Kotlin vs Groovy: A Consequent and in-Depth Comparison in 2021
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Kotlin vs Groovy: A Consequent & In-Depth Comparison In 2021

Sitaram Sharma By Sitaram Sharma | February 15, 2021
kotlin vs groovy

The humankind of the 21st century is actively enclosed with the modern technologies out of which the internet is a little overwhelming. However, when we attentively consider the dramatic ways technology has improved over the past decade, the first thing that comes to our mind is the mobile apps. Not only for individual users but for businesses as well, these two elements – the internet and apps, have been substantially revolutionizing things in the industry ever since it has been unfolded to the people. 

The ever-evolving technologies have presented unique opportunities for app developers and everyone who belongs to the allied businesses. What’s more, it would be unwise of enterprises to overlook the growing demand for websites and applications and not grabbing the chance to take possession of the modern marketplace to stand head and shoulders above their competitors. 

Over the years, the website and apps have become an apparent reason or rather an avenue for businesses that could help them reach a potential group of audiences. While the product owner seeks the help of developers to be mindful of tech trends and get an app build that puts other leading apps in the shade, choosing the best programming paradigm for the project is what often leaves these app development companies in quandary.

App development is a complex process and that is why a team of skilled developers form an alliance to execute the project as per the client’s requirement so the aim of the owner, that is to make it simpler and more efficient for their customers to reach out to them and find about their offerings, can be fulfilled. There are many things that need to be taken care of when it comes to developing an app such as coding language, platform, tech-stack, etc. 

However, if you are clear with your requirements, it is not that difficult as it seems. Though there are many programming languages that have turned up as developers’ favorite, Kotlin and Groovy seem to be getting much attention and additional preference out of all across the globe.

In this comparison guide of Kotlin vs Groovy, we will get a deep understanding of both the programming languages and in what terms they are vying against each other.

An Overview of Programming Language

Before making our way across getting the hold of Kotlin and Groovy, let’s take a peek into the programming language. Creativity can go a long way in the world of computer programming and coding. And programming languages are professed to be one of the integral parts of app design and web layouts. But what exactly is a programming language? Is there any definition to go by? As understood by the term itself, the programming language is the language of machines and computers that humans learn in order to talk to the machines. 

In other ways, developers use programming languages to develop software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions for computers that are further executed in the form of an application or technical tool. There are top programming languages for various types of development. The coders are required to master the skills in specific programming languages to become the expert and customize solutions as per the business needs.

What Is Kotlin?

Kotlin, by many programmers, is claimed to be one of the modern, concise and safe programming languages. However, in general, Kotlin is an open-source statically typed programming language that targets the JVM. It was created by JetBrains in 2011. Kotlin did not gain much attention among developers until Google announced its support in 2017. 

Just like most of the Java-compatible programming languages, Kotlin is user-friendly and has intuitive syntax. Now Kotlin is regarded as the official Android language. Many developers label Kotlin as a great replacement for Java as it is interoperable with Java code and libraries. The reason why developers believe it to be the next big thing in a programming language is that it has an easy syntax that can be learned by simply reading the language reference.

companies that use kotlin

Four Reasons That Make Kotlin A Favored Choice To Developers

  • Requires fewer lines of coding – Kotlin allows developers to reduce code sizes which eventually leads to a reduction of errors and lowering maintenance costs. Programmers want to summarize the project in a fewer line of coding and Kotlin, being concise, simplifies a developer’s job.
  • Interoperable with Java – Do you know that Kotlin is unconditionally interoperable with Java? But what does this compatibility between Kotlin and Java actually mean? So whenever two java and Kotlin files come to be in existence together they can distribute data with each other without contradicting each other’s theories.
  • No runtime overhead – Most of the functions of Kotlin are in-line in which the advanced compiler creates a great impact on functions as it consists of more optional parameters. Moreover, Kotlin enhances the Java library with the extensions and imposes no runtime overhead on applications.
  • Conversely compatible and reliable –  All binaries of Kotlin are backward compatible with their own versions. Kotlin has kept the programming language modern all these years and it is possible because of how it has shown a pragmatic approach to sync well with the compatible changes.

