JetBrains Announce Kotlin

JetBrains’ New JVM Language

Jessica Thornsby
JetBrains-New-JVM-Language

New, statically-typed JVM-targeted programming language from JetBrains.

JetBrains have launched a new statically-typed JVM-targeted
programming language, Kotlin. This project aims to be more concise and safer
than Java, and simpler than Scala, which JetBrains refer to as “the
most mature competitor.” The compiler emits Java byte-code, and
Kotlin can call Java, and vice versa. Kotlin supports higher-order
functions and function literals, its generics support
declaration-site variance and usage-site variance, and Kotlin
infers type arguments when generic functions are called, as well as
types of variables from their initialisers.

At the Kotlin webpage, there is a simple Hello World example of
Kotlin in action:

On the topic of ‘why do we need another new language?’ JetBrains
argue:

“We know that Java is going to stand long, but we believe that
the community can benefit from a new statically typed JVM-targeted
language free of the legacy trouble and having the features so
desperately wanted by the developers.”

At his blog, Cédric Beust, creator of TestNG, also
argues that Kotlin is needed. He states that new languages are
exciting, and that it’s likely Kotlin’s IDE support will be
well-thought out, as JetBrains are building the compiler and the
IDEA support in lockstep. He is also enthusiastic about reified
generics, calling Kotlin “probably the very first time that we see
a JVM language with true support for reified generics,” and is
hopeful about the amount of effort JetBrains will put into this
language, as its success will most likely translate into the sale
of more IDEA licenses.

Although the language currently only targets the Java platform,
according to the project’s FAQ, “JavaScript seems to be the most attractive
second target.”

A public beta is planned by the end of 2011, and as soon as this
beta is released, the compiler and the IntelliJ IDEA plugin will be
open sourced under the Apache 2 license.

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