Java vs Kotlin: Which One to Choose for Android App Development?

Java is known for its stability, reliability, and backward compatibility, whereas Kotlin is considered more modern and developer-friendly.

Updated 20 February 2024

Sitaram
Sitaram

CTO at Appventurez

Android is an open-source platform that helps everyone worldwide to access more information & opportunities than before. Android app development has been on the rise for a while now and the reason can be the platform has taken over as the most popular smartphone operating system in the world. 

The uniqueness and competitive advantage offered by the Android app development are unmatchable. Moreover, its open-source model stimulates innovation, resulting in customization. Business owners often struggle while choosing a suitable programming language for their high-performing mobile app building. 

While talking about Android app development services, two well-known programming languages automatically come into the picture- Java and Kotlin. These languages are widely known for offering excellent functionalities and features and are also widely preferred by developers all over the world. 

In the blog below, we will further explore the key differences between Java vs Kotlin and provide an answer to the frequently asked question- which is the best language to develop an Android app? 

Java vs Kotlin: Difference Between Kotlin and Java

Java and Kotlin are two widely known programming languages used for developing Android applications. Both these languages are quite similar; however, while drawing the comparison between Java vs Kotlin, there are some of the key differences that you should consider. Let’s have a look at them. 

java vs kotlin for android

Popularity

Java:

It is a widely used programming language for numerous purposes primarily including Android app development. Many pre-existing Android applications are built with Java, and it will continue to be a popular choice because of its scalability, performance, and extensive library ecosystem. 

Kotlin:

While understanding the difference between Java vs Kotlin, it should be noted that Kotlin has emerged as a modern programming language to address certain limitations of Java. Kotlin, as a top Android app development frameworks, offers a more concise and expressive syntax along with null safety, better readability, and reduced boilerplate code. This programming language is completely interoperable with Java, which means developers can combine Kotlin and Java code in the same project. 

Overall, Java continues to be widely used, whereas Kotlin has been steadily growing in terms of popularity. The syntax and modern features of Kotlin have made it famous among developers, leading to an increased adoption rate. 

kotlin vs java which is better

Ease of Use

Which language between Kotlin vs Java for Android development is easy to use completely depends on personal preferences, prior experience, and use cases. Let’s find out the reason for the same.

Kotlin:

The syntax of Kotlin is more concise and expressive than Java. As a result, it reduces the boilerplate code, which makes it easier to read and write. Moreover, Kotlin incorporates modern programming languages, like lambda expressions or coroutines. These features make the code more expressive, leading to smoother learning for beginners. 

Java:

That being said while drawing a comparison between Java vs Kotlin, it should be noted that Java also has its strengths, such as a vast ecosystem, active community support, and a mature development environment. Android app for Java programming is used in numerous industries and incorporated with vast libraries and frameworks. 

Ultimately, the ease of use of both languages is subjective and completely depends on the project requirements, team expertise, and ecosystem considerations. 

Scalability

In Java vs Kotlin, both languages are used to develop scalable applications; however, the scalability is also dependent on factors that are not just limited to the language. Let’s discuss the scalability of the two programming languages one by one.

Java:

The programming language has been around for a while now and is widely used by industries of different niches. Java has a mature ecosystem along with a large set of libraries, tools, and frameworks, providing highly scalable applications. The scalability of Java is backed by its strong concurrency and multithreading capabilities. 

Kotlin:

Despite being a newer language than Java, Kotlin has still managed to gain popularity, especially for Android app development. It must have been known by now that Kotlin is interoperable with Java. That means you can use Java libraries and frameworks in Kotlin projects. 

While summarising Java vs Kotlin, it can be said that both programming languages are perfect for developing a scalable application further impacting the Android app development cost. Java has a full-fledged ecosystem, while Kotlin offers modern features compatible with Java. So, the choice between the two entirely depends on your project requirements. 

Community Support

Java:

While drawing the comparison between Java vs Kotlin to choose the language used in Android development, the understanding of community support for both languages becomes crucial. The community of Java is well-established and has enough resources, such as online forums, documentation, tutorials, etc. There are several Java conferences and events globally, where you can connect with all the experienced developers and industry experts. 

Kotlin:

Kotlin may not have a larger community than Java because it is relatively a newer language; however, this programming language has its own set of forums, documentation, and online communities. Here, developers can seek help, share their knowledge, and collaborate. 

In a nutshell, while concluding the community support debate between Java vs Kotlin, it should be denoted that Java has a well-established community, while Kotlin is still expanding. If you are confused between Java or Kotlin for Android, focus on factors, like your project requirements, personal choice, and libraries for each language.

Java vs Kotlin: Which is the Best Language to Develop Android Apps?

Both the programming languages, Java and Kotlin have gained popularity throughout the years because of their high scalability, modern features, active community support, and more. As a result, Java vs Kotlin are excellent choices when choosing Android development language. 

