Java is considered to be the heart of the Android operating system, and so, for every Android developer, there is hardly any alternative than Java. Well, at last, a superb alternative to Java has appeared with a lot of value packed within. Kotlin is a programming language that comes as a better and more effective alternative to Java for Android development.
At this moment even, the Android community is abuzz with the discussion on Kotlin. This is precisely why we are going to explain the five key features of Kotlin.
Kotlin Advantages Over Java
Kotlin, being designed and developed by JetBrains, has arrived to address a whole array of shortcomings of Java. While Java will not fade away into the thin air so soon, Kotlin will continue to dominate the Android development space in the time to come.
Let us have a look at the key areas where Kotlin offers a lot more than Java.
- Kotlin comes with an array of tools and frameworks that work with Java.
- Kotlin, as a programming language, is more clear and concise than Java.
- Kotlin compared to Java helps reduce code and helps minimize errors.
- Kotlin, unlike Java, comes loaded with an advanced compiler that can check errors at compile time and runtime.
Kotlin is a programming language with a really low learning curve. Moreover, it helps a developer building an application with a minimum volume of code. In terms of both learning and grasping the language and coding an app, Kotlin helps to do things faster.
It reduced the length of the code lines to a minimum. With the code length being at least one-fifth less compared to Java, Kotlin offers far better chances of producing higher quality applications.
2. Null Safety in Kotlin
The null safety feature is one of the key beneficial aspects of Kotlin that every Android developer will find helpful. While coding with the Java programming language, every Java developer has to deal with the
NullPointerException a lot of times. While this particular element helps to test the software quality, it actually pulls down the development speed and efficiency to a great extent.
The prevention implemented by this makes things complicated in the run-time of the application, and developers always like to do away with this when compiling the code. In the case of Java, no information on the null-safety is provided at all.
This is exactly where this Kotlin feature can bring a lot of benefits. Kotlin brings the null safety feature for Java developers only at the early stage during initiation. At this point in time, whether the values can be assigned to the null factor or not is mentioned to the developer. With Kotlin, the compiler provides the null safety that brings down the risk of facing run-time Null Point Exceptions for the developers.
3. Lazy-Loading Feature
Faster loading speed is one of the most crucial criteria for any quality app now. The lazy loading feature offered by Kotlin actually takes care of this. When you use Kotlin for Android development, this feature will help you minimize the startup time for the app. This feature actually loads the initial content faster to reduce startup time while slowly loading other less necessary elements and contents down the page.
Thanks to this lazy-loading feature, the Android developers working with Kotlin can just give priority to the primary resources and keep them in main memory to ensure faster loading while keeping others or secondary resources in secondary memories.
4. Extension Functions
The extension functions, which are also called the Standard Library Functions by Kotlin developers, is a key feature that can help developers in many ways. While programming with Kotlin, functions that are basic parts of an object-oriented language can be rendered as extensions as well.
While Java only allows developers to incorporate a new function within a prevailing class, the class that is further expanding can be problematic for developers to access ready-to-use parts. In contrast, Kotlin allows us to use these functions as extensions. This helps to add new functions smoothly to the existing classes. This extension function feature apart, the Standard Library of Kotlin also provides a robust choice of standard functions.
5. Collections and Streams
If you are a Java developer, you must have an idea of processing object collection that always make an irreplaceable part of the Java app development process. This happens because Java objects get translated to a variety of presented elements through this process. This often causes a parallel stream of translated objects, resulting in the slowing down of the entire application.
Kotlin, as an advanced programming language, tackles this with immutable collections. Here, rich functional APIs will automatically return as the collections are characterized by the identical functionality.
In spite of so many advanced features and advantages over Java, Kotlin can be used by Android developers alongside Java as well. This interoperability with Java and low learning curve has made Kotlin an unbeatable choice for Android developers.
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Originally published by Atman Rathod at https://dzone.com