All You Need to Know About Kotlin Multiplatform

Kotlin Multiplatform is a Software development kit that is quite better than other cross-platform app development options. In this tutorial on Kotlin multiplatform, you will learn all about this kit in detail.

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What Is Kotlin Multiplatform?

Kotlin multiplatform is a feature released in 2017 with Kotlin 1.2. This feature allows you to write the same code on multiple platforms directly, it focuses on cross-platform app development. It is based on the idea of the ‘Write Once Run Anywhere’ approach, but it takes the concept of Write Once Run Anywhere to a much higher level, in which you can write the code once and target multiple platforms. 

Kotlin multiplatform programming enables developers to solve the problem of platform-specific dependencies. It reduces time spent on writing and maintaining the same code for different platforms. The Kotlin Multiplatform allows you to include other platforms like Linux, Windows, and the web (JavaScript), while its subset Kotlin multiplatform mobile allows the developers to write business logic code for iOS and Android from a single codebase.

How Does Kotlin Multiplatform Work?

Kotlin for iOS, Android, and other popular operating systems allows you to store the reusable pieces of code for two or more app versions.    

So, take Android and iOS for instance. The shared business logic code for Android gets converted to Java bytecode that can be executed in JVM and Android has the virtual machine, so it can easily run it. But in the case of iOS, there is no virtual machine, so the code is converted to the native code that can be executed on iOS.

Now in the Kotlin compiler, there is a frontend that converts the code into an intermediate representation known as IR, and the backend converts that intermediate representation to machine-executable code.

So in the case of android, it converts it into java bytecode, and for iOS, it converts it into iOS native machine code.

Kotlin Common Code

To make common Kotlin code run, Kotlin provides platform-specific compilers. To convert the code according to different platforms, it provides different compilers. These platform-specific versions include Kotlin/ JVM, Kotlin/ JavaScript, and Kotlin/ Native. These versions contain platform-specific tools, libraries, and extensions to the Kotlin language.

Kotlin_Multiplatform_1.

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Each platform-specific version includes various platforms; for example, JVM has Java 8, Java 6, and Android, then the JavaScript includes Browser and Node, and the Native has iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.

kotlin_Multiplatform_2

Multiplatform libraries help develop shared parts of the project in one area by providing APIs for common Kotlin code and later sharing it with all the target platforms.

The versions of platform-specific libraries provide the libraries that can be used to increase the platform-specific capabilities of the platforms that are targeted.

How Does Multiplatform Differ From Cross Platform?

A multiplatform is a system where a program for different platforms uses both of the codes specific to each platform together with a common code, shared by both the platforms.

A cross-platform application is a system that allows an application to be deployed with the use of the exact same application code.

The main focus of the Kotlin multiplatform is on sharing the common code, and the multiplatform is considered as an advancement to the native development.

Advantages of Kotlin Multiplatform

  • Support and community: Many companies and organizations are opting Kotlin language. Also, after the google announcement of Kotlin as a preferred for android, many companies are opting for this language. Many users started working on this language, which means there is huge community support for the Kotlin language.
  • Quick and clean code: In Kotlin multiplatform, you don't have to recreate and rewrite the code for different platforms. You can simply share the common code between platforms, which saves a huge amount of time. Features like interoperability make things very easy and quick as well, and there is no lagging behind the native platforms; because of that, the developers don't have to wait until the new features are added for the support.
  • Fast development: Code sharing saves a lot of time and helps in making the development process much faster and easier. Its features, including null safety, IDE support, and interoperability with Java, make it less complex and fast.
  • One language for cross-platform and native apps: Most cross-platform app development tools don’t allow to use the capabilities native to iOS and Android devices. In Kotlin, you don’t need to introduce any new programming language to the codebase. It is easy to make your android app work on iOS devices without changing much in code.

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Companies Opting for Kotlin Multiplatform

  • Netflix: The popular OTT platform Netflix has rebuilt the current UI player in the Netflix Android application using Kotlin.
  • Autodesk: Autodesk is a multinational software corporation. Kotlin works well with iOS and android without any Java native interface, which is a major reason for the company to opt for Kotlin multiplatform.
  • Vmware: Vmware is an American cloud computing and virtualization technology company. The Vmware development team wanted a cross-platform strategy for mobile applications, then the Kotlin multiplatform was selected, and now it is the “default, go-to framework of choice” for VMware.
  • Trello: Trello is a project management application. The android application of Trello is built using Kotlin. Trello uses Kotlin because of its interoperability with Java. 
  • Philips: Philips is a very popular multinational corporation, and surely you have heard about this company. In Philips, Kotlin Multiplatform proved to be faster at implementing new features and also to get more interaction in the team between Android and iOS developers.
  • Ice Rock: Ice Rock, an outsourcing company that provides mobile and backend solutions for various industries and market segments, uses Kotlin multiplatform mobile to create applications for its clients.
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Conclusion

In this tutorial on Kotlin multiplatform, you understood how Kotlin multiplatform works and learned what Kotlin multiplatform is. You also learned about the Kotlin common code and understood the advantages of the Kotlin multiplatform. At last, you took a look at companies opting for Kotlin multiplatform.

If you are looking to build a software development career, you can check the Post-Graduate Program in Full Stack Development by Simplilearn. It can be the ideal solution to help you build your career in the right direction.

Do you have any questions regarding this tutorial on Kotlin Multiplatform? If you do, then you can put them in the comments section. We’ll help you solve your queries.  

About the Author

Harsh BhardwajHarsh Bhardwaj

Harsh is a Research Analyst at Simplilearn. He has a good hand at C++, Java, CSS, SQL, and a good grasp of Kotlin language. Harsh is quite interested in traveling, spirituality, and playing football.

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