A Brief History of the Kotlin Language

Kotlin was developed by JetBrains, the company behind popular development tools like IntelliJ IDEA, which Android Studio is based on. JetBrains needed a language that was concise, expressive, and interoperable with Java for their products. The language’s development began way back in 2010 under the name ‘Project Kotlin,’ and after several years of development and refinement, it was officially released in 2016. Kotlin was designed as a modern, more concise, and safer replacement for the Java programming language.

Kotlin addresses many pain points of Java, such as verbose syntax and null pointer exceptions. Its interoperability with Java and its improved syntax quickly made it a popular choice for Android app development.

In 2017, Google announced first-class support for Kotlin on Android. Today, Kotlin is a popular alternative to Java for JVM applications and server-side development, web development, cross-platform development, and writing desktop applications. Kotlin’s fast development cycle and strong feature offering make it a versatile programming language.

Why You Should Learn Kotlin

While Kotlin is the preferred and default language for writing Android apps, its versatility and rich feature set open up many opportunities for you as a developer. Some of the key benefits Kotlin offers would be:

  • Conciseness - Kotlin is expressive yet concise, meaning you get a lot more done with fewer lines of code. This naturally translates to the code being easier to understand and maintain.

  • Safety - Kotlin is designed to be safer than Java. It offers built-in null safety that lets you avoid Null-Pointer Exceptions.

  • Interoperability - Kotlin is fully interoperable with Java, meaning you can use all libraries and frameworks written in Java. Also, starting with version 1.4, Kotlin is also interoperable with Swift & Objective-C.

  • Multi-platform support - Aside from Android, Kotlin can now also be used to write iOS, desktop and web applications, meaning you get to share a lot of your code with other platforms while reducing the effort required to build apps for multiple platforms.

  • Coroutines support - For asynchronous programming, Kotlin offers coroutines, which lets you write cleaner and more understandable code for dealing with concurrency.

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