If you're a mobile app developer, Java was probably your go-to language for building Android apps. But did you know that new languages that might challenge Java's leadership in the Android world are popping up all over the place? One of them is Kotlin, a relatively new language some people believe is on its way to replacing Java on the mobile development scene.
Here's a detailed comparison of Java and Kotlin to help you decide which language will work best for your next mobile development project.
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Java is the favourite of many developers when it comes to Android app development – mainly because Android itself was written in Java. Developed by Sun Microsystems (now property of Oracle), Java is an object-oriented programming language that boasts the title of the second most active language on GitHub. And no wonder – it’s been around for over 20 years, and its popularity only seems to grow.
Here are some examples of prominent open source apps written in Java:
Here are two amazing apps written in Kotlin:
While Kotlin offers many advantages that Java doesn't, it still has some shortcomings. When letting your team experiment with Kotlin, remember that transitioning to a new language isn't always that exciting for developers who have already found the tools and strategies that work for them.
You'll need to give your team at least a month for getting familiar with Kotlin, risking that some team members might not adapt in time for the launch of your Kotlin project. You also need to bear in mind that Java isn’t going anywhere and will remain essential for Android app development.
But if you're a beginner looking for a new challenge, it makes sense to try Kotlin, especially if you'd like to work on innovative projects for startups. If you're running a team of mobile developers, however, it's best to experiment with Kotlin one step at a time to check whether the new language brings you tangible benefits.