Java is the most popular language used for Android App development. It has a huge influence on the development world. But after Google announced Kotlin as the official programming language for Android, Kotlin has gained huge popularity. Big brands like Netflix, Amazon, Pinterest has also adapted Kotlin. Despite all that, Java still retains it's number one position in Android development market. Now, let's compare both of them and find which one is best for Android development.
We will be comparing them on the basis of following criteria:
- Learning Curve
- Market Situation
- Community Support
- Performance and compile time
- Adoption Cost
The answer depends heavily on your level of experience with programming. Those with none are much more likely to find java easier to learn because of the depth of well-established resources for educating oneself in not only the syntax but also the basics of programming. Even if you have a wide range of experience with programming/software development, java will most likely be easier to pick up as it is heavily object-oriented, has a C style syntax, and once again has a seemingly unlimited amount of resources about learning the language.
But the learning curve of Kotlin is steep if you are a beginner. Also, for an experienced Java developer, it will take only a few hours to learn Kotlin.
Java has been the number one Android development language for a really long time. As of July 2019, Java has maintained its number one spot compared to last year. On the other hand, Kotlin which is a quite young language has made it to the top 50 rankings. It is currently on 43rd position and quickly escalating its way to the top. Kotlin is gaining popularity quickly as big brands like Netflix, Amazon, Google, Uber, Twitter have declared their conversion to Kotlin.
Since Java is an old language, it has large community support and you can really benefit from it. On the other hand, Kotlin is a new language, therefore it has comparatively small community support but it is growing quickly.
Performance and Compile time
JetBrains- who designed Kotlin claims that their apps are as fast as Java due to similar bytecode structure. But there are many tests that proof that for clean builds Java code is almost 10-15% faster than Kotlin. On the contrary, for incremental compilation, Kotlin is as fast as Java. High compilation time means less unproductive time for the programmer.
Kotlin has an easier syntax. It is a lot like Scala but more simple. Kotlin provides null pointer safety, low adoption cost and versatile. Also, you don't have to write a semicolon after every line of code which is a great relief for most programmers. Java, on the other hand, doesn't provide null pointer safety.
Both are good but if we have to choose one, we would recommend you to learn Kotlin as it is the future of Android development.