Kotlin Gains A Foundation and A Portal
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 08 October 2018

During his opening keynote at KotlinConf 2018, Andrey Breslav, Kotlin's lead language designer, announced the formation, jointly by JetBrains and Google, of the Kotlin Foundation. A new Kotlin portal on the Google Cloud has also been launched.

kotlionbanner

Kotlin is the open source language originated by JetBrains and promoted by Google as a first class language for Android to replace or supplement Java. A request for a Kotlin Foundation to own Kotlin assets and evolve the language was initially made over two years ago and this has now been satisfied in an initiative between JetBrains and Google with: 

the mission to protect, promote and advance the development of the Kotlin programming language. The Foundation secures Kotlin's development and distribution as Free Software, meaning that it is able to be freely copied, modified and redistributed, including modifications to the official versions.

With regard to development the Kotlin Foundation states:

The code for the project is developed openly on GitHub primarily by the team employed at JetBrains, with contributions from Google and others. The Foundation has no developers on its payroll. The respective contributors hold the copyright for the code they author. 

It lists the main functions of the Kotlin Foundation as:

    • Holding the trademarks associated with the project
    • Appointing the Lead Language Designer
    • Controlling incompatible changes to the language

The selection of a Lead Language Designer is key to the future success of the project and this role goes, as would properly be expected, to JetBrains Andrey Breslav, who is also President of the Foundation and a member of its Board of Directors. The three-person Language Committee, responsible for reviewing changes to the language and with the power to reject incompatible changes is made up of  Andrey Breslav, Jeffrey van Gogh (Google) and William R. Cook of the University of Texas who is also part of the five-person Board of Directors along with Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson (Google), Anwar Ghuloum (Google) and Maxim Shafirov (JetBrains). The Foundation's Secretary, elected by the Board of Directors is Google's James Lau, to maintain the Google/JetBrains balance in the foundation.

Google's commitment to Kotlin was also demonstrated, and strengthened, by a dedicated Kotlin portal on the Google Cloud Platform, including an official Quickstart guide, API examples, and community-created tutorials. 

kotlinportal

During the keynote Breslav shared facts and figures about Kotlin's growing popularity including the rise in demand for Kotlin in jobs posting on Dice:

kotlinjobs

It seems that Kotlin's success has taken Breslav himself by surprise. His initial expectations were that perhaps 100K users would adopt it but so far this year 1.5 million developers have done something using it and its growth over three years is indeed exponential.

koltinusers

Other stats include 96,000 GitHub repositories containing 100,000,000 lines of code and the facts that one in four of the top 1000 Android apps uses Kotlin and that the total number of Android apps using Kotin has quadrupled since last year.Much of the KotlinConf 2018 opening keynote was devoted to the forthcoming Kotlin 1.3 which we will report on once it is released. If you can't wait, watch the recording:

  • Mike James is the author of The Programmer's Guide To Kotlin (I/O Press) and Android Programming in Kotlin: Starting With An App (I/O Press)

 

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More Information

Kotlin Foundation

Kotlin on the Google Cloud on the Google Cloud Platform

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Kotlin - another Java alternative?

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