language, you can still write new features or simply update your Android app in Kotlin language.

2 — Easy Maintainability

Most of the IDEs available in the market today provide support for Kotlin, which ultimately helps in maximizing productivity as it eliminates the need for learning new IDE for the developers.

3 — Boosts Team Efficiency

Thanks to its intuitive and succinct syntax, Kotlin is a compact and clean programming language that boosts team efficiency to a great extent.

In laymen’s terms, developers can get more work done using Kotlin compared to Java, as Kotlin takes fewer lines of code to build and deploy Android applications.

4 — Kotlin is Much More Reliable

Compared to other emerging programming languages such as Flutter, Kotlin is a much more mature programming language. It first came into existence in 2011.

As far as reliability is concerned, ever since Kotlin’s inception, it has gone under numerous Alpha and Beta tests before JetBrains finally released its final public version.

In fact, JetBrains also made Kotlin’s latest version reversely compatible with many of its previous language versions, giving much more reliability for the existing Kotlin-based Android apps.

Cons of Kotlin for Android App Development

Just like anything in life, Kotlin is not a perfect programming language. And if you’re going to use Kotlin to build Android app for your startup, business, or Enterprise, it’s imperative to take its cons into account before making the final decision.

1 — Fluctuation in Compilation

In many cases such as performing incremental builds, Kotlin is faster than Java, there is no doubt about it. However, Java remains a clear winner when it comes to creating clean builds for Android apps.

2 — Less Talent for Hire

Although, Kotlin’s increased popularity, especially after Google announced it as the first-class Android app development programming language, has certainly increased the number of Kotlin app developers in the market.

There are, however, still less number of Kotlin developers available in the market compared with Java developers.

3 — Limited Learning Resources

Though the number of Android app developers switching to Kotlin is increasing almost every day, there is still limited number of resources available in the market to learn and master Kotlin.

This basically leads to extra time to try and figure out how to do or build certain things in an Android app using Kotlin programming language.

The good news is, a lot of Android app development companies have mastered the language even with limited resources, so building a seamless Android app for your business using Kotlin is no longer an issue.

4 — Kotlin is Still Not Java

While Kotlin and Java have a lot of similarities, making the switch from Java to Kotlin will take some time for developers to get familiar with how everything works in the Kotlin programming language.

This means if you’re an existing Java-based Android app and want to switch it to Kotlin, additional expenses for training the team will be definitely required.

Final Thoughts…

Having official support from a tech giant Google is definitely a clear sign that the future of Kotlin is bright.

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to hurry in replacing your existing technology stack with Kotlin. So, even if you have an existing Android app, try baby steps instead.

What I mean is, instead of rewriting the entire application in Kotlin, you can build the next feature in Kotlin. This will help you get better familiarility with Kotlin while still maintaining an efficient Java-based Android app.



Sandeep Agarwal
Quick Code

CEO at Credencys Solutions Inc. A Leading Web and Mobile App Development Services Provider in USA.