You have read the opinions, haven’t you? You have probably heard about it in the grapevine and are trying to understand which side gives sufficient points in this debate.
Perhaps, the research rabbit hole has led you to this article, or at least I assume that’s why you are here. Now, let’s clear that out, shall we?
Do You Need to Have a Background in Java?
First, a short story. I will keep it brief, I promise! I initially learned about Java as a course on campus, and at the time, the language had no impact on me, and if there was any, they were negligible.
However, when I started learning Android Development, Java was all we had, and since the quick brush I had with it did not turn out to be helpful, I started self-paced learning of the language from scratch using the official documentation.
I understood most of it with time, but luck was playing games with me because just when I was comfortable enough with Java, there came Kotlin.
In 2017, Kotlin became the additional supported language for Android Development. It was an unwelcome change because I thought it was yet another long and tedious journey of learning a skill that would do something similar to what I was already good at.
Eventually, I came around to start learning it via the official site that was and still is an invaluable tool for developers transitioning from Java.
I worked with it and made some discoveries through the journey, and I can tell you, I understand why some people advise that you need to start with Java because my Java knowledge made learning Kotlin all easier for me.
However, if you wish to skip the Java part and start with Kotlin, go ahead because you have the following reasons to back you up.
1. With Kotlin, You Get Platform and Libraries in Good Time
Google encourages new developers to settle for Android in Kotlin. Since 2019, it has ensured that novel platform features and libraries for Android development are usable in Kotlin first. It also collaborates actively with JetBrains to promote the growth of Kotlin.
2. Kotlin Is Concise
For those with a Java background like myself, it goes without question that Kotlin lets you write code with fewer lines of code than you would with Java. A Kotlin Data class automatically generates getters, setters, equals(), hashCode(), toString(), and copy(), unlike a Java class that would include all of those as lines of code. It also reduces boilerplate code.
Kotlin coroutines improve background task management for asynchronous Android Development. If you are creating an app that needs database and networking functionalities, Kotlin Coroutines helps you deliver on both the operation and performance. It guarantees that long-running tasks like downloading data from the internet are managed correctly.
4. Get Null Safety
Kotlin has features that make Android Development robust. For instance, an attribute like the elimination of NullPointerExceptions results in reduced crashes in an app. The designers of Kotlin made strategic decisions to aid developers in creating robust code.
If you are from a Java background, you do not have to learn new libraries for working with Kotlin because it is interoperable with Java. As it is, Android studio has tools that translate Java into Kotlin code.
Kotlin Is the Better Choice
In my professional opinion, Kotlin trumps Java, especially for posterity in Android Development. Investing in the former would be worthwhile if you’re starting out on Android given the 5 benefits we’ve outlined above.
To learn more on how to get started with Kotlin, watch my video below.