Kotlin: Java for the New Millenium

by Colin Lee | at MinneBar 12 | 3:00 – 3:50 in Challenge | View Schedule

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TL,DR: Learn about the hottest new language taking Android and server developers away from Java.

Kotlin. It's not just a small tourist town in Poland. It's also a new Java Virtual Machine (JVM) language.

The Kotlin language was initially conceived over five years ago by the JetBrains team in Russia that built highly regarded integrated development environments (IDEs). Some of their products include IntelliJ, Android Studio, PhpStorm, PyCharm, RubyStorm, and WebStorm.

JetBrains liked the JVM, but were underwhelmed by the state of programming languages for the JVM. Java is a solid language, but the standards committee moves slowly and backwards compatibility hamstrings it. Many feel that some modern language features might never reach Java.

Kotlin came about because JetBrains wanted a modern language with the utility of Scala, but with shorter compile times and backwards compatibility with mature Java libraries.

Kotlin was designed to have:

  • Full Java Interoperability

  • Compilation as fast as Java

  • Safer defaults than Java

  • More concise code than Java

  • Simpler code than Scala

My talk will investigate the reasons why Kotlin is among the fastest growing JVM languages today.

A depiction of the growth of Kotlin usage


Colin Lee

Colin is an experienced software engineer specializing in Android development. He worked for Mozilla on the Firefox for Android rewrite. He has worked for many successful companies in the past fifteen years, including Amazon, Flipgrid (acquired by Microsoft), Cray, Pearson VUE, and When I Work. He runs the Twin Cities Kotlin User Group in his spare time. He now works full-time for Meetup and enjoys traveling the world during their generous paid time off.

He has been programming since he learned BASIC on the TRS-80 computer in his parents' basement at age six. He has been writing Android apps since soon after the first Android phone launched and has done so professionally since the last space shuttle landed. In that time, he's probably been pitched every silly app idea and been offered a percent stake in the zero dollars most actually earned.