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The golden age of Kotlin and its uncertain future

read: HN

there have been several languages targeted at the JVM attempting to improve developer ergonomics (groovy, scala, clojure, ...).

the author argues that java tends to wait and see and then cherry pick the features that prove themselves valuable.

  1. as java does have more resources it'll always have better tooling.
  2. java itself is too big to die, mostly due to corporations and tons of legacy code.

the upstart projects usually have less manpower to innovate much beyond their initial set of foundational ideas that made them take off. after a while, java tends to integrate the juiciest bits, diminishing the unique selling point of its competitors.

does the same apply to kotlin? has kotlin's downfall already begun? imo, no / not yet.

for one, there's been massive buy-in from google for the Android platform. this alone significantly changes the game.

then kotlin has corporate backing from Jet_Brains, and, via android, indirectly also from Google.

and lastly, in my personal opinion, kotlin has a few killer features that aren't present in java and would be very hard to steal, as they'd fundamentally change java's characteristics and compatibility to earlier versions.

as for coroutines vs. virtual_threads: kotlin did profit from virtual threads for free. that's not an argument for java, it's one for kotlin.

all in all, i see the authors point, but i don't think we've reached the point of kotlins decline for at least a few more years.

tags: kotlin java IntelliJ_IDEA

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last edited by: stefs at Friday, January 12, 2024, 9:17:08 AM Central European Standard Time

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