Kotlin And Android - A Match Made In Google
Written by Mike James   
Friday, 19 August 2022

It is over five years since Google adopted Kotlin as a first class language for Android. Two years later Kotlin became the preferred language for writing Android apps and Google hopes that eventually all Android developers will switch over to Kotlin.


The announcement that Google was adding Kotlin as a new language for Android development was made at I/O 2017 and, as  this clip, newly posted on YouTube, reminds us, it was enthusiastically received by the developer community.

The reasons that developers were already keen on Kotlin and had been requesting it were its impact on productivity and the fact that it's fun to write applications. The fact that it was fully Android runtime compatible and that you can mix and match Kotlin code with Java code made it easy for developers to make the transition.

The latest Android development tools are Kotlin-only and this has obviously encouraged developers to switch from Java to Kotlin and for developers new to Android to use Kotlin rather than Java and Google’s hope is that over time, all Android developers will switch over to Kotlin. And this seems to be what developers want too In an interview on Techcrunch, James Ward, Google's Product Manager for Kotlin said:

“We know that developers are generally more satisfied with Kotlin than with Java. We know that they’re more productive, the quality of applications is higher and so getting more of those people to move more of their code over has been a focus for us. ... It would be great to get to the point down the road, where just everything is all Kotlin.”

In the blog post celebrating the Google's adoption of Kotlin for Android, Márton Braun also points to wider use of Kotlin by Google developers:

Even though Kotlin is a great fit for Android, it’s a general-purpose language and not solely for use on Android. For teams within Google, Kotlin is now generally available to use for both Android and server-side projects. Thousands of Google engineers are writing Kotlin code, and our internal codebase contains more than 8.5 million lines of Kotlin code.  This number has been increasing rapidly as well, doubling year over year.

Kotlin is often described as "a better Java", which was JetBrains original intention. The reason is that wherever Java has a lot of code to get a job done, Kotlin tries to simplify. It does this not by simple syntax tricks, but by trying to find new abstractions that let the programmer do what they are trying to do without as many hoop to jump through. Of course, this in turn does lead to a simpler syntax which is obviously an improvement. In Can a Language Make You a Better Programmer? Kotlin & Android I summed this up as:

As a Kotlin user I can vouch for the fact that the language does seem to work with you, rather than get in the way.

In the landscape of languages Kotlin can also be described as "fun to use". It is to be hoped that it will be "discovered" more widely by Java programmers and that it's impact on developer productivity and code quality can be appreciated beyond Google. 






More Information

Celebrating 5 years of Kotlin on Android

Ward - Techcrunch

Related Articles

Kotlin - New Language For Android

Android Is Kotlin First

Why Do Android Devs Convert To Kotlin?

Kotlin 1.5 - Mature But Still Growing

Kotlin Gains A Foundation and A Portal

Kotlin Goes Open Source

Can a Language Make You a Better Programmer? Kotlin & Android

Kotlin - New Language For Android

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Last Updated ( Friday, 19 August 2022 )