Kotlin vs Groovy

Let’s get a formal introduction to both the programming languages before we dive into the comparison section.

Groovy is a dynamic scripting language for Java platform. Groovy shows very close similarities with Java. However, safe navigation operator (?.), the concept of Closures, Traits, runtime dispatching of methods, Groovy String, Array initialization etc are a few of the Groovy features missing from Jave. If you are a Java developer, you will find the syntax to be surprisingly similar, easy to learn and less verbose.

Kotlin is a statically typed programming language which runs on JVM. It was initially developed by JetBrains and was open sourced in the year 2012. Although Kotlin shows many advancements over Java such as null safety, type inference, operator overloading etc, it lacks certain properties such as ternary operator and checked exceptions. Despite their differences, they are completely interoperable which means they can co-exist in the same application.

Both, Kotlin and Groovy are JVM languages, reduce boilerplate and are developer friendly. Let’s jump into the comparison of Groovy with Kotlin.

The Differences:

  1. Kotlin is statically typed language whereas Groovy is dynamically typed language. This means that the type of a variable should be known at compile time.
    However, since Groovy 2.0, it is possible to enable static type checking using `@CompileStatic` annotation in Groovy code as well.
  2. Ternary operator: Both, Groovy and Kotlin provide Elvis operator but the ternary operator is missing from the latter.
  3. Kotlin is null-safe which is perhaps the most valued feature of Kotlin. The null safety feature of Kotlin protects developers from accessing the properties of a null reference. This feature is missing even in Java. Read more about null safety feature here
  4. In Kotlin, a class can be marked as a data class. The standard functionality and utility functions are already present in these data classes. Groovy 1.8 introduced a few new transformations which include @ToString and @EqualsAndHashCode. These annotations can be used to implement a few similar features provided in a Kotlin data class.

Apart from these few differences, Groovy and Kotlin show a lot of similarities. The syntax is different but the functionalities are present one way or another. The only big difference we find is the nature of the compilation.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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