JetBrains open-sources Kotlin language

Built as a general-purpose language, Kotlin can be compiled to the JVM or JavaScript

JetBrains has made a preliminary version of Kotlin, its statically compiled language that compiles to Java Virtual Machine byte code and JavaScript, available via open source, the company said on Tuesday.

Developers can access the Kotlin compiler, as well as enhancements to basic Java libraries, build tools for Ant and Maven integration, and a plug-in to JetBrains's IntelliJ Idea IDE. Besides using IntelliJ, developers also can work with a text editor or access a Kotlin Web demo, said Andrey Breslav, Kotlin lead designer at JetBrains.

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Source code for Kotlin is available on github. Snapshot builds and source are available under an Apache 2 license.

"Basically, this is a general-purpose language so you can write any app in it," such as a enterprise business, mobile, or Web application, Breslav said. For browser applications, developers can compile Kotlin applications to JavaScript.

A beta release of Kotlin is hoped for this year or next, with a 1.0 release to follow. Kotlin joins other alternatives to Java on the JVM, such as Groovy and JRuby.

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