How to Develop an Android App Using Kotlin

7 February 2022

It is no secret that Java has been Google’s official programming language since Android app development began. But with technological advancements and the need to bring in new ways that are faster, better, and easier Kotlin was developed. In 2017, Google announced that Kotlin was going to be their official programming language for Android application development. 

As Google recognized it to be their official language, android developers started to adapt to it and most of the apps that were created using Java began to be rewritten in Kotlin. This shows that Kotlin is the future of android apps. It was similar to when Swift took over from Objective C language. Kotlin has nearly pushed Java out of the android app development market. It was not easy for android developers to accept a Kotlin programming language as Java had been associated with the android ecosystem for so long. Java was the foundation on which products were made for users and coders.  

 

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin was launched in 2011 by a company named JetBrains in Russia. The programmers of the company developed it and then it got augmented by various open-source developers. In 2019, Kotlin became the most preferred language for app development. It is a programming language that can run on JVM (Java virtual machine). Kotlin is open-source and has various functionalities. It is a language that combines function and acquisitive features to ensure faster compilation. 

Kotlin is preferred so highly as it is open-source and has great features. It was created as a solution for the problems that developers faced over time while using Java. Any problems that they faced related to flexibility, security, support, etc. got resolved with the arrival of Kotlin. 

Why use Kotlin for Android Application Development?

Any android app development company that wants to create modern-day apps has adopted Kotlin for its development needs. Transitioning from Java to Kotlin is a welcomed decision by organizations as there are numerous benefits of it. Here are some key benefits of Kotlin.

1. Kotlin Offers Clarity and Brevity

One of the major reasons why developers choose Kotlin over Java is the clarity and concise nature of its coding. It offers brevity which is not the case with Java where things are repetitive. This means that there are fewer errors while coding and the time taken to complete the process gets reduced. 

2. Kotlin is Open-Source

Since its launch in 2012, it has been open-source. Kotlin being open-source allows developers to get high-quality development. This is because they can get support from the Kotlin slack team for their development queries.

3. Kotlin offers great IDE Support

Koltin was released quite later after its creation. Its official release came in 2016 due to the several stages of alpha and beta improvements it went under before being finally released. This means that it was being used to create several projects even before being released. It is a very practical language with great IDE support. The IDE plugin works to allow developers to use numerous popular features of Java. 

4. Easy Way to Develop Android Apps

Kotlin is a very simple and powerful language compared to the other ones in the market. Java is not so flexible when dealing with issues, other languages like Scala are slow to compile, and this makes Kotlin the go-to for development. Kotlin also offers a library suited for writing android apps easily.

5. Swift Android App Development

Kotlin has the ability to integrate with Android studio which makes it swift. To start a project with Kotlin, it does not take more than 10 minutes even if you are new to it. Kotlin can work from IDE just as Java does. It can debug problems with any complexity. Kotlin can go head to head and beyond Java when it comes to such features. 

6. Reliable Developmental Process

The main reason that Kotlin was developed was that the developers of the parent company had some specific ideas related to the programming language that they were going to use. They developed Kotlin keeping those points in mind and getting the most value out of it. JetBrains made sure that they developed a reliable language that can be used for their line of products. They were very much invested in it and when they got the support from Google, both companies just hit it out of the park. 

JetBrains put in great efforts to bring this idea to life and is doing everything they can to ensure the right changes are made to it for its success. It has brought android extensions, libraries, library size optimization, and other features to keep it updated with time. The commitment to create something that will last is shown by Jetbrains and developers find it a reliable option to choose for their requirements. 

7. Developers Must Recreate Themselves

For any developer, the worst thing that can happen to them is to lose their creative edge. When developers started using Kotlin, they realized how this modern language made their development process efficient and allowed them to be creative with it. Java has been around since the beginning and there are not many developers can do with it. 

Using a new language allowed developers to think of different ways to achieve results. It brought their creative touchback and made them more versatile. Developers began understanding the little elements that can add value to the project and make it more efficient and slick.

8. Safer than Java

Kotlin is considered to be safer than Java. The major problem with Java is with its language itself. The way its language is designed creates a lot of extra work which is unnecessary. It leads to extra money being spent on it as well as the time. 

9. Easy Language to Learn

Kotlin is quite easy to learn. As discussed above, it doesn’t take even 10 minutes to get started with Kotlin. Developers can easily grasp it and newcomers can easily understand it. This allows them to avoid errors throughout the project. It is a language that is in sync with what Java developers already understand. The only difference that they have to look out for is elements that Kotlin possesses which Java lacks. Kotlin allows the developers to be more creative in solving their problems that too with much ease as the language is simple and concise. 

