Learn how to choose the correct programming language for your project. In this article, we compare the features of Kotlin and Dart, two popular programming languages, and highlight their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each language, you can make an informed decision that meets the requirements of your project.
How to choose the right programming language?
The classic methods of decision-making on programming languages can be difficult and are often on the side of the developer's subjective personal preferences. However, this choice can be more convenient when underlying assumptions about its functionality are handled with a SWOT analysis approach. Using the results of the analysis, developers can carry out their choices in a way that meets the requirements of the project.
SWOT analysis for programming languages
We have selected two important competitors for programming languages in the market and compared their features, which can help to identify key differences. The first language commonly used in programming is the cross-platform and general-purpose programming language - Kotlin. Released to users in September 2011 by JetBrains, it comes with a standard Java Class Library dependency. From the outset, it was designed for Java-enabled JVMs.
Although the two languages were announced almost simultaneously Kotlin was recognized by users much earlier since it was compatible with Java right from the start. Kotlin's status in the market was underlined in 2017 by Google when it announced Kotlin as the preferred programming language for Android. Compared to Dart, its initiative was criticized for web fragmentation (as a downside of the implementation originally planned for Chrome). With the release of Dart 2.0 in 2018 with language changes, including a type system giving users new methods added to the core library classes, the differences between Kotlin were minimized and allowed Dart to increase its popularity.
Defining strengths of programming languages
The strengths of programming languages are characterized by specific features that are not simultaneously available in both. When addressing the competitive advantages of each programming language, programmers can consider several different strengths of each language.
- Async language support -asynchronous operations in Dart allow the program to run in unbreakable mode. This means that Dart will not completely debug a function while the code being executed has not been integrated into the whole procedure. Instead of being blocked, it waits in the queue until the procedure is complete and then it returns to the debugged object.
- Fast performance – Dart runs much faster as can be clearly seen by building the application in Flutter. The speed is mainly measured on the UI of the application and results in 60 frames per second (fps).
- JVM and Java support - Kotlin initiates interoperability in these two languages. At the same time, it extends the possibilities wherever Java has been implemented as web servers, mobile devices, and desktop applications. Adapting Kotlin for projects with a Java-based ecosystem is much easier and less risky.
- Additional tools - it supports more command-line tools as any Java IDE (Integrated Development Environment), making it more suitable for Java. These include Ant, Gradle, Maven, Spring Boot, and IntelliJ.
Focus on weaknesses
To make a more reliable choice of programming languages for application development projects, it is important to consider those features that imply inconveniences among developers. Weaknesses should be noted before we make a final choice for our project.
- Lack of SQL-based access - the lack of this feature in Dart forces the use of third-party packages and this will have a direct impact on the developer experience.
- Weak asynchronous language support - Kotlin does not support most asynchronous language capabilities, thus async and await are not approved keywords. Developers are forced to use coroutines to run asynchronous operations.
- Limited library - the Kotlin library is relatively small. It mainly consists of selected extensions to the standard Java library and as such does not add additional runtime overhead to various Java projects.
Opportunities for developers
SWOT underlines the external capabilities that can be valuable to developers when deciding to develop applications. By taking a closer look at what the competitive advantages are in terms of external factors of each language, we can outline these key values initially:
- Google support - Dart drives the Flutter platform and brings together a visible number of users who want to engage with Google apps in a more relevant environment. Using Dart on Flutter requires less technical knowledge as the platform supports ready-made widgets.
- Dart 2.0 – the newest version of Dart provides Better Client-Side Development within improved UI and extends standard features giving developers more room to build more comprehensive apps.
- Support for Android - Kotlin is built into Android Studio 3.0. The integration of Kotlin plugins makes Kotlin more relevant to this platform in the Android app development process.
- Higher ranking in developer choices - In most comparisons and rankings on social media dedicated to developers, Kotlin is above Dart, sometimes by up to 10 positions. Kotlin is more often chosen by developers, making it a more convenient choice.
Consider the risks and threats
Programmers can see different features that distinguish comparison between the risks and benefits of using programming languages. Wrong selected language can cause various problems in long-term development projects.
- Commercial application - developers should consider new logic in understanding the Dart language, which causes errors and leads to learning a new type of coding. Applications built in Dart on the Flutter platform use more data space, making them much larger.
- Internal standard library - the extensive core library limits the use of external resources, resulting in a lack of external libraries and integrations.
- Lack of Hot Reload – developers cannot see the changes that have been made to the code without reloading the entire application, as hot reloading is not supported.
- Higher costs – costs of building applications can be higher because Kotlin requires more resources in building applications for different platforms.
Which one is best for your app development?
Kotlin and Dart present two different approaches to application development. In terms of association with certain properties, we can see that both are object-oriented programming languages that are free and can be implemented for mobile, desktop, and web devices. The syntaxes of the languages are quite similar at some point. But it is evident that Kotlin will be more suitable for Android applications and easier to learn for users familiar with Java. Dart, on the other hand, seems to be more complicated when it comes to programming and learning its logic, but not when using it on the Flutter platform, where building apps seems to be much easier. The outcome of the final decision in the developers' choices can be verified by the project's detailed business requirements and user preferences.
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The choice between Dart and Kotlin may be a questionable one, but it does not have to be difficult if you can rely on the knowledge of experts. Score Digital can help you extend the potential of your business. We can help you with an outlook and sharpen your concept of app development. We can encompass the analyses and decisions regarding the advantages of tools dedicated to the entire process. If you are looking for app development experts, we are the right choice for you. Contact us today to find out more about how we can support your project.