Google Throws Support Behind Kotlin

Just a few days ago, Google announced that Kotlin will be their preferred programming language for Android app development. In their press release, they say that their next big step is that “Android development will become increasingly Kotlin-first.” They go on to discuss how many of the Android Jetpack APIs will be introduced first in Kotlin. Android Jetpack is the collection of software that makes it easier for developers to create apps. This move came after announcing their support for the new programming language two years ago in its Android Studio IDE.

Two years after initially tapping up Kotlin for Android mobile development, there has been a rise in the popularity of the programming language. Tech Crunch notes that more than 50% of professional Android developers are using Kotlin to develop their apps, making it the fourth-most used programming language.

What are the factors that Google considered in making the change? Part of their announcement details the unique features found in Kotlin that make it more convenient. They convinced developers by saying that “If you’re starting a new project, you should write it in Kotlin; code written in Kotlin often means much less code for you—less code to type, test, and maintain.”

ADT Mag adds that aside from being a language that uses less code, Google describes Kotlin as “a modern statically typed programming language that will boost your productivity and increase your developer happiness.” The language is being advocated as the answer to the demand for a modern, expressive, and safer code that is still interoperable with Java.

This shift came as a shock to many, since Java has for the longest time been the preferred language for Android app developers. What then does this mean for other programming languages?  Info World feels that it’s not the end of the world for Java, as Android will still be supporting the Java and C++ languages. Google also doesn’t discount the fact that many developers are still sticking with the tried and tested C++ and Java programming languages, noting that these languages will not be going away.

In a past post here on i.t.NOW we looked at the ongoing trend of outsourcing programming services to freelance developers. Looking deeper into this phenomenon indicates how Java developers are still competitive players in the field. Yoss details how freelance Java developers are in high demand with the top tech companies drawing talent from the top 1% in the industry. This is reflected in how being a Java developer is still one of the top paying jobs in the industry. Tech Republic details how the pay for the “20-year-old programming language” is still skyrocketing, and how Java developers are among the IT professionals who saw the largest pay increase last year. The shifting tides have still not seen any major changes to the number of developers still using Java.

It’s true that many developers are shifting to Kotlin in order to keep up with the demands of the evolving tech industry. While new players have entered the field, older ones are still going strong. Despite Google throwing its support behind the newcomer, more established programming languages are as competitive as ever. The current industry still puts a premium on experts knowledgeable in languages like Java, and this won’t change anytime soon. It could be a long time before Java is completely overtaken by more modern programming languages like Kotlin.