As of Android Studio 3.0 (Beta version) Kotlin is a fully supported programming language on Android and lets the user choose between targeting Java 6 or Java 8 compatible bytecode.
In July 2011 JetBrains unveiled Project Kotlin, a new language for the JVM, which had been under development for a year. JetBrains lead Dmitry Jemerov said that most languages did not have the features they were looking for, with the exception of Scala. However, he cited the slow compile time of Scala as an obvious deficiency. One of the stated goals of Kotlin is to compile as quickly as Java. In February 2012, JetBrains open sourced the project under the Apache 2 license.
The name comes from Kotlin Island, near St. Petersburg. Andrey Breslav mentioned that the team decided to name it after an island just like Java was named after the Indonesian island of Java (though the programming language Java was perhaps named after the coffee.)
JetBrains hopes that the new language will drive IntelliJ IDEA sales.
Kotlin v1.0 was released on February 15, 2016. This is considered to be the first officially stable release and JetBrains has committed to long-term backwards compatibility starting with this version.
At Google I/O 2017, Google announced first-class support for Kotlin on Android.
Development lead Andrey Breslav has said that Kotlin is designed to be an industrial-strength object-oriented language, and a “better language” than Java, but still be fully interoperable with Java code, allowing companies to make a gradual migration from Java to Kotlin.
Kotlin variable declarations and parameter lists have the data type come after the variable name (and with a colon separator), similar to Pascal. As in Scala and Apache Groovy, semicolons are optional as a statement terminator; in most cases a newline is sufficient for the compiler to deduce that the statement has ended.
In addition to the classes and methods (called member functions in Kotlin) of object-oriented programming, Kotlin also supports procedural programming with the use of functions. As in C and C++, the entry point to a Kotlin program is a function named “main”, which is passed an array containing any command line arguments. Perl and Unix/Linux shell script-style string interpolation is supported. Type inference is also supported.
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