At the time, when you need a well-structured application developed for your business, you might be confused about which development language you should go with— Kotlin vs Scala. However, the foremost and most essential thing you need to be sure about is which JVM languages you are going to use for the App development process.
This guide is going to help you out in making your decision between “Kotlin vs Scala,” considering which of them is going to gratify your needs.
If talked about Kotlin vs Scala, both stand out to be better, and newer Java develops top-class well-structured applications. Each of them responsibly adds and expands the capabilities of Java to a broader extent.
So let’s jump into this newest world of Programming languages and app development.
Table of Contents
Kotlin vs Scala: An Overview
What is it? Or what does it mean? These are the most common questions asked whenever something new is introduced to people. So same is the case with a programming language; the question that comes straight into the minds—”What are Scala and Kotlin?” So to clear all your doubts, the following information depicts almost everything you must know about these two programming languages of Java.
Kotlin is one of the newest ones in the game of programming language and is being used extensively for developing applications within an open-source, cross-platform. JetBrains was the one who introduced this language in 2011, and over time, there was a massive amount in Kotlin’s popularity. However, if we go somewhat back in time, 2019 was when Google recognized Kotlin as an official Android programming language.
Moreover, this language was designed for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and Android combines object-oriented features and functional programming. One of the significant benefits of Kotlin is that it supports multi-platform programming, which allows the users to compile the Kotlin source for other platforms effortlessly. With time to time addition and updates, it has now reached up to its latest version, Kotlin 1.4.
So we already talked about one of the java alternatives, and now it’s time for the other one called “Scala.” Scala programming language is a modern compiler-based programming language launched in 2004 by Martin Odersky and proves to be an updated version of Java. This statically typed programming language flawlessly supports both the features of object-oriented and functional languages.
This language adds various features not present in Java, such as optional parameters, named parameters, operator overloading, and raw strings.
Still, if you are looking for a detailed comparison between Kotlin and Scala, let’s throw some more light on this comparison.
Detailed Comparison Of Java Alternatives—Kotlin vs Scala
Types Of Comparison
- Functional Programming
- Learning curve
- Pattern matching
- Data Classes
- Tooling support
- Operator overloading
- Community support
We will discuss these modes or types of comparison in Scala and Kotlin, so let’s dive into them.
1. Functional Programming Kotlin vs Scala
Both languages are very well known for their functional programming paradigm. But, in the case of Scala vs. Kotlin comparison, the former wins, Let’s see why.
Compared to Kotlin, Scala is a lot more affected by functional programming languages, namely Haskell. This java alternative also encourages the use of functional coding inclusive of several other features like pattern matching and currying. Besides this, the attempt at possible functional programming is more considerable within the Scala environment.
Java is a well-known programming language, but let’s throw some light on Scala and Kotlin’s popularity.
From the graph above, we can say that Scala (Red) is more in trend than Kotlin (Blue).
Here you can conclude the exact ranking and YOY (Year-over-Year) percentage of the changes taking place with these programming languages. The above data is for the year 2021- 2022 (running).
The table shows the number of jobs posted over various job requirement platforms like; Indeed, LinkedIn (US), and (India) USA for programming languages like Kotlin, Java, and Scala.
Considering the job posting on these three platforms, amongst Scala vs. Kotlin, Scala is the clear winner.
In the case of Kotlin programming language, it was Google that helped him achieve success by the dominant presence within the market and that too in a short period. So with this, a clear indication can be seen that Kotlin is much better in ratings and trends than Scala.
But, if focused on the job posting platform, we learned that Kotlin is lacking behind Scala with significant numbers. So with this, you may understand that these languages are far popular and are liked by the community of developers. The likeness extensively depends upon their functionality or the aspect for which they are used.
3. Learning Curve
Let’s take a learning curve and understand how one can easily comprehend basic Kotlin syntax within a few hours, as reported by Java developers in various organizations. In addition to this, Google introduced free Kotlin courses for those who are beginners or not experienced Android developers. That stands out to be streamlining their journey in the Kotlin market.
On the other hand, Scala stands out to be a powerful language with highly-advantageous features and flexible syntax that proves to be quite tricky for newbies to get their hands over this JVM programming language.
4. Pattern Matching
In the case of pattern matching, Scala is the one that provides massive and better opportunities as compared to Kotlin. The matched statements enable numerous developers to match or reach a better match for any data. Scala is considered a good fit for more significant data processing tasks and hence is termed “Java’s switch on steroids.”
