Both Java and Kotlin are renowned programming languages with their benefits and drawbacks. Before Kotlin, Android developers were comfortable with Java, but now, there is quite a dilemma - which is better? Should you learn Java and then change to Kotlin? Can you do it otherwise? Let’s dive in a little deeper to understand which one is more suitable and easier.
Kotlin vs Java: which is easy to learn
In general, a programming language is formally constructed for sending instructions to a computer. They are used to create programs that control the behavior of a machine or to express algorithms.
Java is a versatile, object-oriented, high-level PL with numerous features that make it an attractive choice for developers.
Kotlin is a general-purpose, open-source, statically-typed PL initially designed for the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and Android that combines object-oriented and functional programming features.
To understand which is easier to learn we need to settle some main differences and similarities first, to get the concept of both.
Java vs Kotlin: Performance and Syntax
As you have already noticed, there are some similarities between both languages:
- Both Java and Kotlin use object-oriented programming.
- For both the compiled bytecode gets executed by JVM.
- Kotlin and Java have similar programming syntax, though they are not exactly the same. Still, a Java developer can understand Kotlin code without any hassle.
Despite the parallel, the differences are more salient between Java and Kotlin. They will give you a better concept about each. Here are the outlined key peculiarities from both:
- Coding. Java has more coding processes than Kotlin, therefore, a developer can spend less time thinking of a solution. However, Kotlin has more laconic constructions, which allows a developer to type fewer lines of codes.
- Null Safety. In Kotlin it’s not possible to attribute null values to variables/objects by default, while in Java it’s part of the language.
- Data classes. Kotlin provides a more simple way to define data classes by simply adding “data” to the class definition. In Java, you need to establish the variables to store the data, the constructor, and the getter and setter functions for the fields/variables, including other functions, like the hashCode(), equals(), and toString().
- Functional Programming. Java is more limited to the object-oriented programming, compared to Kotlin, which is a mix of functional and object-oriented programming. Kotlin can use lambda expressions and high-order functions.
- Public Fields/Non-private Fields. Kotlin doesn’t have public fields, Java has them.
- Checked Exceptions. In Java developers have the checked exceptions support. In Kotlin developers don’t have that function, that’s why in Kotlin you don’t require catching or declare exceptions.
- Coroutine Support. Kotlin provides coroutines support. Coroutines are stackless and allow the developer to write code, suspend the execution and later resume it again. Java simply enables the creation of multiple background threads when handling lengthy operations.
Kotlin vs Java: Android
In this day and age, Android applications have really integrated into the programming world. Many are based on Kotlin, many on Java. Many, for Android specifically, find Kotlin more functional with its extra features. The main factors in it are Kotlin’s concise syntax, type inference, explicit nullability, and extensive standard library. Plus, due to Kotlin’s Coroutines tool, it’s easier to work with multi-threaded apps. However, Kotlin compiles and executes a little slower than Java, which is mainly due to its extensive number of features.
Above all, based on programmers’ opinion, if you are choosing Android development for your programmer’s career, then go with Kotlin as it’s basically designed as an Android developing language. It’s easier and faster to learn Kotlin. Java is a universal programming language, it’s an ideal choice for big data, ecommerce, and enterprise systems. It’s more suitable for when one hasn’t decided which branch of programming to choose. So, if you want to learn a general programming language first to find out your niche, then Java it is.