Kotlin Is Officially Joining The Android's Family, In Addition To Java And C++

Kotlin logo

Java is a general-purpose computer programming language. Designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible, it's popularity cannot be overstated.

But the main thing about Java in the fast-paced mobile-first world, is that the programming language was built in 1995 when the internet was young and mobile devices were big and "heavy as bricks". Android as the most popular mobile operating system has used Java for a long time, but never really see it as a great match.

This is one of the reasons why Apple's iOS had been working with mobile-first languages, such as Swift, to aid developers in creating apps.

As for Google, in order to support and use a modern and powerful languages, it chooses Kotlin, a statically-typed programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that can be compiled to JavaScript source code. Google made Kotlin its third official Android programming language, after C++ and Java.

Unlike Swift, which is now open source but started as an in-house project by Apple, Kotlin started out as a third-party language.

Kotlin should appeal all programmers who use a garbage collected runtime, including those who use Scala, Go, Python, Ruby and JavaScript. And because it can use all existing Java frameworks and libraries, Kotlin costs nothing to adopt.

Kotlin was written by the Russian Java developer company JetBrains in 2011. The idea for Kotlin was due to the limitation the developers found in Java; seeing how little chances it has for improvements.

After looking to a lot of Java code base and had no desire to port it to another language, the developers looked at some existing JVM languages. But still they didn't see them fit.

JetBrains then created their own Java-compatible language by borrowing many features from other JVM languages. Rather than inventing a new language from scratch, Kotlin isn't revolutionary. However, it was proven popular by many.

Google has a long relationship with JetBrains. Their partnership can be seen from products like Android Studio. The official integrated development environment (IDE) for the Android platform is based on JetBrains' IDE. So it's not a big surprise that on 17 May 2017 at Google's I/O, the company announced that it would deliver support for Kotlin.

Google starts delivering Kotlin in Android Studio 3.0, shipping it with the programming language out of the box.

For Android developers, "support is a chance to use a modern and powerful language, helping solve common headaches such as runtime exceptions and source code verbosity," said JetBrains' CEO Maxim Shafirov. "Kotlin is easy to get started with and can be gradually introduced into existing projects, which means that your existing skills and technology investments are preserved."

"Android developers [will] no longer need to install any extras or worry about compatibility," Shafirov added. "It also means that moving forward, you can rest assured that both JetBrains and Google will be supporting Android development in Kotlin."