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What Is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a general purpose, free, open source, statically typed “pragmatic” programming language initially designed for the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and Android that combines object-oriented and functional programming features. It is focused on interoperability, safety, clarity, and tooling support. Versions of Kotlin targeting JavaScript ES5.1 and native code (using LLVM) for a number of processors are in production as well.

Features Of Kotlin

 Interoperability With Java Code

JetBrains made a valid point when comparing programming languages to human ones: the more people speak a language, the better. And what better way to achieve this than using the foundation of already familiar languages to build a new one, right?

The interoperability with Java code is one of the main reasons why developers love Kotlin.

Even though the syntax of the language is not compatible with Java, Kotlin is designed to interoperate fully with it. This means that your existing codebase written in Java can interact properly with Kotlin, and vice versa. In the IDE, there is even a built-in automated Java-to-Kotlin converter. Making it consistent with Java’s frameworks and tools was very smart when you think about the adoption process and the implied risks of code migration.

Kotlin addressed a series of Java issues (e.g. no raw types, null references are controlled by the type system, Kotlin does not have checked exceptions), which for sure made the language tempting for developers.

In addition, compared to Java, kotlin is much safer. Take nulls in Java for example, which are very error-prone. In Kotlin, by default – nulls don’t even exist..

kotlin programming language

2. Mild Learning Curve and Open source

Since 2012, Kotlin has been an open source programming language and it is continuously improved. The language had its stable release on 3 March, 2020. Developers can enjoy great support from the Kotlin community, which is definitely a plus.

Needless to say, Kotlin has supreme IDE support. All major Java IDEs provide support: NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, and Android Studio.

Kotlin itself is easy to learn and very user-friendly, it has an intuitive syntax, just like most of the Java compatible programming languages. In fact, it was inspired by languages such as Java, C#, JavaScript, Scala and Groovy.

Because of the syntax, code written in Kotlin can be easily reviewed even by someone who is not a high level expert.

3. Less Coding Required

If there’s one thing developers appreciate, it’s optimizing their code writing process and avoiding repetition wherever possible. This is another reason why Kotlin is so loved: it eliminates redundant code.

Kotlin is known for being compact and concise. When you need less time to code, you’re consequently achieving faster time to market. Overall, the development process becomes more efficient, costs get reduced, and developers enjoy more creative freedom.

Compared to Java, developing with Kotlin can result in cca. 40% cut in the number of lines of code. Tie that to the fact Kotlin emerged from the industry, not academia – and you’ll end up with a pretty sweet programming language developers are naturally attracted to.

4. Multiplatform Development

One of Kotlin’s biggest advantages is its multiplatform development. Kotlin can be used for any type of development: from server-side and client-side web to Android and iOS. The language runs on JVM, which enables code sharing between different platforms. Similar to React Native, it offers developers a great perk of reusing existing codes, which saves them a lot of time and energy.

Kotlin/Native is also ready for production development, which is great news. Kotlin/Native is known for balancing between safety and access through constraints. This is how the runtime verifies the concurrent access is safe.

The language has shown a good maturity level and even before its official public release, it’s been used by app development companies. Plus, many reputable companies across different industries used Kotlin for their app development. From Pinterest and Coursera to Trello and Evernote – there are plenty of great examples and success stories.

5. Flexibility And Great Coding Experience

Another great thing about Kotlin is that it provides developers with the freedom to work in their chosen style. It is a highly flexible language that has both object-oriented and functional constructs. Developers can choose the style they like or even mix different styles for the best coding experience. Just a reminder – Kotlin has first-class support. This makes the coding experience even better.

Another advantage of Kotlin as a programming language lies in the fact it solves real-time issues during the coding process. We already mentioned there are no Null Pointer Exceptions, which means Kotlin has managed to tackle an entire class of errors.

When it comes to tools on the JVM side, the main build tools that support Kotlin include Maven, Kobalt, Ant, and Gradle. All in all, Kotlin makes a lot of things simpler.