Shift from Java to Kotlin in SUSI Android

Shift from Java to Kotlin in SUSI Android

Previously SUSI Android was written in JAVA. But recently Google announced that it will officially support Kotlin on Android as a first class language so we decided to shift from Java to Kotlin. Kotlin runs on Java Virtual Machine and hence we can use Kotlin for Android app development. Kotlin is new programming language developed by JetBrains, which also developed IntelliJ-the IDE that Android Studio is based on. So Android Studio has excellent support for Kotlin.

Advantages of Kotlin over Java

  • Kotlin is a null safe language. It changes all the instances used in the code to non nullable type thus it ensures that the developers don’t get any nullPointerException.
  • Good Android Studio support. Kotlin tool is included with Android Studio 3.0 by default. But for Android Studio 2.x we need to install the required plugin for Kotlin.
  • Kotlin also provides support for Lambda function and other high order functions.
  • One of Kotlin’s greatest strengths as a potential alternative to Java is interoperability between Java and Kotlin. You can even have Java and Kotlin code existing side by side in the same project.
  • Kotlin provides the way to declare Extension function similar to that of C# and Gosu. We can use this function in the same way as we use the member functions of our class.

After seeing the above points it is now clear that Kotlin is much more effective than Java. In this blog post, I will show you how ForgotPasswordActivity is shifted from JAVA to Kotlin in SUSI Android.

How to install Kotlin plugin in Android Studio 2.x

We are using Android Studio 2.3.0 in our android project. To use Kotlin in Android Studio 2.x we need to install Kotlin plugin.

Steps to include Kotlin plugin in Android Studio 2.x are:

  • Go to File
  • After that select Settings
  • Then select Plugin Option from the left sidebar.
  • After that click on Browse repositories.
  • Search for Kotlin and install it.

Once it is installed successfully, restart Android Studio. Now configure Kotlin in Android Studio.

Shift  SUSI Android from JAVA to Kotlin

Kotlin is compatible with JAVA. Thus it allows us to change the code bit by bit instead of all at once. In SUSI Android app we implemented MVP architecture with Kotlin. We converted the code by one activity each time from JAVA to Kotlin. I converted the ForgotPassword of SUSI Android from JAVA to Kotlin with MVP architecture. I will discuss only shifting of SUSI Android from JAVA to Kotlin and not about MVP architecture implementation.

First thing is how to extend parent class. In JAVA we need to use extend keyword

public class ForgotPasswordActivity extends AppCompatActivity

but in Kotlin parent class is extended like

class ForgotPasswordActivity : AppCompatActivity ()

Second is no need to bind view in Kotlin. In JAVA we bind view using Butter Knife.

@BindView(R.id.forgot_email)

protected TextInputLayout email;

and

email.setError(getString(R.string.email_invalid_title));

but in Kotlin we can directly use view using id.

forgot_email.error = getString(R.string.email_invalid_title)

Another important thing is that instead of using setError and getError we can use only error for both purposes.

forgot_email.error

It can be used to get error in TextInputLayout ‘forgot_email’ and

forgot_email.error = getString(R.string.email_invalid_title)

can be use to set error in TextInputLayout ‘forgot_email’.

Third one is in Kotlin we don’t need to define variable type always

val notSuccessAlertboxHelper = AlertboxHelper(this@ForgotPasswordActivity, title, message, null, null, button, null, color)

but in JAVA we need to define it always.

AlertboxHelper notSuccessAlertboxHelper = new AlertboxHelper(ForgotPasswordActivity.this, title, message, null, null, positiveButtonText, null, colour);

And one of the most important feature of Kotlin null safety. So you don’t need to worry about NullPointerException. In java we need to check for null otherwise our app crash

if (url.getEditText() == null)

      throw new IllegalArgumentException(“No Edittext hosted!”);

But in Kotlin there is no need to check for null. You need to use ’?’ and Kotlin will handle it itself.  

input_url.editText?.text.toString()

You can find the previous ForgotPasswordActivity here. You can compare it with new ForgotPaswordActivity.

Reference

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