5. Data Classes
Although both Scala and Kotlin prove to be good alternatives to Java in the JVM world, they come with different and unique use cases. Besides this, Kotlin’s data classes and Scala’s case classes serve a similar function. Both enable you to represent a data-holding object with no such requirement of writing and initiating tons of boilerplate code.
However, if we discuss Kotlin vs Scala, we might conclude that you have to declare the constructor parameters existing within Kotlin as var or val. The reason is that Kotlin cannot automatically infer the constructor parameters within the code unless it gets your command.
Scala case class- case class Date(month: String, day: Int)
Kotlin’s equivalent would be: data class Date(var month: String, var day: Int)
6. Tooling Support
It is known that having good and effective tooling support will ease our work; hence, it must be considered a significant aspect while deciding on the programming language for your application. From Kotlin vs Scala, let’s determine which one comes with more tooling support.
7. Operator Overloading
Regarding operator overloading, both alternatives of Java named Scala and Kotlin come loaded with this functionality, but Java does not support it. So it would be best if you considered this factor about what to choose between Scala or Kotlin for procuring your JVM- based development needs.
If talked about Kotlin, we will come to know that this focuses on balancing readability and power. Additionally, it empowers developers to overload the basic operators while preventing them from defining new ones.
On the other hand, Scala goes with a pretty compassionate approach to operator overloading. It becomes much easier for developers to write more human-readable codes than usual and thus makes it a good fit for the construction of internal domain-specific languages. However, today Scala comes with many supporting tools and a plug-in that makes it a lot more efficient to use.
8. Community Support
Being in the market for the last 15 years, Scala proves to have a much bigger community than Kotlin. Kotlin, on the other hand, has fewer or comparatively lesser communities. This aspect makes it easier for app developers to find a wide range of solutions, tutorials, and other resources related to Scala over Kotlin.
Strengths And Weaknesses: Kotlin vs Scala
Let’s see how Kotlin & Scala make a balance between their strengths and weaknesses.
Kotlin, with the support of Google, has achieved success in making its presence dominant in the market much faster than expected. Scala is a powerful language that comes with highly-advantageous features and flexible syntax. Here are a few strengths and weaknesses that these java alternatives come with.
Concise Coding: Boilerplate code is said to be one of the significant drawbacks of Java that has been resolved with the introduction of Kotlin. Kotlin comes with fewer code lines, and as a result, it comprises lesser bugs within it. In addition to this, the codes existing within Kotlin are easier to read.
Higher Reliability: Kotlin has undergone several Alpha and Beta stages, unlike all other conservative languages like Swift, much before entering the market. That is why the latest version of Kotlin is highly mature, reliable, and has a lot of compatible operations.
Easy To Maintain: The Kotlin programming languages offer extensive support for various IDEs, including Android Studio. However, this makes it highly possible for developers to build solutions over multiple platforms and maintain them timely.
Java Interoperability: If talked about the biggest strength of Kotlin, then its high compatibility of Kotlin with Java code. Using this, developers can quickly call Java code from Kotlin and Kotlin code from Java without making much effort.
Weakness of Kotlin
Usability is limited: Kotlin is considered to be the perfect choice in every way possible when it comes to Android development. Although in the case of other applications, Kotlin proves to be not as much practical and applicable as Scala.
Fewer Numbers Kotlin Developers Are Available: Despite having so renowned and top-rated programming language called Kotlin in the market, only a few programmers are experts in the Kotlin development sector. Moreover, it is a prime limitation for considering Kotlin for JVM-based application development.
Substandard Pattern Matching: In the case of Kotlin, pattern matching is not fully supported. A possible one can achieve a similar result with an intelligent application, and here is Scala wins the race.
Bigger Community: For almost 15 years, Scala has been in this industry, and numerous developers have worked and have been working with it; this can is the primary reason why lots of tutorials, resources, and helpful answers are presented on various public forums such as Reddit, Stack Overflow, etc.
Highly Scalable: Being highly scalable is another plus point of Scala-based development. Developers can merge different paradigms or prototypes and introduce a massive range of features into the development environment while working with this JVM language.
Flexible Syntax: High flexibility in coding is what Scala provides. Scala’s coding is based on writing once and then running anywhere by combining it with a functional coding style. That is why Scala is considered the best choice for newbie developers.
