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Beginning Android Development with Kotlin


What is Kotlin?

Why kotlin in Android?

Kotlin internals

Java vs Kotlin

Features available in Kotlin

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a general purpose, open source, statically typed programming language for the JVM, Browser, Native, and Android that combines object-oriented and functional programming features.

In July 2011, JetBrains unveiled Project Kotlin, a new language for the JVM, which had been under development for a year.
One of the stated goals of Kotlin is to compile as quickly as Java. In February 2012, JetBrains open-sourced the project under the Apache 2 license.

Why kotlin on Android?

The name comes from Kotlin Island, near St. Petersburg. Andrey Breslav mentioned that the team decided to name it after an island just like Java was named after the Indonesian island of Java.

Kotlin is officially supported by Google for mobile development on Android. Since, the release of Android Studio 3.0 in October 2017, Kotlin is included as an alternative to the standard Java compiler. The Android Kotlin compiler lets the user choose between targeting Java 6 or Java 8 compatible bytecode.

Since, 7 May 2019, Kotlin is Google’s preferred language for Android app development.
Compatibility: It’s compatible with JDK 6, so older devices aren’t left behind.
Performance: It’s on par with Java.
Interoperability: It’s 100% interoperable with Java including annotations.
Compilation Time: There’s a little overhead on clean builds but it’s way faster with incremental builds.
Learning Curve: It’s easy to learn, especially for people used to modern languages. The Java to Kotlin converter in IntelliJ and Android Studio makes it even easier. You can also use a mix of Kotlin and Java in a project, so take your time learning Kotlin and add it in when you feel comfortable.

Kotlin Internals

Just like Java, Kotlin is a compiled language. This means before you can run Kotlin code, you need to compile it. Let’s discuss how the compilation process works and then look at the different tools that take care of it for you.

Kotlin source code is normally stored in files with the extension .kt. The Kotlin compiler analyzes the source code and generates .class files, just like the Java compiler does. The generated .class files are then packaged and executed using the standard procedure for the type of application you’re working on.

Java vs Kotlin

Print to Console

Java System.out.print("Amit Shekhar"); System.out.println("Amit Shekhar"); Kotlin print("Amit Shekhar") println("Amit Shekhar")
Code language: PHP (php)

Constants and Variables

*var (Mutable variable)
*val (Immutable variable

Java String name = "Amit Shekhar"; final String name = "Amit Shekhar"; Kotlin var name = "Amit Shekhar" val name = "Amit Shekhar"
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Data Types

Assigning the null value

Java String otherName; otherName = null; Kotlin var otherName : String? otherName = null
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Verify if the value is null

Java if (text != null) { int length = text.length(); } Kotlin text?.let { val length = text.length } // or simply val length = text?.length
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Concatenation of strings

Java String firstName = "Amit"; String lastName = "Shekhar"; String message = "My name is: " + firstName + " " + lastName; Kotlin var firstName = "Amit" var lastName = "Shekhar" var message = "My name is: $firstName $lastName"
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

New line in the string

Java String text = "First Line\n" + "Second Line\n" + "Third Line"; Kotlin val text = """ |First Line |Second Line |Third Line """.trimMargin()
Code language: PHP (php)

Ternary Operations

Java String text = x > 5 ? "x > 5" : "x <= 5"; String message = null; log(message != null ? Message : ""); Kotlin val text = if (x > 5) "x > 5" else "x <= 5" val message: String? = null log(message ?: "")
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Bitwise Operators

Java final int andResult = a & b; final int orResult = a | b; final int xorResult = a ^ b; final int rightShift = a >> 2; final int leftShift = a << 2; final int unsignedRightShift = a >>> 2; Kotlin val andResult = a and b val orResult = a or b val xorResult = a xor b val rightShift = a shr 2 val leftShift = a shl 2 val unsignedRightShift = a ushr 2
Code language: PHP (php)

Check the type and casting

Java if (object instanceof Car) { } Car car = (Car) object; Kotlin if (object is Car) { } var car = object as Car // if object is null var car = object as? Car // var car = object as Car?
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Multiple Conditions (Switch case)

