Kotlin vs Scala- The comparison

Kotlin vs scala

Have you ever heard about Kotlin, Scala, Clojure, Groovy? These 4 languages are alternatives to Java for app development. The slow development of the Java language has led to rising attention in the JVM programming languages. There are more than 50 JVM languages. If you are familiar with them, then you will choose a new one for your next big app development project. Here we will discuss Kotlin vs Scala to help you make a smart and beneficial decision of switching from Java to other JVM languages.

Before digging into Kotlin vs Scala, let’s go through the Kotlin and it’s advantages.

What is Kotlin Programming Language?

Kotlin is an open-source, cross-platform, statically-typed programming language developed by JetBrains in 2011. It was recognized as an official Android programming language by Google in 2019 and has reached at the latest version, Kotlin 1.3.60. The language offers developers with multiple advantages as a response to Is Kotlin superior to Java. A few of which are as follows-

Benefits of Kotlin Programming Language

1.  More Reliable-

Unlike other conventional languages like Swift, Kotlin has accomplished various Alpha and Beta stages before entering into the market. Due to this, the latest version of Kotlin is highly developed, compatible and reliable to operate with.

2.  Higher Development Speed-

Kotlin encourages developers to perform any functionality by writing a less number of code lines. This improves productivity and also accelerates the application development process.

3.  Fail-fast System-

Another benefit of going with Kotlin language is that it avails a built-in fail-fast system which decreases the risk of errors in coding.

4. Easy to Maintain-

This language offers support for various IDEs including Android Studio. This makes it possible for developers to build solutions on various platforms and maintain them timely. Due to such advantages, Kotlin programming language has received support from different recognized brands such as Google, netflix, uber, FourSquare, Basecamp, Coursera.

Limitations of Kotlin Language

1.   Less Kotlin Developer Experts Available-

In spite of the high popularity of Kotlin, there are just a few software developers expert in Kotlin development in the market. This is the prime limitation of considering Kotlin for JVM based application development. 

This is the limitation of Kotlin language. Let us see Scala language.

What is Scala?

Scala is an open-source language that encourages an ideal blend of object-oriented and functional coding in a statically typed programming environment. The language was devised to address the cons of Java programming language in terms of general purpose and hence, can be a perfect Java alternative.

Features of Scala-

  • It is an Object-Oriented language
  • Also, it has a great system
  • Having a robust feature and Closures
  • Besides, it has Custom Control Structures
  • Additionally, has a robust quality
  • And, a wide collections

Pros of using Scala

1. Statically Typed-

Scala accompanies a highly expressive typing system that demands applications of statistical abstraction in an especially consistent and secure way. Essentially, the type system supports:

  • General Classes
  • Upper and Lower typing limit
  • Clearly written self-references
  • Polymorphic methods
  • As a member of internal class and abstract type items
  • Variable Annotations

2. Concise Coding-

The prominent reason why Scala is gaining more popularity these days is that it is highly concise. Scala requires less number of lines of code as compared to Java.

3. Highly Scalable-

Another benefit of Scala-based development is that it is more scalable. Developers can merge various paradigms and introduce a huge range of features into the development environment while working with this JVM language.

4. Typesafe Language-

Scala rises as a good resource in terms of type safety. Also, it allows you to create your own data types on the top of primitive ones and write a DSL for your project.

5. Enhanced Quality-

Since a less number of code lines are written in Scala environment, it gets simpler for developers to deliver a bug-free experience, a.k.a, get better results from the Quality assurance process.

6. Multi-Platform Presence-

Despite the fact that Scala primarily targets JVM platforms, it can be a good alternative for developing software that runs on multiple platforms.

Cons of Preferring Scala-

1. Difficult to Understand-

Since Scala codes are a blend of functional and object-oriented concepts, the information sometimes gets somewhat difficult to comprehend.

2. Slow Compilation Speed-

Another disadvantage of Scala is that it requires more time to compile complex codes. This results into slow compilation speed when compared with what is observed in the case of Java or Kotlin.

3. Issues with Binary Compilation-

It isn’t binary compatible with a few versions. For instance, a code that is compiled with Scala 2.1 probably won’t compile with Scala 2.11. This is one more limitation of picking Scala language. 

With this, you have gained all-inclusive information about the two JVM titans. This implies you may be interested to jump over to the difference between Kotlin and Scala to see which one wins the JVM war.

