Kotlin Programming Language - Now official on Android

Kotlin is a statically-typed programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine and also can be compiled to JavaScript source code. Its primary development is from a team of JetBrains programmers based in Saint Petersburg, Russia (the name comes from Kotlin Island, near St. Petersburg). While not syntax compatible with Java, Kotlin is designed to interoperate with Java code and is reliant on Java code from the existing Java Class Library, such as the collections framework. Kotlin is similar to Apple's Swift.

Google just announced that it will officially support Kotlin on Android as a “first-class” language. Kotlin is a super new programming language built by JetBrains, which also coincidentally develops the JetBrains IDE that Android Studio — Google's official developer tool — is based on. Like Java, which is the default language for Android development, Kotlin is a language that runs on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine), and it's already possible to use Kotlin and many other JVM languages for Android development. Android doesn’t use the JVM exactly, but the Java roots are strong, and Kotlin’s interoperability with Java have made it a popular choice for developers. Official Google support will be a huge boost for the nascent language, however, and will presumably make working with Kotlin on Android a lot more natural.


In July 2011 JetBrains unveiled Project Kotlin, a new language for the JVM, which had been under development for a year.JetBrains lead Dmitry Jemerov said that most languages did not have the features they were looking for, with the exception of Scala. However, he cited the slow compile time of Scala as an obvious deficiency. 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.

Jetbrains hopes that the new language will drive IntelliJ IDEA sales.
Kotlin v1.0 was released on February 15, 2016. This is considered to be the first officially stable release and JetBrains has committed to long-term backwards compatibility starting with this version.

In Google I/O 2017, Google announced first-class support for Kotlin on Android.

Kotlin tools will be included with Android Studio 3.0 by default, and JetBrains and Google are pledging to support the language going forward.



One of the obvious applications of Kotlin is Android development. The platform was stuck on Java 6 for a while (with some contemporary language features made accessible through the use of Retrolambda or the Jack toolchain) and Kotlin introduces many improvements for programmers such as null-pointer safety, extension functions and infix notation. Accompanied by full Java compatibility and good IDE support (Android Studio) it is intended to improve code readability, give an easier way to extend Android SDK classes and speed up development.

Kotlin was announced as an official Android development language at Google I/O 2017. It became the third language fully supported for Android, after Java and C++.

Kotlin as a language has a lot of similarities to Java in structure — it's object oriented and statically typed, and designed for similar problems Java solves. But because it's a clean slate in many ways, Kotlin adds a lot of nice-to-have features, a much cleaner syntax, ideas from functional programming, and other enhancements over Java.

Unlike the Swift programming language, which was an internal Apple project and then open sourced later, Google won’t own Kotlin. The language will continue to be developed and supported by JetBrains — the company is partnering with Google to set up a nonprofit Kotlin foundation to shepherd the language. Kotlin will also continue to target other platforms: the language is designed to run as native code on iOS and Macs, and also compiles to JavaScript for web development.

For Android developers, Kotlin support is a chance to use a modern and powerful language, helping solve common headaches such as runtime exceptions and source code verbosity. Kotlin is easy to get started with and can be gradually introduced into existing projects, which means that your existing skills and technology investments are preserved.

Kotlin for Android
Starting now, Android Studio 3.0 ships with Kotlin out of the box, meaning Android developers no longer need to install any extras or worry about compatibility. It also means that moving forward, you can rest assured that both JetBrains and Google will be supporting Android development in Kotlin.
In case you are concerned about other platforms that Kotlin supports (Kotlin/JVM for server and desktop, Kotlin/JS and Kotlin/Native), please be sure that they are as important for us as ever. Our vision here is to make Kotlin a uniform tool for end-to-end development of various applications bridging multiple platforms with the same language. This includes full-stack web applications, Android and iOS clients, embedded/IoT and much more.
Programming languages are just like human ones: the more people speak a language, the better. First-class support on Android will likely bring more users to Kotlin, and we expect the community to grow significantly. This means more libraries and tools developed in/for Kotlin, more experience shared, more Kotlin job offerings, more learning materials published, and so on. We are excited to see the Kotlin ecosystem flourish!



We will be partnering with Google to create a non-profit foundation for Kotlin. Language development will continue to be sponsored by JetBrains, and the Kotlin team (over 40 people and second largest team at the company) will operate as usual. Andrey Breslav remains the Lead Language Designer, and Kotlin will be developed under the same principles as before. We’ll keep our design processes open, because your feedback is critical for us in moving Kotlin in the right direction.

If you’re at Google I/O, make sure you stop by one of the Kotlin talks on the schedule. And of course, don’t forget to register for KotlinConf in San Francisco in November. It will be an amazing event!

A Big Thank You!

When we started the journey with Kotlin over 6 years ago, we aimed at creating a language that would be in line with the same principles that drive our tools – create something that helps developers with the tedious and mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on what’s truly important. And of course make the process as enjoyable and fun as possible.
We want to thank Google and the Android team for their trust in Kotlin, but above all we want to thank you, our community, our users. Without you Kotlin wouldn’t be where it is today. Thank you for accompanying us during this journey and we hope you join us for the exciting road ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve prepared answers to a series of questions that you may have in regard to this announcement. If your question is not covered, please feel free to ask us in the comments. If you are new to Kotlin, make sure you check out the FAQ on the web site where you can learn more about the basics.

Is Kotlin going to become primarily focused on Android?

One of Kotlin’s goals is to be a language that is available on multiple platforms and this will always be the case. We’ll keep supporting and actively developing Kotlin/JVM (server-side, desktop and other types of applications), and Kotlin/JS. We are working on Kotlin/Native for other platforms such as macOS, iOS and IoT/embedded systems.

How does this impact Kotlin’s release cycles?

Kotlin will continue to have its own independent release cycle from that of Android or Android Studio. The projects remain completely independent. Obviously there will be close collaboration between the product teams to make sure that Kotlin is always working correctly in Android Studio.

Who’s going to work on the Android Studio plugin?

JetBrains will continue to work on the Android Studio plugin, collaborating closely with the Android Studio team.

Will this affect the support for IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse or Netbeans?

No. Kotlin continues to be a language that targets multiple platforms and support for other IDE’s will continue to be provided as before. Obviously emphasis will be placed on IntelliJ IDEA with hopefully community contributions on the other ones.

Will this affect support for macOS or iOS?

No. We still have plans to support both of these systems with Kotlin/Native and nothing has changed in this regard.

Is JetBrains going to be acquired by Google?

No. JetBrains has no plans of being acquired by any company. JetBrains is and continues to be an independent tool vendor catering to developers regardless of their platform or language of choice.

Credits : Kotlinlang


Kotlin Programming Language - Now official on Android Kotlin Programming Language - Now official on Android Reviewed by Sreehari Anilkumar on May 20, 2017 Rating: 5

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