Kotlin vs Java – The Ideal Choice for Your Next Project in 2024
Ritwik Verma Tech Geek
Last Updated on December 29, 2023
Kotlin and Java have observed a significant paradigm shift in web application development trends in the past few years. Product owners who plan on choosing one of the two web application development frameworks Kotlin vs Java, still dwell in the dilemma of choosing one amongst the two in regards to which is better. In this blog post, we have consolidated an indepth comparison of the two languages Java vs Kotlin, to help you decide which is ideal for your web application development.
Table of Contents
Java and Kotlin are object-oriented languages, but both languages have different purposes, as Kotlin is preferred in Android application development. However, Java is more prominent in enterprise-grade web application development. For a better and more in-depth understanding of both these languages, let us look at the two briefly before jumping to our topic of Kotlin vs Java.
What is Kotlin?
Kotlin, is a comparatively new programming language initially introduced in 2011 by JetBrains. Kotlin was designed as a more concise, readable, efficient, and effective alternative to Java. Another core feature that makes Kotlin stand out in the market is its compatibility with the existing Java code. Kotlin has recently gained popularity and is used in companies like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter.
Features of Kotlin
Efficient and Qualitative Code
Analog to Swift
No runtime Overhead
Compiles to JVM Bytecode
Kotlin Compiler has Fail-Fast Approach
Advantages of Kotlin
Disadvantages of Kotlin
Compilation Speed is Slow
Resources not Available
Complex Learning Curve
What is Java?
Java is a programming language created by James Gosling. It is one of the most popular and renowned object-oriented programming languages. Java allows you to build enterprise, desktop, cloud-based, and web-based applications. As it is primarily used in the back-end development of your web application, Java has also secured a significant place among developers in Android application development. Also, Android itself is written in Java language.
Features of Java
Advantages of Java
Simple Learning Curve
Secure and Robust
Disadvantages of Java
Kotlin vs Java Comparison Table
Now that we know What is Java and What is Kotlin. Along with their essential advantages and disadvantages. Let us look at the circumferential difference between Java and Kotlin before we jump onto the in-depth comparison between the two languages.
They are not objects
For server-side and android applications
For enterprise-grade applications and almost all categories of applications
Reduces the Boilerplate Code
Fewer lines of Code
More lines of Code
Comparatively Less Extensive
Possesses the Smart Cast option
Need to identify and perform the casting
Not mandatory to specify the data type explicitly
Specifying the data type explicitly is a mandate
Not possible to assign the null values to either variable or object
Assign Null values to variables but not possible for Objects
No need for catch or declare any exception
Are resolved by try-catch block
Does not support Ternary operator
Supports Ternary operator
It Is a combination of functional and procedural programming
It is not functional programming
File Extensions Supported
It uses extensions like .kt, .kts, and .ktm.
It uses extensions like .java, .class, and .jar.
Kotlin vs Java In-Depth Comparison
Now, we have taken the circumferential overview of the Kotlin vs Java comparison table. Let us jump to the Kotlin vs Java comparison in depth or detail under various heads like Popularity, Type of Programming, NullExceptions, Coroutines, and others.
The first and foremost comparison between the two languages is Java vs Kotlin Popularity. As we know, that Kotlin is not much older in the web application development marketplace, and Java has been ruling this market for so long. So when it comes to Popularity, Kotlin is more than a mile behind Java, which can be realized with the Google Trends graph below.
Taking another example from the StackOverflow Developer Survey 2022, we can observe that Java is the sixth most popular programming language, with 33.27% votes. In contrast, Kotlin lies in the fifteenth position with only 9.16% votes. These statistics are more than enough to justify how far Kotlin is from Java in the Popularity metrics.
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🟠 Functional or Object-Oriented Programming
Another core comparison between Java and Kotlin is that Java is an object-oriented programming language. However, Kotlin possesses the features of both the object-oriented language’s approach and the functional programming features such as the delegates and extension functions.
🟠 Coroutines Support
Kotlin or Java, both programming languages, presents the creation of multiple background threads that allows handling of complex or lengthy operations to avoid complexities in the main thread, whereby the components belonging to the same application run in Android Studio. This becomes a tedious task in the Java programming languages, whereas for Kotlin, it is a simple, straightforward task.
🟠 NullPointer Exception or Null Safety
Java programming language allows attributing a null value to a variable, whereby the variable refers to no object. Therefore, referencing it would ring the NullPointerExceptions. However, in Kotlin, there is an inbuilt null safety, as trying to attribute null values to variables or objects will stop the compiling of code by default.
🟠 Data Classes
In Kotlin vs Java Data Classes comparison, For Java, the product owners or developers must establish or define the fields or variables to store data, the constructor, the getter and setter methods, variables, and a few other functions. However, in Kotlin, creating a data class is more accessible as it requires the keyword ‘data’ in the class definition.
