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JetBrains whips covers off Kotlin programming language version 1.6.0

JetBrains has unveiled the latest version of its Java-alternative Kotlin programming language, boasting improvements to multiple language and library features.

Alina Grebenkina, writing for JetBrains, said Kotlin 1.6.0 has been officially released with Stable exhaustive whens, Kover, and a new memory manager for Kotlin/Native.

“Other language and standard library features released in 1.5.30 became Stable as well,” she said.

Sealed (exhaustive) ‘when’ statements have been long awaited partly because this will make the Kotlin compiler warn developers if their ‘when’ statements are not exhaustive, improving code safety, according to Grebenkina.

“This is a great help, both in writing code and for future maintenance. If you add a different type of contact preference later, you know that the compiler will make sure you have not forgotten to handle the different types of contact preferences all around your code,” Grebenkina said.

Non-exhaustive ‘when’ statements on sealed class/interface will be prohibited in version 1.7, adding an ‘is InstantMessage’ branch or ‘else’ branch instead, she said.

Users of JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio can update to the new Kotlin release automatically as soon as it becomes available, Grebenkina said. Problems can be solved with JetBrains on Slack.

Previous release Kotlin 1.5.30 introduced multiple experimental language and library features ahead of release in 1.6.0.

This included the -Xunrestricted-builder-inference compiler option, which made type information about a builder call available to get inside builder lambdas — starting with 1.6.0, you don’t need to specify -Xunrestricted-builder-inference to make previously prohibited calls, she said.

More info on the enhancements is available here.

JetBrains first launched the Kotlin statically typed programming language for the JVM in July 2011.

Kotlin has evolved from a Java alternative to a whole ecosystem that allows writing code for different purposes, including server-side, mobile, web front-end, data science, and even multi-platform projects,” Grebenkina wrote in mid-year 2021.

“Kotlin popularity grows in different areas, including server-side and education.”

( Logo copyright © JetBrains 2021 )

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