However, if you are looking more specifically at Java vs Kotlin, to choose the best language to develop Android app, then there are certain types of apps where one might provide better results than the other. 

Java is Better For:

  • Large applications that require multiple features and functionalities and need to function across all platforms, such as Windows, iOS, Android, or Linux.
  • Java also has mature libraries that support this type of application development well and provide the integration of features with the latest updates. 

Kotlin is Better For:

  • Android app development with Kotlin is better suited for apps where performance matters a lot, such as those that are required to run smoothly on older Android phones or the ones that are used for photo editing. 
  • In Java vs Kotlin, Kotlin has a more streamlined and efficient design than Java, so it will perform better in these types of situations, particularly when scaling is concerned
  • Kotlin is able to perform these functions while Java cannot because of its use of bytecode which can only compile code for one specific platform at once. 

Java vs Kotlin: What Do We Know About Java? 

Java is a high-level and object-oriented programming language, designed to build and manage Android applications. On average, 63.61% of developers used Java in 2023 which is capable of creating any type of program while also supporting every type of machine and operating system

The programming language has its runtime environment, API, and Java Runtime Environment. Developers can easily modify the program structure while it is running because Java is a dynamic language. Additionally, this programming language offers robust security measures to frameworks like Spring and Spring Boot. 

Advanced Features of Java

Java has some valuable features that have a significant impact on making this language popular. Let’s have a look at those key features. 

Java features

Platform Independence

Java programming app for Android is widely popular for its ‘write once, run anywhere’ principle. That means Java programs can run on any platform or operating system without the need to change codes. It is all possible because of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which interprets the Java bytecode.

Object-Oriented Programming

One of the key features of Java is an object-oriented programming language. It can support the principles of encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. Developers can create modular codes by organizing functionality into classes and objects, facilitating code reusability and maintainability.

Security

This programming language places a strong emphasis on mobile app security. It offers a robust security model incorporated with features such as sandboxing. It isolates suspicious codes and has a strict type-checking system. Consequently, sandboxing prevents common programming errors and vulnerabilities like buffer overflows and memory corruption.

Standard Library

Java comes with a rich set of libraries, known as the Java Standard Library (JSL), providing pre-built classes and methods for common programming tasks. The JSL includes packages for I/O, networking, database connectivity, graphical user interfaces, etc. As a result, the overall development process becomes faster and easier. Having such an enormous library for app development components, Java is also considered one of the best programming languages for web development.

Large and Active Community

Lastly, Java has a vast supportive community of developers globally. The active community of Java developers contributes to providing numerous resources, libraries, frameworks, and support. It offers everything through forums, tutorials, and open-source projects, making it easier for developers to learn, collaborate, and solve problems.

Popular Apps Made with Java

In the debate of Java vs Kotlin, it is important to understand that Java is a versatile programming language used to develop a wide range of mobile applications. Some of the notable apps made by Java include:

java or kotlin for android

Netflix

The client-side application for Netflix is primarily built using JavaScript, and other web technologies. However, Java has a significant role on the server side. Netflix is highly dependent on Java for the backend infrastructure that includes vast catalogs, recommendation algorithms, and content delivery systems.

Spotify

Again, Java is widely used for the backend development of Spotify. It enables Spotify to handle the complexities of managing a massive music library, user profiles, playlists, and recommendations. Java powers the backend services that handle user authentication, content delivery, and music playback. 

LinkedIn

The backend architecture of LinkedIn extensively utilizes Java for its services. Java helps the platform handle the massive scale of data, provides fast and reliable services, and ensures the platform’s security. It enables features such as profile management, job searching, messaging, and content delivery. Spring and Hibernate (Java Frameworks) are also commonly used in LinkedIn’s tech stack. 

Java vs Kotlin: What Do We Know About Kotlin?

Kotlin is an expressive and concise programming language, that reduces common code errors and integrates into pre-existing mobile applications. It aims to be a pragmatic language to interoperates seamlessly with existing Java code and libraries, making Kotlin a popular choice for Android app development. While identifying the difference between Java and Kotlin, it is important to note that the overall market share of Kotlin is 36.16% of apps.

Kotlin provides integrated support for coroutines, which are a powerful tool for writing asynchronous and non-blocking code in a more sequential and readable manner. Moreover, it embraces functional programming concepts, like higher-order functions, immutability, and rich functional operators. The versatility of Kotlin is not just limited to mobile app development. It extends server-side development, web app development, and other application domains. 

Key Features of Kotlin

Kotlin is widely popular among mobile app developers because of its simplicity, conciseness, and robust tooling support. Here are some key features of Kotlin that you must know.

kotlin features

Conciseness and Readability

Conciseness and readability are the two significant Kotlin features that help in reducing the boilerplate code. It results in more concise and readable syntax compared to a language like Java. One of the significant Kotlin advantages is that the programming language has a wide variety of features, like type inference, data classes, and lambda expressions, enabling developers to execute their ideas.