Java int score = // some score; String grade; switch (score) { case 10: case 9: grade = "Excellent"; break; case 8: case 7: case 6: grade = "Good"; break; case 5: case 4: grade = "OK"; break; case 3: case 2: case 1: grade = "Fail"; break; default: grade = "Fail"; } Kotlin var score = // some score var grade = when (score) { 9, 10 -> "Excellent" in 6..8 -> "Good" 4, 5 -> "OK" in 1..3 -> "Fail" else -> "Fail" }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)


Java for (int i = 1; i <= 10 ; i++) { } for (int i = 1; i < 10 ; i++) { } for (int i = 10; i >= 0 ; i--) { } for (int i = 1; i <= 10 ; i+=2) { } for (int i = 10; i >= 0 ; i-=2) { } for (String item : collection) { } for (Map.Entry<String, String> entry: map.entrySet()) { } Kotlin for (i in 1..10) { } for (i in 1 until 10) { } for (i in 10 downTo 0) { } for (i in 1..10 step 2) { } for (i in 10 downTo 0 step 2) { } for (item in collection) { } for ((key, value) in map) { }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)


Java final List<Integer> listOfNumber = Arrays.asList(1, 2, 3, 4); final Map<Integer, String> keyValue = new HashMap<Integer, String>(); map.put(1, "Amit"); map.put(2, "Ali"); map.put(3, "Mindorks"); // Java 9 final List<Integer> listOfNumber = List.of(1, 2, 3, 4); final Map<Integer, String> keyValue = Map.of(1, "Amit", 2, "Ali", 3, "Mindorks"); Kotlin val listOfNumber = listOf(1, 2, 3, 4) val keyValue = mapOf(1 to "Amit", 2 to "Ali", 3 to "Mindorks")
Code language: PHP (php)

Defining methods

Java void doSomething() { // logic here } Kotlin fun doSomething() { // logic here }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Variable number of arguments

Java void doSomething(int... numbers) { // logic here } Kotlin fun doSomething(vararg numbers: Int) { // logic here }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Defining methods with return

Java int getScore() { // logic here return score; } Kotlin fun getScore(): Int { // logic here return score } // as a single-expression function fun getScore(): Int = score // even simpler (type will be determined automatically) fun getScore() = score // return-type is Int
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Features available in Kotlin

lazy Initialization

by lazy may be very useful when implementing read-only properties that perform lazy initialization in Kotlin.
by lazy { … } performs its initializer where the defined property is first used, not its declaration.

class Demo { val myName: String by lazy { "John" } }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Late Initialization

Late initialization variables are the developer’s promise that they will initialize the variable before accessing it.

lateinit var book: Book
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Data Class

We frequently create a class to do nothing but hold data. In such a class some standard functionality is often mechanically derivable from the data. In Kotlin, this is called a data class and is marked as data.

data class Developer(val name: String, val age: Int)

The compiler automatically creates these internally, so it also leads to clean code.

Sealed Classes

Sealed classes are used for representing restricted class hierarchies wherein the object or the value can have value only among one of the types, thus fixing your type hierarchies. Sealed classes are commonly used in cases, where you know what a given value is only among a given set of options.

sealed class Operation { class Add(val value: Int) : Operation() class Substract(val value: Int) : Operation() class Multiply(val value: Int) : Operation() class Divide(val value: Int) : Operation() }

Extension Functions

The extension functions in Kotlin allow us to extend the functionality of a class by adding new functions. The class doesn’t have to belong to us (could it be a third-party library) and also without require us to inherit the class.

fun Int.triple(): Int { return this * 3 }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)


I hope you learned the basics of kotlin, and how to create functions and variables. Thanks for reading. let me know your comments below.

What’s Next,

Kotlin High Order Functions and Lambdas Explained

Kotlin Coroutines for Android Development

Kotlin Scope Functions Explained [Example]

Kotlin High Order Functions and Lambdas Explained

MVVM with Kotlin Coroutines and Retrofit [Example]

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