Python to Kotlin

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How to convert from Python to Kotlin

Converting code from one programming language to another can be a daunting task, especially when moving between two fundamentally different languages like Python and Kotlin. While Python is dynamically typed and interpreted, Kotlin is statically typed and compiled. This guide will walk you through the process of converting from Python to Kotlin, highlighting key differences and providing useful coding examples.

Understanding the Basics

Variable Declaration and Initialization

In Python, variables are dynamically typed, meaning you don't need to explicitly declare their type:

x = 10
name = "Alice"

In Kotlin, you need to specify the type of the variable or allow the compiler to infer it:

val x: Int = 10
val name: String = "Alice"

Key Differences:

  • Python variables are dynamically typed.
  • Kotlin variables can be either immutable (val) or mutable (var).

Control Flow Statements

Conditional Statements

Python uses indentation to define code blocks, while Kotlin uses braces:

x = 10
if x > 5:
    print("x is greater than 5")

In Kotlin:

val x = 10
if (x > 5) {
    println("x is greater than 5")


For Loops

Python uses the for loop for iterating over sequences:

for i in range(5):

In Kotlin:

for (i in 0..4) {

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin uses ranges (0..4) for iteration.
  • The syntax for loops is different due to Kotlin's static typing and use of parentheses.


Defining functions in Python is straightforward:

def greet(name):
    return "Hello " + name

In Kotlin:

fun greet(name: String): String {
    return "Hello $name"

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin requires explicit type definitions for parameters and return values.
  • Kotlin supports string interpolation using the $ symbol.

Handling Nullability

Python allows any variable to be None:

x = None

In Kotlin, nullability needs to be explicitly defined:

var x: String? = null

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin distinguishes between nullable and non-nullable types, providing null safety.

Class and Object-Oriented Programming

Defining a class in Python:

class Person:
    def __init__(self, name, age): = name
        self.age = age

    def greet(self):
        return "Hello, my name is " +

In Kotlin, the class definition includes primary constructor parameters:

class Person(val name: String, val age: Int) {
    fun greet(): String {
        return "Hello, my name is $name"

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin's concise class definition with primary constructors.
  • Kotlin supports properties directly in the constructor parameter list.

Exceptions and Error Handling

Python uses try-except for handling exceptions:

    x = 1 / 0
except ZeroDivisionError as e:
    print("Error:", e)

In Kotlin:

try {
    val x = 1 / 0
} catch (e: ArithmeticException) {
    println("Error: ${e.message}")

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin uses try-catch blocks similar to Java.
  • Exception handling syntax varies slightly with an emphasis on type safety.

Collections and Their Initialization


Python list initialization:

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]

In Kotlin:

val fruits = listOf("apple", "banana", "cherry")

Dictionaries (Maps)

Python dictionary:

ages = {"Alice": 25, "Bob": 30}

In Kotlin:

val ages = mapOf("Alice" to 25, "Bob" to 30)

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin collections are strongly typed and immutable by default.
  • Use mutableListOf and mutableMapOf for mutable collections.

Higher-Order Functions and Lambdas

In Python:

def add(x, y):
    return x + y

def apply(func, x, y):
    return func(x, y)

result = apply(add, 3, 4)

In Kotlin:

fun add(x: Int, y: Int): Int = x + y

fun apply(func: (Int, Int) -> Int, x: Int, y: Int): Int {
    return func(x, y)

val result = apply(::add, 3, 4)

Key Differences:

  • Kotlin's concise syntax for defining higher-order functions.
  • Lambda expressions and function references use :: for clarity and type safety.


Converting from Python to Kotlin involves understanding the inherent differences between dynamic and static typing, syntax variations, and the additional features that Kotlin offers. While the transition requires adjusting to a more strict type system and Java-like syntax, Kotlin's modern features provide robust tools for building safer, more efficient applications.

By following this guide, anyone proficient in Python can start converting code to Kotlin more confidently, leveraging both languages' strengths in their respective use cases. Remember, the process may require multiple iterations and refinements to achieve optimal results. Happy coding!

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