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Categories: Android Tutorial

Why we need Kotlin Introduction & Updates

JetBrains developed IntelliJ IDEA, which is the basis for Android Studio. In 2011, the company introduced the Kotlin language, but few Android developers started using it. Though Kotlin was production ready, the language wasn’t stable. When important changes in the language happened, developers had to change their codebase. Five years later, Kotlin released 1.0. Thanks to all the early adopters for this great moment!

Today we have released a new version of the Kotlin kernel for Jupyter Notebook, and if you are experimenting with data — give notebooks with Kotlin kernel a try.

One of the great things about Jupyter Notebook is its interactive nature. It allows you to quickly get familiar with your data, try out some ideas, and run some experiments. Kotlin kernel helps you iterate over your ideas even faster by featuring enhanced code completion.

Previously, the kernel was already capable of completing local symbols, but with this update code completion works for global ones as well.

At Google I/O 2017, Google announced that Android will support Kotlin as a first-class programming language from now on. For this to happen, the 3.0 release of Android Studio (AS) integrated Kotlin support out of the box! The following three minor releases of AS continued to improve the Kotlin support and the tools available.

Kotlin is a compiled, statically typed language, which might provide some initial hurdles for people who are used to the interpreted, dynamically typed Python. This document aims to explain a substantial portion of Kotlin’s syntax and concepts in terms of how they compare to corresponding concepts in Python.

Kotlin can be compiled for several different platforms. In this document, we assume that the target platform is the Java virtual machine, which grants some extra capabilities – in particular, your code will be compiled to Java bytecode and will therefore be interoperable with the large ecosystem of Java libraries.

Since Android took the world by storm, developers have had few alternatives to Java for app development. Java was the programming language that the most advanced phones were using to run their native apps on their proprietary operating systems. For example, Nokia’s Symbian had Java ME apps. Although its usage is widespread, Java comes with a lot of historical baggage.

Java 8 solved some language issues and even more were corrected with Java 9 and 10. Unfortunately, you have to set the minimum SDK to Android 24 to use all of Java 8’s features, which isn’t an option for many developers. The fragmentation of the Android ecosystem makes it impossible to leave out users with older devices. For most developers, Java 9 and 10 aren’t even on the radar.

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