Null Safety

Kotlin has an in-built null safety feature that eliminates the infamous NullPointerException (NPE) errors. It introduces the nullable and non-nullable types, letting developers differentiate between variables that can hold null values. Consequently, developers can catch potential null pointer issues at compile time rather than at runtime.

Functional Programming Support

Kotlin has functional programming concepts along with this, it provides support for higher-order functions, lambda expressions, and function types. By leveraging the advantages of Kotlin, like its functional programming technique, developers can write more concise and expressive code. The approaches include filter, mapping, and reducing to process the collection of data.

Coroutines

Lastly, Kotlin supports Coroutines (lightweight threads), allowing for efficient asynchronous programming. Coroutines simplify code writing by offering a sequential, synchronous programming model. This way, asynchronous tasks, such as network requests, file I/O, or database operations become easy.

Popular Apps Made with Kotlin

Kotlin is widely popular among mobile app developers because of its simplicity, conciseness, and robust tooling support. Here are popular apps made with Kotlin that you must know.

java or kotlin for android

Slack

Slack is made using Kotlin to deliver a seamless messaging experience for teams of all sizes. The programming language provides valuable features such as real-time messaging, file sharing, voice, and video calls.

Tinder

In the Tinder app, with the presence of concise syntax in Kotlin, developers can write clean and readable code with a maintainability feature. It also minimizes the risk of runtime errors and results in enhanced stability of the app. By leveraging the features of Kotlin, Tinder can efficiently handle various tasks, like profile completion, swiping, and more.

Buffer

Buffer is also made using Kotlin, offering a powerful set of features to individuals and entrepreneurs. The interoperability of Kotlin with Java allows Buffer to integrate with built-in Java libraries and frameworks easily. The null safety feature in Kotlin eliminates the likelihood of bugs and ends up improving the overall quality of the app.

Why Should You Choose Appventurez to Develop Your Android App?

Which is the best language to develop an Android app- Java vs Kotlin? Well, both programming languages are best at their places. What matters while picking any one language is your business requirements. 

If you are looking for a language with solid support from Google, then Kotlin may be the best choice, however, if you need speed or want an open-source project with more flexibility, Java may be the right option for you. 

In order to use Java and Kotlin efficiently in Android app development, our expert developers at Appventurez will be the right choice for you. We are a well-established Android app development company that can guide you through the entire process while focusing on your pre-defined business goals. 

As a professional Android app development company, we have provided our expertise in the development of some of the advanced Android apps. Below are some of our successful projects:

  • Amaze Redefining commute experience for the users
  • Gribb – Fleet management modernized through data and telematics

By following the right mobile app development strategy, our professionals can help you build a multi-featured Android app integrated with advanced features and functionalities of both Java and Kotlin, as per the requirements of the project, that will help you attain your business goals and enhance user engagement.

android app for java programming

FAQs

Q. Which language should I choose for Android app development- Java or Kotlin?

Java vs Kotlin, both programming languages are suitable for Android app development. The ultimate choice depends on your project requirements and preferences. 

Q. Can Java and Kotlin be combined in an Android project?

Yes! Java and Kotlin can coexist in Android app development. Kotilin is completely interoperable with Java, letting developers migrate Java code from Kotlin and vice-versa. 

Q. Is Kotlin backward compatible with Java?

Kotlin is interoperable with Java and is designed to be backward compatible. That means Kotlin can use Java libraries effectively. Developers can easily use existing Java libraries, frameworks, and code in Kotlin projects.

Q. Why choose Kotlin over Java?

Kotlin and Java are the programming languages that have some significant differences. However, to answer the question of why Kotlin over Java, it should be understood that while Java is a more established language, with a large community and extensive libraries, Kotlin provides the developers with more modern features and concise syntax, making it an attractive choice for the Android app development.

Q. Will Kotlin replace Java?

It is very unlikely that Kotlin will be able to replace Java for Android app development. The reason can be Java has a very large community of developers and it is also an old programming language that has been used for several projects other than Android development. Millions of developers around the world trust Java for their projects.

Q. How to make an Android app with Java?

While developing an Android app with Java, you can follow the mentioned steps- installing Android Studio, creating a new project, designing the user interface, writing the logic code, adding dependencies and libraries, and running and testing the app.

Q. Does Android support other languages than Java?

Java has been the official language for Android, however, Kotlin has emerged as a popular choice for developers because of its modern features and ease of use. C++ and C# have also emerged as a great choice for the native apps, while Python is useful for scripting and rapid prototyping.

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    Sitaram
    Sitaram

    CTO at Appventurez

    CTO and Co-Founder at Appventurez, Sitaram Sharma has 10+ years of experience in providing world-class digital solutions. As a CTO, he brought his expertise ranging from product enhancements to advanced technological integrations, while focusing on the consistent growth of the team.