Kotlin has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past few years. When we first issued a developer walkthrough in 2016, it seemed like relatively few people had ever heard of the language; by May 2019, Google announced that Android app development would become increasingly “Kotlin-first,” cementing the language’s place as a buzz-y up-and-comer.
But how do people actually use Kotlin? Fortunately, JetBrains (which created the language in
ye olden days of 2011) has some new data
on the language’s penetration, courtesy of surveying nearly 7,000 developers,
and uncovered some interesting data points.
First and foremost, it’s clear that mobile development is the key driver of Kotlin adoption, with 62 percent of developers saying they use it build mobile apps; web backend projects came in a distant second, with 41 percent, followed by libraries with 29 percent and tooling with 22 percent. (Only 9 percent of respondents used the language for desktop apps, and 7 percent leveraged it for building for the Internet of Things.)
And in a totally unsurprising twist, some 66 percent of
developers told JetBrains that they target Android, versus 57 percent who say
they target Java Virtual Machine (or JVM, a virtual machine that allows PCs to
run Java programs in addition to programs created in other languages and
compiled to Java bytecode). So it’s safe to say that Android is driving the
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In late 2018, an analysis of Dice data found that the