I'm looking for a programming language (+ compiler obviously):

  • not Java;
  • programs must run on Android 2.1 ("API version 7");
  • open-source;
  • "more concise than Java" - I know this is soft requirement and somewhat subjective, so let's say this is optional;
    • (also here I'd prefer not brainfuck or other similarly "esoteric"; but e.g. Forth or something like that would be ok)
  • should produce not too big apps ("hello world" < 1MB);
  • must be able to build full GUI (i.e. Activities etc.) without any Java stubs/... - not one line of Java;
  • also, should really support multithreaded programming;
  • should be stable.

For now I tried Kawa; looked very good initially, but I seem to encounter some exceptions I can't really understand why; generally after some time I feel there's too much fighting with the compiler for me.

[edit] Tried Mirah+"Pindah" too, but it seems to have got defunct somewhere between Java 6 and 7; when building sample project with rake debug, in Java 6 I get error: "NameError: cannot link Java class mirah.impl.MirahParser, probable missing dependency: mirah/impl/MirahParser : Unsupported major.minor version 51.0", while in Java 7: "taskdef class org.mirah.ant.Compile cannot be found".

[edit] According to one blog post, Scala 2.11 is reportedly not compatible with Android API 8 and earlier, so I assume I can rule out Scala before even trying.

[edit] Pending research for the following:
HolonJ Forth -- seems to target JVM 1.2, so not sure if not too old;
Bigloo Scheme -- but Windows builds of the compiler seem to lag ~2 years, so I'd have to try building in MSYS;
...todo: moar from the Wikipedia list: Ceylon? Joy? Fantom?...

  • Why can't you use Java?
    – Milo
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 9:38
  • What about using C++ in conjunction with the native development kit (NDK)?
    – ComFreek
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 9:54
  • @ComFreek AFAIK, with NDK I can't use GUI and I have to write a Java stub for each Activity, isn't that true? Also, I believe the NDK API is severely limited, no?
    – akavel
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 12:32
  • @Milo I can't force myself to continue working on certain project I started in Java. I want to try completing it, but I need some way to reduce frustration level.
    – akavel
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 12:42
  • @akavel It seems that you are indeed limited as long as you don't create a bridge to Java. See stackoverflow.com/questions/10583713/… and codeproject.com/Articles/396538/…
    – ComFreek
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 8:46

2 Answers 2


Yeti is ML style functional programming language.

  • I verified it builds for and runs on Android 2.1 emulator;
  • open-source, BSD-licensed;
  • ML-family language, so I expect it to be more concise than Java;
  • entire yeti.jar is ~570KB;
  • can emit Java classes extending others (thus Android Activities too), so can build Android GUI;
  • no idea about multithreading for now.
  • As of now, this feels fun! And, to my surprise, I feel like quietly cheating on Java... And it already helped me push the app forward, so it's only right to call Yeti the winner! at least for now.
    – akavel
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 6:41

So, at the time of writing (09.2014), Kotlin seems a viable alternative.

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