Also read – Java vs Kotlin: Which one to choose for Android App Development?

What Is Groovy?

Groovy, sometimes also known as Apache Groovy, is an object-oriented dynamic programming language for Java virtual machine (JVM). Compatible with the Java environment, Groovy is used as a scripting language that supports functional programming as well. Groovy offers advanced programming concepts that provide greater flexibility and introduces special features to applications. (Also read – Groovy Vs Scala).

One of the best features Groovy holds is that it is a statically typed language that is useful in doing type checking at compile-time. Groovy is syntactically similar to Java and can easily be integrated with existing Java code for better usability. The reason for it becoming the go-to language for programmers is because it takes the existing Java concepts and builds upon them which becomes easier for developers as most of them have been friendly with Java.

companies that use groovy

Four Reasons Why Programmers Adore Groovy

  • Dynamic and runtime in nature – Since Groovy supports statically typed language, its dynamic nature enforces changing types at runtime. Groovy has most of the features integrated into the Java type system which includes class fields and methods across all instances. The Java class is immutable when compiled to byte code and thus Groovy, in order to implement the layer, has to make an indirection feature to the work.
  • Short learning curve – If we consider the easiest programming languages, the list will not be completed without naming Groovy. It becomes easier for developers to create web-applications for users using Groovy as it focuses on simplicity and productivity. What’s interesting is that Groovy requires the least amount of complexity which is what makes the language simple to learn for developers.
  • Makes automated testing simpler – Though java space has countless tools and frameworks that can be used for testing our software, putting Groovy to use brings lots of benefits to developers. With Groovy, programmers can automate testing and catch the problems in the right way. Groovy has the right set of testing libraries and frameworks which sometimes require a range of mocking and stubbing alternatives for testing.
  • Allows direct syntax – When it comes to understanding the programming language, there goes the structure of the symbols, punctuation, and words in whole. Since every programming has a different set of orders that has to be understood by developers, the syntax of Groovy is somehow straightforward and instructional as compared to others. Being a Java enhancer, Groovy uses Java-like improved syntax.

So far we have understood that Kotlin and Groovy both are new-age JVM-based programming languages preferred by modern programmers. While some will leverage the advantages of building an app using Kotlin, some will cherish the functionalities of Groovy. But the long-haul debate of Kotlin vs Groovy and choosing the best programming language for your app development project is still on with lots of other factors to give thought to.

Check this post – What Are the Best Languages for Web Application Development in 2021?

Kotlin vs Groovy: Ultimate Battle Royale

what makes one better than other

The majority of the product owners and developers would give the statement that developing a sophisticated app requires a more advanced language a hearty nod. Though there are various hot programming languages in the market which are versatile, efficient, and have automation capabilities, when it comes to settling upon a decision of choosing the best programming language for app development, a developer often seems bemused. 

Since both Kotlin and Groovy have a practical mix of features from Java and other languages, most of the functionalities and capabilities of both languages are coeval to the friendliness of Java. However, even after having lots of common traits, the compilation of Kotlin and Groovy is what set both of them apart. Groovy and Kotlin are both open-source tools. While Kotlin is the language for android app development, Groovy can be used by developers for scripting purposes.

Running a major difference between Kotlin and Groovy is quite challenging as both of them are unique in their way and have adherence to widely accepted principles and philosophies. However, they both have plenty of differences that steer some coders towards Kotlin and others towards Groovy. By leading the Kotlin vs Groovy guide further, let’s explore some elements based on which they can be differentiated.

Coding Parameters

You will be amazed to know that Kotlin is not a programming language of its own. Actually, it is just another medium for developers that uses Java to create code. Since Java has been the crowned head programming language among developers, the majority of the new-age programming language impersonates the functionalities of Java out of which Kotlin is one such language. Kotlin uses the “fun” keyword to describe the functionality in which the coding parameters are described using Pascal notation. Read the post – Java vs Kotlin to get a deeper understanding.