It is an object in Java that mandates the product owners or developers to check the variable type of the variable as per the operation to cast an object. However, in Kotlin, a smart cast feature handles the casting checks and automatically manages the redundant casts.
🟠 Checked Exceptions
Kotlin frees its product owners or developers from the hustle of catching and declaring exceptions, whereas Java mandates this practice. It has a perk that the final code will be more efficient and have a better error-handling ability.
As we know, interoperability is the utility of sharing and using a single code. Kotlin possesses this functionality to excellent efficiency, and JetBrains, while working on the interoperability feature for Kotlin, made sure that it has extensive interoperability with existing Java code. This factor contributes in favor of product owners who wish to migrate their existing projects from Java to Kotlin. And almost the same is the case and vice versa when talking about the interoperability of Java. Hence, we can also present it as using Kotlin with Java.
🟠 Conciseness of Syntax
Java follows the traditional approach of verbosity in writing the code. However, Kotlin, being a modern programming language, applies the principle of conciseness. Kotlin is famous for its brevity or conciseness, which allows you to significantly reduce the boilerplate, resulting in fewer lines of code than required in Java. Therefore, Kotlin is more readable and less prone to human made-errors.
Extension Functions are a part of Kotlin features that allow the development of Android applications, enabling the option to add new functionality to classes without the obligation to inherit from them or see the design pattern like Decorator. Kotlin allows you to extend the functionality of Classes, whereas Java, on the other hand, has no extension functionality.
🟠 Type Inference
Kotlin involves type inference that allows the deduction of data types for specific expressions automatically so that the product owners do not have to declare the type of each variable separately. On the other hand, Java does not allow type inference, so the product owner must specify each variable before the declaration.
🟠 Primitive Data Types
The Primitive Data Types are the type of data to which a variable belongs that help determines the values the variable may contain and the operations that can be performed on it. In total, there are eight types of data types in Java: byte, short, int, long, float, double, boolean, and char. Whereas, for Kotlin, the product owners initiate or start a variable in the Primitive Type, which is considered an object.
🟠 Wildcard Types
Wildcard Types are the question marks used in generic programming that generally represent the unknown type. Java possesses a WildCard feature that is beneficial in certain circumstances like a type of parameter, local variable, or field and also as a return type. However, this is not the case with Kotlin, which possesses no Wildcard Types as it is in Java.
🟠 Implicit Widening Conversions
Implicit Widening is a process of converting data type implicitly. Java offers Implicit Widening Conversions. On the other hand, for Kotlin, you have to do the Implicit Widening explicitly as it does not provide the implicit conversions to cur the precision loss.
🟠 Android Development
Kotlin vs Java for android development is a topic of hot debate among product owners recently; on the one hand, Google claims that Kotlin is the preferred language for Android development services which is the ideal proof to justify the efficiency Kotlin possesses for Android application development. Similarly, on other hand, Java also is ideally suited for creating Android applications.
As it is platform-independent, the Java apps efficiently run on any platform. It also possesses its runtime environment and an API. Hence, whether Kotlin or Java for android, we can collectively infer that for the development of applications on Android Kotlin vs Java is both equally and efficiently capable.
🟠 Kotlin vs Java Code Example
Below is a simple Java vs Kotlin Code Example that would help you better understand. How Java code is different from Kotlin code and vice versa.
Kotlin Code Example
Java Code Example
fun main(args : Array)
public static void main(String args)
The above-given Code Example shows that the Java Code Example is more complex than the Kotlin Code Example. According to an observation, the codes written in Kotlin are approximately 20% shorter than those written in Java.
Kotlin vs Java Use Cases
One of the most common questions is: What is kotlin used for, and What is Java used for? Given below are a few Java vs Kotlin Use Cases which we can refer to understand where both these languages are used in the web application development process.:
Kotlin Use Cases
Server Side Applications
Data Science Applications
Java Use Cases
Financial Sector Server Applications
Desktop GUI Applications
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Companies Using Kotlin vs Java
There is no doubt that Java has a significant user-base and is preferred by a vast majority of product owners and business owners. Therefore, it is also preferred by numerous big organizations as a part of their web application development. Similarly, this is the case with Kotlin. Several companies have entrusted it as a part of their web application development. A few of the most renowned ones are given below for both Java and Kotlin.
Companies Using Kotlin
Companies Using Java
This is what we have for Kotlin vs Java comparison; in this blog post, We have mentioned the various factors that are crucial to help you make a decision and choose one for your next project. Both languages have made a significant mark in the web application market. Though Kotlin seems to be behind, Java still possesses a significant thriving future in the days to come.
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