# Kotlin for Java Developers

Most people coming to Kotlin do have a programming background in Java.

This topic collects examples comparing Java to Kotlin, highlighting the most important differences and those gems Kotlin offers over Java.

# Declaring Variables

In Kotlin, variable declarations look a bit different than Java's:

val i : Int = 42

  • They start with either `val` or `var`, making the declaration `final` ("**val**ue") or **var**iable.
  • The type is noted after the name, separated by a `:`
  • Thanks to Kotlin's **type inference** the explicit type declaration can be obmitted if there is an assignment with a type the compiler is able to unambigously detect
  • Java Kotlin
    int i = 42; var i = 42 (or var i : Int = 42)
    final int i = 42; val i = 42

    # Quick Facts

    • Kotlin does not need ; to end statements
    • Kotlin is null-safe
    • Kotlin is 100% Java interoperable
    • Kotlin has no primitives (but optimizes their object counterparts for the JVM, if possible)
    • Kotlin classes have properties, not fields
    • Kotlin offers data classes with auto-generated equals/hashCode methods and field accessors
    • Kotlin only has runtime Exceptions, no checked Exceptions
    • Kotlin has no new keyword. Creating objects is done just by calling the constructor like any other method.
    • Kotlin supports (limited) operator overloading. For example, accessing a value of a map can be written like: val a = someMap["key"]
    • Kotlin can not only be compiled to byte code for the JVM, but also into Java Script, enabling you to write both backend and frontend code in Kotlin
    • Kotlin is fully compatible with Java 6, which is especially interesting in regards for support of (not so) old Android devices
    • Kotlin is an officially supported language for Android development
    • Kotlin's collections have built-in disctinction between mutable and immutable collections.
    • Kotlin supports Coroutines (experimental)

    # Equality & Identity

    Kotlin uses == for equality (that is, calls equals internally) and === for referential identity.

    Java Kotlin
    a.equals(b); a == b
    a == b; a === b
    a != b; a !== b

    See: https://kotlinlang.org/docs/reference/equality.html (opens new window)

    # IF, TRY and others are expressions, not statements

    In Kotlin, if, try and others are expressions (so they do return a value) rather than (void) statements.

    So, for example, Kotlin does not have Java's ternary Elvis Operator, but you can write something like this:

    val i = if (someBoolean) 33 else 42

    Even more unfamiliar, but equally expressive, is the try expression:

    val i = try {
    catch (ex : Exception)