On the other hand, Groovy is an agile and dynamic language as described earlier in this article. It won’t be wrong to tout it as a scripting language for all the Java platforms. Having features similar to Python, Ruby, and Smalltalk, the code parameters used by Groovy are compiled to Java bytecode. Although, this object-oriented programming language is more concise and meaningful than Java. Therefore, if we have to decide between Kotlin vs Groovy performance in terms of coding parameters, both of them are at the same degree of being best.

Salient Features

Gone are the days when there was only one language to build android apps, Kotlin and Groovy have now occupied a wide space. JVM, which stands for Java Virtual Machine, is the most strongly supported language in the Android ecosystem, and propitiously both Kotlin and Groovy support JVM. Coming to terms with the feature of Kotlin, this programming language takes a pragmatic approach with prominent features that go in favor of developers more often. 

Whether it is about being operable to Java or the elimination of Null Pointer Exceptions (NPE), Kotlin takes the cake. On the flip side, Groovy is supported by a broad range of frameworks that, as believed by many programmers, boost productivity. The multimethod and metaprogramming enable developers to utilize strong types of systems. With that said, the metaprogramming element also touches the Kotlin vs Groovy DSL factor which gives the idea to programmers to use the code in the context of a particular domain.

Learning Curve

Though both the programming language Kotlin and Groovy have an easy learning curve, I can’t rest my case based on that only. When Java started losing its grasp from the developers, Kotlin and Groovy got their hands on the app development market. When Kotlin was introduced in 2016, it was labeled as an alternative to the standard Java compiler, however, it, later on, became the official android language when Google announced its support for the language. 

The reason why Kotlin is considered by app developers for any project is because it requires fewer lines of code to inherently concise programming language. Oppositely, Groovy’s learning curve is small and compiled which is what makes this language easier than others in the market for developers. Cut to the short, those who have hands-on experience in Java will not be having any problem in getting started with Kotlin or Groovy.

Ecosystem

An ecosystem in the context of software and programming might be difficult for some to understand, however, those who even have a decent knowledge of software systems and the environment will be able to grasp it quickly. So a software ecosystem denotes everything that makes a software project workable and syncs to go in production which involves language, syntax, scripting, and an open-source community. 

The language libraries and logical programming of Kotlin had left a big influence on the developers. Other than that, Groovy with fine data class and static code consumption is leading the way to becoming the best dynamic language in the programming world. Both Kotlin and Groovy provide a vibrant and rich ecosystem. While Groovy features asynchronous code, concurrency, and parallelism Kotlin have libraries and test frameworks.

Performance Time

AS we carry on with the difference between Kotlin and Groovy, the performance time of the languages seems like an integral component to run a comparison upon. Kotlin is based on Java so is Groovy. However, the code style settings offered for Kotlin by the company are significantly limited in comparison to Java. On the contrary, the technical responses of both the programming language are decent. 

Groovy comes with Java-like syntax which is flexible while Kotlin is accomplished with fewer lines of code. The major reason developers choose Kotlin is it is fast, compatible, modern, and safe while in the case of Groovy, most programmers show their preference is due to Groovy is dynamic and very similar to Java. The meat of the matter is Kotlin’s performance is similar to Java but Groovy is somehow slower than Java as well as Kotlin.

Also read – Latest Mobile App Development Technologies for Startups 2021 

Kotlin vs Groovy: Make The Right Choice

Conclusively, the conclusive decision of choosing the programming language for app development between Kotlin vs Groovy depends upon the nature and objective of the application. After a lot of consideration and examining every differentiation point, we have reached a decision that Kotlin has Google compatibility and is more concise than Java. 

Hence, it is better for code maintainability or readability. However, Groovy adopting the same features like Java does the test case writing well comparatively. But still, the best thing about both these programming languages is they are interoperable with Java which is why it is safer and more reliable to write code with Kotlin and Groovy.

Sitaram Sharma
Sitaram Sharma

Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect of Appventurez. A software professional who is highly experienced in Android, Flutter, React Native. He is a passionate developer with excellent programming skill who believes in bridging the technology gap and making the life of a large number of people much easier through his wide knowledge and experience.

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