Before we compare Kotlin and Scala, let’s have a quick look at how Kotlin’s an improvement over Scala, and vice-versa.

What Kotlin offer that Scala does not?

1. Zero overhead null safety

2. Smart casts

3. Kotlin’s inline functions enable Nonlocal jumps

4. Member references

5. First-class delegations also implemented via third-party plugin: Autoproxy

What Scala offers that Kotlin Does not?

1. Overridable type formats

2. Complicated logic for initialization of traits

3. Path-dependent types

4. Built-in XML

5. Custom symbolic operations

6. Structural types

7. Macros

8. Existential types: Type projections are a very special case

Kotlin vs Scala-

1. Popularity-

With the support of Google, Kotlin has achieved success in the market much faster than expected. According to Google trends, there’s a rise in searches related to Kotlin when compared with Scala. This gives a clear sign that Kotlin is more in trend than Scala.

2. Ease of Learning-

Scala is a powerful language with highly-advantages features and flexible syntax. Hence, it is difficult for beginners to get their hands on this JVM programming language.

Whereas, the syntax of Kotlin is easy to understand. Also, Google introduces free Kotlin courses for Android developers, which again streamlines their journey in the Kotlin market. Hence, the winner of Kotlin and Scala war is the previous one, if the whole focus is on the ‘learning curve’.

3. Functional Programming-

It is true that both languages are known for their functional programming paradigm. But, with regards to Scala versus Kotlin comparison in terms of functional programming, the previous wins. Scala is more influenced by functional programming languages like Haskell than Kotlin. It allows the use of functional coding with some extra features like pattern matching and currying. Besides, the attempt of possible functional programming is more significant in the Scala environment.

4. Pattern Matching-

As mentioned above, Scala offers better opportunities for pattern matching than Kotlin. Its match statement allows developers to match any kind of information, including its own. Also, it shows full support for high-end and macros types. A result of this is that Scala is named as “Java’s switch on steroids” and is considered as a good fit for Big Data processing tasks.

5. App Performance-

Despite the fact that application performance relies upon the nature of the application, let’s consider an Android application for comparison of JVM languages. Scala is a good alternative for highly scalable Android application development services. Whereas, a Kotlin-based application will be easy to code and debug. As an effect, application performance will be higher in the case of Kotlin when compared with the other JVM language.

6. Operator Overloading-

It is important to consider this factor to realize whether to choose Scala or Kotlin for JVM-based development needs.

Kotlin focuses on making a balance between power and readability. It allows developers to overload the basic operators, but refrain them from defining new ones. This makes it simpler for one to understand Kotlin operators (even to beginners), but decreases the flexibility. 

Scala, as opposed to Kotlin, goes with a significant permissive way to overloading. This makes it simpler for developers to write more human-readable codes, and thus, makes it a good fit while creating internal domain-specific languages. But, simultaneously, it can result in confusion if used incorrectly.

7. Java Interoperability-

Despite the fact that both Kotlin and Scala are interoperable with Java, Kotlin leads the show if you wish to maintain full compatibility with existing Java-based projects and technologies.

Kotlin is designed to be 100% interoperable with Java. hence, you can easily call Kotlin code from Java and vice-versa. Moreover, you can employ existing Java-based frameworks like Java Server Faces (JSF), and ‘Vert.x’ framework while considering Kotlin for server-side development.

While, with regards to Scala, accessing Java classes in the development environment is simple. But, it is not possible to call Scala classes in the Java environment, particularly when working with advanced features of Scala as they might lack Java equivalent.

8. Community Support-

Being in the market for the past 15 years, Scala has a bigger community than that of Kotlin. This makes it simpler for application developers to find tutorials, solutions, and other resources related to Scala over Kotlin. In fact, if you check in Q&A site Stack Overflow, you’ll find about 3.8K questions related to Kotlin and 68.5K tagged with Scala.

So, when focusing on community support, Scala beats Kotlin in the JVM war.

Also you can compare Kotlin with Java at- Kotlin vs Java.

Final words-

Kotlin is an improvement over Scala in some ways, it lags behind the latter in others. This implies, there’s no end to the ‘Kotlin vs Scala’ debate. You can consult with Solace experts to choose the best one for your next project. We have dedicated experts to help you through development. Connect with Solace for efficient and effective app development using Scala or Kotlin. We will be happy to help you. 

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