Although Java has long been the preferred language for Android apps, the news isn’t a complete surprise, given Google’s long-running legal dispute with Java’s patron, Oracle.
According to TechCrunch, delegates were told: “We’re announcing that the next big step that we’re taking is that we’re going Kotlin-first,”
Chet Haase, chief advocate for Android, added: “We understand that not everybody is on Kotlin right now, but we believe that you should get there,” Haase said. “There may be valid reasons for you to still be using the C++ and Java programming languages and that’s totally fine. These are not going away.”
Explaining what that means in real terms, Google’s written announcement explains: “Many new Jetpack APIs and features will be offered first in Kotlin. If you’re starting a new project, you should write it in Kotlin; code written in Kotlin often mean much less code for you-less code to type, test, and maintain.”
The ‘Jetpack’ in question is Jetpack Compose, a new open source UI toolkit for Kotlin, which uses a reactive programming model, akin to React Native or Vue.js.
There are different components and plugins available for everything from Android Auto to Wear OS and all points in-between. There’s CameraX, which is specifically aimed at camera related developments – which could also come in useful for augmented reality (AR) projects. There’s also a range of security-focused plug-ins for enterprise development.
Kotlin now sits at number 4 in Stack Overflow’s list of programming languages preferred by developers, and powers development in over half of actively developed Android apps (says Google).
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