How Kotlin is Revolutionizing Android Development

Are you tired of the old and verbose Java syntax? Do you want a modern programming language that is expressive, concise, and powerful? Look no further than Kotlin!

Kotlin is a statically-typed programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It was developed by JetBrains, the makers of the popular IntelliJ IDEA IDE, and was introduced in 2011. Since then, it has gained a lot of popularity among developers, especially in the Android community, due to its ease of use, modern features, and seamless interoperability with Java. In this article, we will explore how Kotlin is revolutionizing the way Android development is done.

Kotlin vs Java

Java is the primary language used for Android development, and has been so for over a decade. However, while Java is a familiar language for many developers, it has some limitations that make it less appealing in today's world of software development. Kotlin, on the other hand, was designed to address these limitations and provide a more modern, pragmatic, and efficient developer experience.

One of the biggest advantages of Kotlin over Java is its concise syntax. Kotlin's syntax is less verbose than Java's, which makes code more readable, and can significantly reduce the number of lines of code required to achieve the same functionality. For example, take a look at this Java code:

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

    private Button myButton;

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

        myButton = findViewById(;
        myButton.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
            public void onClick(View view) {
                Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, "Hello, world!", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();

This code sets up an Android activity that displays a button on the screen, and shows a toast message when the button is clicked. Now let's see how the same functionality can be achieved with Kotlin:

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    private lateinit var myButton: Button

    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {

        myButton = findViewById(
        myButton.setOnClickListener {
            Toast.makeText(this, "Hello, world!", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show()

As you can see, the Kotlin code is much more concise and readable than the Java code. In Kotlin, we can use the lateinit keyword to declare a non-null variable that we will initialize later. Also, instead of using an anonymous class to set the OnClickListener of the button, Kotlin provides a lambda expression that can be used instead, making the code more concise and expressive.

Another advantage of Kotlin is its null safety features. NullPointerExceptions (NPEs) are a common issue in Java, and can be difficult to track down and fix. Kotlin solves this problem by enforcing null safety at compile-time, which means we get more compile-time errors instead of runtime exceptions. This feature not only saves time, but also makes our code more robust and less error-prone.

Kotlin also provides a lot of other useful features that make Android development more efficient, such as extension functions, data classes, and coroutines. Extension functions allow us to add functionality to existing classes without subclassing them. Data classes provide a concise way to define classes that only hold data, such as POJOs. Coroutines are a powerful way to write asynchronous code that is easy to read and maintain.

Kotlin and Java Interoperability

While Kotlin is a separate language, it is designed to be fully interoperable with Java. This means that Kotlin code can call Java code, and vice versa, without any issues. In fact, Kotlin code can even be mixed with Java code in the same project, which makes it easy to migrate existing Java code to Kotlin gradually.

Kotlin provides many features that make it easy to work with Java code. For example, in Kotlin, we can use the @JvmField annotation to expose a property or field to Java code as a public field instead of a getter/setter pair. We can also use the @JvmOverloads annotation to generate overloaded methods for Java code that do not support default parameter values.

On the other hand, Java code can also call Kotlin code without any issues. When we compile our Kotlin code, it gets converted into Java bytecode, which can be called from Java code just like any other Java code. Kotlin also provides many Java-friendly features, such as Java-style getters and setters, which make it easier for Java code to work with Kotlin classes.

Kotlin and Android Studio

Android Studio is the official IDE for Android development, and provides excellent support for Kotlin. In fact, since Google announced official support for Kotlin in Android Studio in 2017, many Android developers have started using Kotlin for their Android projects.

Android Studio provides several features that make it easy to work with Kotlin code. For example, it provides syntax highlighting, code completion, and refactoring support for Kotlin classes and functions. It also provides integration with the Android Gradle plugin, which makes it easy to build, run, and deploy Android applications written in Kotlin.

Another great feature of Kotlin in Android Studio is Android Extensions. Android Extensions provide a set of Kotlin extensions to the Android framework, which makes it easy to perform common tasks such as accessing views, handling views, or loading images. With Android Extensions, we can replace the traditional findViewById() calls with more concise Kotlin syntax, such as:


class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {

        button.setOnClickListener {
            Toast.makeText(this, "Hello, world!", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show()

As you can see, instead of using findViewById(, we can directly refer to the button view using its ID, which makes our code more concise and expressive.

Kotlin and Android Jetpack

Android Jetpack is a set of libraries and tools provided by Google, which are designed to help developers build high-quality Android applications more easily. Kotlin integrates seamlessly with Android Jetpack, which makes it even easier to build Android applications with Kotlin.

One of the most useful Jetpack libraries for Kotlin developers is ViewModel. ViewModel is a component that is designed to store and manage UI-related data in a lifecycle-aware manner. It is especially useful for managing configuration changes, such as screen rotations, which can cause inconsistencies in the UI state.

ViewModel is designed to work well with Kotlin, and provides several features that make it easy to write concise and expressive Kotlin code. For example, it provides support for Kotlin's null safety features, which can help prevent NPEs. It also provides support for Kotlin's coroutines, which can be used to write asynchronous code that is easy to read and maintain.

Another useful Jetpack library for Kotlin developers is Room. Room is a powerful library that provides a lightweight abstraction layer over SQLite, which makes it easy to work with databases in Android applications. Room has excellent support for Kotlin, and provides several helpful features, such as nullable types, nullability annotations, and integration with Kotlin coroutines.

Kotlin and Performance

One concern that developers might have with using Kotlin in Android development is performance. While Kotlin is designed to be efficient and performant, some developers might worry that it might introduce overhead or slowdowns in the Android runtime.

However, Kotlin's performance has been shown to be on par with Java, and in some cases, even better. In fact, Kotlin's null safety features can actually help prevent performance issues caused by NPEs, by catching them at compile-time instead of runtime.

Another aspect of Kotlin's performance is its support for inlining functions. Inlining functions means that the body of the function is substituted directly into the call site, which can eliminate the overhead of function calls and improve performance. Kotlin provides excellent support for function inlining, which can help improve the performance of Android applications.


Kotlin is a modern and powerful programming language that is revolutionizing Android development. Its concise syntax, null safety features, and seamless interoperability with Java make it a great choice for Android developers who want to write clean, efficient, and modern code. With the excellent support provided by Android Studio and Android Jetpack, Kotlin has become an essential tool for Android developers, and we can expect its popularity to continue to grow in the coming years. So what are you waiting for? Start learning Kotlin today, and join the revolution!

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