Want to know more about Kotlin? Here are a few pointers to help you get to grips with the programming language.
According to the Kotlin website, it is a modern programming language that makes developers happier. While that claim may be difficult enough to substantiate, there’s no doubt that Kotlin is pretty popular.
The general-purpose language first appeared on the scene 11 years ago. It was developed by JetBrains along with open source contributors.
If you’ve never heard of Kotlin and you want to find out a little bit more about it and where to start learning it, here is a brief guide.
Java and Kotlin
Kotlin is one of the most popular JVM languages, aside from Java that is.
The fact that Kotlin is interoperable with Java makes it a great language to familiarise yourself with if you use Java a lot. If you know Java already, you’ll more than likely pick up Kotlin fairly easily as the two are quite similar.
Developers who know both can use codes from either Java or Kotlin in the same project.
Popularity and uses
Kotlin is, strictly speaking, a general purpose language, but it is mostly used for Android app development.
A major factor in why Kotlin has become so popular over the past few years is that it has been noticed by Google.
In fact, Google said in 2017 that it would support Kotlin for Android development over its better-known counterpart Java.
Lots of Android apps have been developed using Kotlin, such as Google, Pinterest, Slack, Netflix, N26, Airbnb and Tinder. Kotlin also works well on other platforms like iOS, Linux and Windows.
Before learning Kotlin
For complete beginners, Hackr.io recommends that you are able to do certain tasks before you attempt to learn Kotlin.
You should have a basic knowledge of computers; the ability to install and manage multiple software on a computer system; familiarity with Android and iOS for mobile app development; and a basic understanding of back-end and web development.
The same blog post on Hackr.io also discusses some tools novices may need before they embark on their learning. These include integrated development environments (IDE) and source code editors.
A source code editor is a text editor with specialised features that allows you to read, write, and edit code productively.
An IDE combines tools that help programmers create, test and deploy apps. Examples of good IDEs to use for Kotlin include IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse IDE and Coding Rooms.
In a nutshell, the post’s author said that IDEs are a “superior choice” to source code editors when learning Kotlin.
“When working with Kotlin, choosing an IDE over a source-code editor is a better option because the former will make it much easier for you to maintain complete control over your projects. Moreover, several big firms prefer IDEs to develop and manage their Kotlin projects,” the post said.
Getting to grips with Kotlin
Like a lot of programming languages and tech skills, it’s good to learn Kotlin by practicing and having fun.
Games are a great way to learn programming and coding, and SiliconRepublic.com has previously featured similar tips for Python learners.
If you want to take that same approach to Kotlin, the good news is there are a few fun resources out there.
As good a place to start as any is the Play section of Kotlin’s website which walks you through the steps of some exercises you can do to familiarise yourself with the language.
“While reading Kotlin documentation is easy and pleasant, learning everything by example is a different kind of fun,” it says on the website, encouraging people to “learn and play”.
Or you can try this TicTacToe game which is a fun way of putting your newly acquired Kotlin skills to the test. This one might be for slightly more advanced Kotlin users, because while TicTacToe is a simple game, developing it might be more challenging.
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