Kotlin can overtake Java for Android development, claims Realm report

Google at the I/O 2017 Developers Conference in May this year had announced that Kotlin will be an officially supported language in Android. It would join the list of existing programming languages used for Android app development, such as Java and C++.

Now, according to a new report released last week by Realm, a mobile development platform, Kotlin is expected to surpass Java as the primary programming language used for Android apps by December 2018.

For those unaware, Kotlin was a little-known programming language until the above announcement was made by Google. Developed by Jetbrains for JVM (Java Virtual Machine), Android, JS browser and native applications, Kotlin can be compiled to Java source code and be used alongside Java to build apps. Like Java, Kotlin as a language is object oriented and statically typed and fully interoperable with Java code. It is designed to solve similar problem that Java does. It also adds a lot of nice-to-have features that Java itself doesn’t currently support, a much cleaner syntax, improved code readability, ideas from functional programming, and other improvements over Java. Also, Kotlin’s interoperability with Java makes it possible to call Kotlin code from Java or Java code from Kotlin.

The first edition of new Realm Report states that Kotlin’s adoption has increased tremendously among Android app developers after Google’s announcement. This quarterly publication is based on the analysis of its more than 100,000 active developers that takes a comprehensive look as to what is currently happening with mobile development, and offer their predictions of where things are going in the future.

“Since Google blessed Kotlin as an acceptable language on Android, which happened in May at Google I/O, Kotlin use has just exploded,” said Paul Kopacki, veep of marketing at Realm told in an interview to The Register. “We think by the end of next year, Kotlin will have eclipsed Java for Android apps.”

Mike Cleron, Director of the Android Platform too announced the good news in a blog post. “The effortless interoperation between the two languages has been a large part of Kotlin’s appeal.” Furthermore, this programming language will be “very familiar to anyone who has used the Java programming language.”

According to the Realm Report, the number of applications built with Kotlin has increased by 125% since August 2015. Also, Kotlin’s adoption rate has doubled from 7.4% to 14.7%, at the end of September, after Google’s I/O announcement.

Additionally, the number of Android apps built with Java has decreased by 6.1% over the past four months, claims the report. The manner in which Swift programming language overtook Objective C for iOS app development, Kotlin is expected to overtake Java for Android development in a similar manner by December 2018 (capturing 51% market share), predicts Realm.

“It’s clear: Java (on Android) is dying. In fact, 20% of apps built with Java before Google I/O are now being built in Kotlin. Kotlin may even change how Java is used on the server, too.” Realm Report notes. “In short, Android developers without Kotlin skills are at risk of being seen as dinosaurs very soon.”

Kotlin’s modern outlook is considered to be the reason behind its growth, says Realm. “Kotlin is a much more modern language,” Realm chief marketer Paul Kopacki said. “It’s easier to understand, it’s easier to write, it’s a little higher in abstraction than Java, and it’s really been designed with mobile in mind.”

Kotlin is currently in most popular in countries like Germany, Japan, India, the U.S., and Brazil. If you wish to know more about Kotlin, you can visit their website by clicking here.