For Android developers, learning Kotlin is no more a question of “if.” It’s now a question of “when.” And the answer needs to be: at the earliest! The word about Kotlin has spread remarkably quickly. It has prompted a dramatic surge in demands for Kotlin app development services across industries. Also, an increasing number of app artisans are enthusiastic about this language that “makes developers happier”.
Kotlin has recently released a host of updates that makes it even better. For instance, the Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile enables you to write, run, and debug the shared code in the same IDE. It’s likely to change the way you look at cross-platform and native mobile app development projects. So, without any further ado, let dive into the discussion about the benefits of learning Kotlin.
Android Development with Kotlin
Google announced support for Kotlin at its I/O 2017 annual conference. Two years later, the tech behemoth said at I/O 2019 that Android development would be increasingly Kotlin-first. That’s precisely the point in time when Kotlin started to see a dramatic surge in usage. Below are some of the reasons that make a compelling case for proponents of the language.
Google has added best-in-class support for Kotlin Coroutines to an array of Android Jetpack APIs. These include such APIs as Room, LiveData, WorkManager, and View Model, among others. All these help re-imagine the way you do a sync operations for Android development. Besides, the Firebase Android SDK and several other Jetpack libraries now provide Kotlin extension libraries(KTX). It makes the libraries more seamless with Kotlin.
And that’s not all! Many other Android libraries, like Paging 3.0 and Data Store, are now Kotlin-first. Additionally, the new Jetpack Compose declarative UI toolkit is built in Kotlin. We explained in an earlier blog post how the UI framework enables you to build UIs for Windows 10, macOS, and Linux.
Whether it’s native mobile app development or cross-platform apps, a lot depends on the kinds of tools you use. Android has made a flurry of improvements to make Kotlin compilation tools better. These enhancements cover the Kotlin JVM compiler and Kotlin-specific R8 optimizations, among others. Besides, Android has even added new tools like Kotlin Symbol Processing to make you more productive.
Android developers now also have access to built-in Android Kotlin Live templates. It lets you use shorthand to add common Android constructs to your Kotlin apps.
Google’s Push to Expand Kotlin Support
Google is internally ramping up the Kotlin framework. Google Home, Drive, Maps, and several other platforms have already added Kotlin support to their codebase. Google’s internal codebase, in fact, has more than two million lines of Kotlin code. That’s a lot of code!
Migrating Your App to Kotlin
With so much happening on the framework, migrating your app to Kotlin may yield great benefits. Moving your app to Kotlin means you can exploit a swarm of cutting-edge capabilities. Be it the latest Jetpack APIs or building desktop UIs, Kotlin makes you a more efficient developer. Another critical advantage of Kotlin is its interoperability with Java.
That means you can take small incremental steps toward migrating your app to Kotlin. You could try migrating first on tests and new features. Then once you’re more familiar with the framework, migrate the entire app to Kotlin. Whether you work with an Android app development company or as a freelancer, learning these skills propels your career.
Kotlin vs. Java
When compared with Java, Kotlin’s growing dominance seems unrealistic, right? Java has been around for a long time. And initially, some developers thought Kotlin is too young to qualify for a competition with Java. But they’re being proven wrong.
Kotlin apps have reported substantial growth in the Play Store. Even leading companies like Uber, Evernote, and Pinterest have moved to Kotlin. And this buzz is prompting a surge in Kotlin’s recognition among app makers and tech companies alike.
As mentioned earlier in this post, Kotlin has 100% interoperability with Java. You can naturally use the existing Java code to build Kotlin apps. The interoperability, combined with other advanced features, makes Kotlin popular in the developers’ community as what they call ‘better Java’.
Tips to Efficiently Learn Kotlin
Below are some tried-and-tested ways to learn Kotlin. These are based on tips from the official developers of Android.
• Start learning with the training courses that address the needs of developers of all levels — from beginners to pros. You could choose courses like the Android Basics in Kotlin.
• You can compare how the Android APIs work in both Kotlin and Java using the documentation pages. Android documentation provides Kotlin code snippets.
• You can check Google’s official blogs on Kotlin. We, too, regularly publish blogs on Kotlin comprising the latest pieces of info.
• Finally, follow tech-savvy Android developers and platforms on social media and the web to stay informed.
Acquiring mastery in a language as dynamic as Kotlin is not a walk in the park. Even if you’re an experienced developer, you need to put in careful efforts. And that’s worth it. Adding an increasingly popular language to your skillset will likely boost your career. Here at Android Developer, we are enthusiastic about honing our Kotlin skills. We’re using the language in several ongoing projects. If you’re a businessperson, you could hire mobile app developers to make Kotlin-powered apps. Follow our blogs to stay updated about all things Android.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is Kotlin better than Java?
Q. What is Jetpack Compose for Desktop?
Jetpack Compose for Desktop is Android’s modern toolkit for building native user interfaces. It simplifies UI development for Android app developers. Compose enables you to quickly make an app with less code, powerful tools, and Kotlin APIs.
Q. What is interoperability programming?
The interoperability of programming languages is the ability for two or more languages to interact as part of the same system. Frequently, this means passing messages and data between potentially very different languages.
Q. How much does it cost to build a Kotlin-based Android app?
The costs of developing a Kotlin-based Android app depend on several factors. Design complexity, development time, type of features, etc., play a critical role in calculating the costs. We build impeccable Kotlin apps at a competitive price.