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Java vs Kotlin

In 2017, Google announced Kotlin as its second official language of Android app development. Since then, Kotlin has seen a boom in its demand both in developer and enterprise community. Let?s see features of both java and kotlin and a comparison between the two.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a general-purpose, cross platform, statically typed programming language with type interference. Kotlin is designed to conjugate fully with java. The type inference of kotlin makes its code concise. Kotlin has been declared as the official language for android development by Google. The kotlin community has grown constantly since its outbreak. It is meant for both JVM and JavaScript. Kotlin has improved syntax, concise expression and abstraction.

Kotlin was first introduced by Google at Google IO in 2016. Kotlin was developed by JetBrains and many other open-source contributors. The key features of this language is null safety and concise code. It can be used in front-end and back-end development.

Features of Kotlin

Kotlin is a very versatile and diversified language and you can target JavaScript with your Kotlin code. Kotlin provides a variety of features which are mentioned below:-

  • Kotlin is very efficient as it provides concise code and is very easy to learn.
  • Kotlin has massive interoperability with Java. You can convert Java code to Kotlin and vice-versa very easily.
  • Kotlin provides null safety. It helps in stopping run-time crashes as it handles null pointer exception judiciously.
  • Kotlin has low cost adoption as it is open- source and there is no need to spend money on licensing.
  • Kotlin has a smart casting feature which makes the use of type interference feature very useful.
Java Vs Kotlin

What is Java?

Java is an object-oriented general purpose programming language (though it is not entirely object-oriented as it contains primitive types). Java codes are platform independent meaning java codes can run on any platform which are supporting Java. There is no need of re-compilation of code. Java has become one of the most used languages for client-server applications. Java code are converted to bytecode which run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) irrespective of the computer architecture.

Java was initially developed by James Gosling. He developed it at Sun Microsystems which got later acquired by Oracle. Java was first released in 1995. The latest versions in use are java 11 and java 12.

Java Vs Kotlin1

Features of Java

The main reason why java came into existence was that the previously used C++ was a bit cumbersome and not very feasible for client-server applications. The following are the features which make java viable-

  • It is object-oriented programming language which makes writing code easy.
  • Memory allocation takes place at run-time that is why a java program can be compiled even without main function.
  • It is platform independent which is one the greatest feature of java. The java codes are not compiled directly, they are first converted to a bytecode which can be run on any platform which has JVM.
  • Java is an interpreted language which means that the java code compiles and runs simultaneously.
  • Java is widely distribute due to its platform independent nature.

Java vs Kotlin

Kotlin is new in the market but still is giving a neck to neck competition to a veteran 'Java'. So, we will discuss what java has that kotlin does not and what Kotlin has which Java does not have.

What Java has that Kotlin does not

  • Checked exceptions
  • Primitive types that are not classes
  • Static members
  • Non-private fields
  • Wildcard-types
  • Ternary-operator a? b : c
  • It is relatively fast than Kotlin

What Kotlin has that Java does not

  • Lambda expressions + Inline functions = performant custom control structures
  • Extension functions
  • Null-safety
  • Smart casts
  • String templates
  • Properties
  • Primary constructors
  • First-class delegation
  • Type inference for variable and property types
  • Singletons
  • Declaration-site variance & Type projections
  • Range expressions
  • Operator overloading
  • Companion objects
  • Data classes
  • Separate interfaces for read-only and mutable collections
  • Coroutines

Difference between Java and Kotlin

Kotlin Java
Developer Kotlin was developed by JetBrains. Its first version was released in 2016. Java was developed by Sun MicroSystems which was later acquired by Oracle Corporation. It was first released in 1995.
Code size Kotlin has type inference which cuts its code size by 30-40%. Java has relatively large code size as compared to Kotlin.
Null Safety Kotlin provides various ways to handle null pointer exception which provides the advantage of preventing run-time exceptions. Java is not facilitated with the feature of avoiding null-pointer exception.
Checked Exception Kotlin does not provide the feature of checked exceptions. Java has the feature of checked Exception. Java has several checked Exceptions pre-defined. These exceptions are the exceptions which are checked by the compiler.
Operator Overloading Kotlin supports Operator overloading which allows you to change the definition of any operator according to your need. Java does not have the feature of operator overloading.
App size The app size of the apps written in Kotlin is more than the apps written in Java because Kotlin code has both Java and Kotlin libraries also it has some additional dependencies. The app size of the apps written in Java is less as it has no additional dependency.
Speed Kotlin code runs equivalently fast as Java codes as it also has a similar Bytecode as that of Java. But the use of lambdas makes its code to run faster. Java codes a bit slow than Kotlin codes due the lack of lambdas in Java.


There is no doubt that Java is a very old and vastly used programming language and has variety of tools and libraries to facilitate it but it does not mean that it does not have flaws. Talking of this, Kotlin is new in market but Google is heavily investing on its development and has officially declared it as the programming language for Android application development. Developers and enterprises both are gradually shifting towards Kotlin.

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