Java vs Kotlin: Choosing the Right One

 

JAVA KOTLIN No extension functions Developers can create extension functions Developers need to write and create elements to develop classes It is easy to create data classes It supports implicit conversions It doesn’t support implicit conversions Null variable is part of the language No null variables or objects in Kotlin Object-oriented programming Object and functional programming features are combined It uses static members It doesn’t use or have support for static members Variables of relative type are not objects Variables of primitive type are considered objects There are no secondary constructors. But it does have multiple constructors There are be one or more secondary constructors The string does not support expressions String template supports expressions It is not simple to deploy Java It is quite easy to deploy Kotlin It requires a semicolon It does not require semicolons in the program It uses coroutine Rx Java and Project loom The coroutine in Kotlin are design patterns that can simplify code Wildcard is available It does not have any wildcards Nullpointer is responsible for Java and Android development It has inbuilt null safety No smart cast feature is available There is a smart cast feature available Java needs variable datatype specs It does not need any variable datatype specs Lambda expression was added in Java 8 Kotlin had lambda expression since inception No Lazy-Loading feature is available Lazy-loading feature supported No language scripting capabilities Language scripting capabilities allowed It supports OOPs programming concept It supports modern concepts like extensions, delegates, etc.

When considering the restriction that Java has, it seems rational to choose Kotlin. The null pointer exception is the major decider among the two. Java is still a relevant language for android app development as the whole Android OS is based on it. But in order to stay future-proof, you need to adapt to Kotlin to provide the best android application development services.

Steps to Develop Android App Using Kotlin

Developing an android app using Kotlin is a simple step-by-step process that even beginners can understand and follow to create their first android app. Here are the steps you need to follow to create an android app with Kotlin.

Step 1: Select the right tool

Selecting the right tool to create the android app is essential to the process. You need to be well-versed with how the tool functions. For this instance, we are going to choose Android Studio to create an app using Kotlin.

Step 2: Install Android Studio

Android Studio functions on computers that run Windows or Linux, and Macs with macOS. It comes with the OpenJDK as well.

Download Android studio from its download page and follow the steps shown to install it. Accept the default configurations and select all components for installation. After the installation is done, the setup wizard will download additional components. This includes Android SDK and it might take some time to install due to the size of the file. When all additional components are installed, the Android studio starts and you can start working on your project.

Step 3: Begin Creating the Project

Open Android Studio tool. Go to the Welcome to Android Studio dialog, click on the Start a new Android Studio project. Select Basic Activity. Click the Next button.  Give your application a name of your choice. Select the Kotlin Language. Keep other settings on default. Click on the Finish button.

Step 4: Set up your Screen

Now build the project using Grade and follow the steps shown in the Android studio windows at the bottom. Then open the code editor which will show your project.

Step 5: Select a Layout for the Project

When you have built your project, define the project layout from the window on the upper left as shown in the image below

 

Now you will need to expand the manifest folder. There you will need to add the components of your android app and get it read by the Android runtime system.

Then, click on the Java folder to organize the Kotlin files and keep the project files in the selected single folder with any Java sources. You can also choose to consult an android app development company or developer to help you through the process that comes next.

Now, when you explore the Java folder, there will be three subfolders in it:

com. example.myfirstapp (or the specific name of your project): It contains the Kotlin source code files. com.example.myfirstapp (android test): This is where the app is tested on the device. com.example.myfirstapp (test): Here, you need to expand the res. folder that contains all the resources such as images, layout files, strings, icons, and styling.

There are subfolders that you need to explore as well:

Drawable: The app’s images are stored here. Layout: It will help define the UI layout as it contains content_main.xml, fragment_first.xml, and fragment_second.xml which are essential to customizing the UI. Menu: It contains XML files of the menu of the app. Mipmap: It contains the launcher icons. Navigation: It contains the navigation graph that helps navigate through the app. Values: It contains resources like strings and colors.

Click Finish after following the above steps and it will take a while to create a project. To proceed further create an Android Virtual Device where you can easily preview your app.

Step 6: Create an Emulator

The Android Virtual Device (AVD) will help you create the virtual device that will simulate the configuration for the android device of your choosing. Here is how to install it.

Select the tools option in the android studio, go to avd manager, click on the avd manager icon. Select the option “+Create a Virtual Device”. Choose the hardware that you want to run the test on like a phone, tablet, etc. Choose the system image and proceed with the android version. Follow the instructions and the android studio will ask you to download a system image. Then click Next and accept the default settings.  Click finish and you are done.