Enhanced Quality: Since it is known that minimum numbers of code lines are written within the Scala environment, hence it becomes easier for developers to deliver a prestigious and bug-free experience to the clients and even to the users. It keeps on giving better results from its Quality assured processes.
Weaknesses of Scala
Compilation Speed Is Slow: The slow speed of the compilation process is said to be one of the significant drawbacks of Scala-based development, is its slow compilation. In simpler words, we can say that when there is a complex enterprise-grade program, Scala stands out to be a lot more time-consuming for compiling codes and programs than Java and Kotlin.
Safety Management Inefficiency Is Null: Many developers find Scala’s approach ineffectual and quite simple in dealing with NPE, as well as Scala substitutes null values with the option. However, this adds some significant complexity to the code, and the reason behind this addition of complexity is that it requires to be used openly.
Difficult To Understand: Since it is very well known that Scala codes are both object-oriented and functional concepts, figuring out information within the code gets a bit hard sometimes.
Why And Where To Use Kotlin And Scala Programming Languages?
However, we all know that there’s a surge in searches related to Kotlin compared to Scala. Still, with Kotlin vs Scala using cases, you can come up with your application requirements and examine how these languages can prove helpful.
Why Use Kotlin?
Why use Kotlin? What is the need to use Kotlin? These are the questions that are being asked quite often. Here exist the concise syntax that implies that you need to write less code, and as a result, you can get an effective outcome with ease. However, it proves to be a good choice for newbies because, with Kotlin, they can get up and running faster with more effective lines of code.
Uses of Kotlin
Given below are some uses cases of Kotlin:
- Because of high integration, Kotlin is considered the best choice ever made for projects related to development. These come into use when some parts need to be written using Kotlin. Talking about others; they are written using Java programming language whose one alternative is Kotlin itself.
- Kotlin-based development services can run perfectly with various other modern programming languages like Swift. However, Swift programming languages can be used majorly over devices with IPadOs, IOs, WatchOs, tvOS, Windows, Linux, and even macOS.
- It reduces boilerplate code that cannot be initiated in languages like Java and this even has a short learning curve.
Why Use Scala?
Scala programming is beneficial for object-oriented and functional programming as it allows you to use the best of both worlds. This language uses an OOP syntax that provides a lot of flexibility to the code in terms of functional programming. This language helps developers to write code quickly while at the same time avoiding bugs.
Uses of Scala
Mentioned below are use cases of Scala-based development:
- Scala is known as the best option for both small and large teams, and that’s only because of its high efficiency, concise nature, and straightforward code that makes it run smoothly and effectively.
- Looking for better speed while writing clear codes, the Scala programming language is perfect for you. However, there will be fewer bugs within the code with its improved speed.
- Scala is said to be best for building complex, multi-threaded systems.
Q: Is Scala like Kotlin?
Ans: Kotlin is a JVM language that operates on the java virtual machine while Scala is an open-source programming language, they both are the most widely used language but poses differences in term of speed and size of code. Scala is termed on behalf of scalable language while Kotlin is named on an island.
Q: Is Twitter still using Scala?
Ans: No! Twitter is not moving away from Scala as Scala continues to grow at a faster rate internally than any other language, and is 50% of twitter’s backend codebase. If we look at Twitter’s public repositories on Github, the most common language used by users is still Scala.
Q: What is special about Kotlin?
Ans: Kotlin is staticallyand strongly typed and it offers inferred typing. People get the compile time safety while writing Kotlin which they want, but they get to be lazy. Programmers become happy due to this combination of attributes.
Q: Is Kotlin is good for 2022?
Ans: Yes! Kotlin is the best option to choose as Kotlin is a static type, the object-oriented programming language that runs on the java virtual machine, java libraries, and Android. Also, Kotlin consumes less time for developers as Kotlin language gives briefer and less redundant code.
Here we concluded that Kotlin and Scala are powerful and popular development frameworks. Kotlin is a JVM language that operates on the java virtual machine. On the other hand, Scala is an open-source programming language; they are the most widely used language but differ in speed and few other functionalities.
Deciding between these frameworks based on the kind of app you require is now the most crucial and critical step. But obtaining a feature-rich and effective app, it is more vital to consult with a reputable app development service rather than picking between Kotlin and Scala.