Kotlin has increased in popularity over a relatively short time period. But it’s not the only programming language around. And with other languages more established, more robust and maybe better suited to backend development, can Kotlin really stack up?
Why is Kotlin rated so highly?
With demonstrable success being used in front-end development it’s only natural that the shift to backend development will happen. It’s short and easy to maintain code makes it a friendlier language for developers.
But where it really shines is its compatibility with Java, meaning you can create additional functions in Kotlin within Java code. This interoperability gives developers access to Kotlin features and speed but Java libraries creating a whole world of potential.
Its null safety, one of the biggest issues in Java, means Kotlin has created a powerful feature that developers will be thankful for time and time again.
As the new kid on the block, Kotlin takes a fresh approach to backend development and what it lacks in power or speed it more than makes up for in productivity and time savings.
What other options are there for backend development?
When it comes to languages for backend development you can take your pick. With around 10 options, each with their own pros and cons, it can be tricky to make sure you’re selecting the best language for the job.
Let’s take a look at the most popular alternatives.
As the second most used backend technology today, Java is a force to be reckoned with. It’s features make it the language of choice for many developers and it’s commonly used for creating mobile apps.
But its hardware requirements make it expensive and it can be a labour of love. There are definite positives to Java - it’s multiple threads, open source libraries and high security but it’s not all roses.
Used by global companies such as Airbnb, Shopify and Etsy to manage backend tasks this highly flexible and scalable coding language is a popular choice. With external libraries, meta programming and with quality testing tools it’s also a robust language.
It’s not all roses though. Debugging Ruby can take time and many report its runtime is sluggish compared to other languages.
Easy to use and easy to integrate, it’s an oldie but a classic. With new development frameworks, codebases and an active community it’s easy to see why PHP makes the cut. Without the online libraries of newer languages it’s more time consuming and requires a greater level of knowledge. It’s also open source based which raises the risk of substandard coding.
One of, if not the most, prevalent language for backend development. With a reputation for running code faster than its competitors, it’s a strong choice for game development platforms and command-line interface tools.
It’s main drawback? It can only run on Windows OS, limiting its use. But it is compatible with older frameworks, making it a handy language to have in your arsenal.
Often complimented for its neat and readable code, Python is a great option for writing scripts to execute backend functions. With its coding syntaxes reading more like English than its counterparts, it’s an easy language to learn and to read. Helped, in part, by the vast online Python libraries where you can find ready-made codes for basic development tasks.
Free to download, able to support IoT functions there are many reasons why Python is a strong contender for backend development.
The ability to code all operating systems is what makes C++ different. This low level programming language can communicate directly with embedded hardware devices making C++ a valid option for creating multi-platform apps. This direct communication with embedded hardware is a blessing and a curse as it means a malicious coder can create an exploit that causes a malfunction.
Which language is best for backend development?
This is one of those questions that you’re never going to get a cohesive answer on. The best language is the one that’s right for the project, your knowledge and the objective. But that being said there are definite advantages of Kotlin over the other languages.
With its null safety, compatibility with all Java written frameworks, functional programming and concise syntax Kotlin is a robust, easy to use option that can create a smooth backend development process.
Are you looking to move your backend development to Kotlin? If you have any questions or need further guidance, feel free to reach out to the Source Technology team. Interested in exploring Kotlin-focused positions? View our available Kotlin Developer roles. Check out our recent interview with David Denton, exploring Kotlin & the benefits of the language.
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