To run the app on the device follow these steps:

Choose the android device. Get a data cable to connect with the device and computer. Get started.

Step 7: Explore the Layout editor

Then open the layout editor and double click “fragment_first.xml”. Here you can add the palette, component tree, design, edit the layout, and select between portrait or landscape.

Step 8: Check the Navigation Graph

As we choose the basic activity template for the project, it sets it up in two fragments and creates a navigation graph that will help you connect with different screens of the app. It also sets up a button that will allow you to go from the first activity of the fragment to the second. It can also be turned into a Random button. 

Step 9: Publish it!

Once you finish the last step all that is left to do is launch your app on the Google Play Store.

When preparing to launch the app, you need to make sure that you are familiar with the publishing guidelines. Make sure to read them to avoid any problems or rejection. The app store license fee is around $150 which is a one-time payment.

Also Read: Tips for Building a successful eCommerce Mobile app

Why Do Businesses Prefer Kotlin?

For any business moving to a new tool is a big decision that is taken after a lot of consideration. Any tool that is being deployed is to resolve a problem that exists in the best way possible. Businesses have started adapting to Kotlin as their preferred android app development tool. Here are the top reasons why businesses prefer Kotlin.

Support: Goggle has been officially acknowledging and supporting Kotlin as their language for android. This has helped widen the ecosystem and provided technical support and other capabilities to businesses. It also means that knowledge can be shared throughout the android app developers community. Migration: Businesses can easily migrate from Java to Kotlin. It makes the whole process easy for everyone involved. There is the ease of learning when it comes to Kotlin which further removes any problems that can arise during adoption.  Cost and Maintenance:  Kotlin offers low-cost development and makes maintenance easy as well. This means businesses will love to invest in it as it is future-proof, fast, cost-efficient, and easy to maintain. Not to forget the amazing language feature that Kotlin offers which ensure a high-quality result. The turnaround time in Kotlin is way quicker than in other programming languages.

Some other facts that prove that Kotlin is here to stay are the number of top companies that are using Kotlin or migrated to it. Moving to Kotlin is a necessary step for businesses as it provides effective solutions with speed, accuracy, stability, and deals with challenges that may arise in a smooth manner. The companies that have chosen Kotlin as their app development language are AWS, Pinterest, Coursera, and Netflix to name a few. It is also preferred by developers such as Flipboard and Expedia among others for their android projects.

We consider Kotlin to be a great fit for our clients as well. Here are some reasons to support it.

Clear and Concise Language: Kotlin is a language that is efficient. It is a perfect choice for any android app development company due to the numerous features it offers. It is a well-thought language that provides high-quality IDE support. The large ecosystem that it has is also a major plus in terms of queries and innovations. 

Budget-friendly: Any client would not want their money to be spent on unnecessary problems which can be avoided easily. Kotlin has made coding easier and fast which not only saves time but money as well. Time saved by the developers is the money saved by clients when put in simpler terms. Also, it does not affect the quality one bit and provides a stable top-notch app faster than other tools. 

FAQs

1. Can I use Kotlin with Android Studio?

Kotlin can be used in android studio. All android studio versions have support for Kotlin. Creating new projects with Kotlin files and converting java code to Kotlin along with debugging as well.

2. How do I choose between the Java and Kotlin languages?

You do not need to choose between the two languages as they can be used together as per your need. 

3. What IDEs support Kotlin?

It is supported by almost all major IDEs such as Android studio, IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse to name a few. There is also a command-line compiler available that provides support to compile and run apps.

Conclusion

As we know, in any business or project feedback, is the most important thing to understand where the concept is going wrong and how it can be improved. Kotlin is the result of the years of feedback that developers gave to improve the coding of android apps. The community has almost similar problems with no solutions and then came Kotlin barring all the gifts that they hoped for in one package.

The larger ecosystem, a huge support system, and future-proof is what makes Kotlin the most preferred tool for android projects. It is suitable for Java which makes it convenient for any organization to migrate seamlessly. We have already discussed the numerous benefits for developers and businesses above that make it a great choice.

There is always a surge in Kotlin demand as it is an easy language to learn. We can conclude that it is the best option available when it comes to creating high-quality apps in an efficient way that is cost-saving as well as modern. 

If you are looking for android app developers who can create a modern-day app with futuristic features that is ready to storm the market, get in touch with us. 

The post How to Develop an Android App Using Kotlin appeared first on 360 Degree Technosoft.

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