Mastering CrossPlatform App Development with Kotlin Multiplatform

Neeraj Kumar
Neeraj Kumar, Chief Technical Manager at Binmile
Published on Oct 10, 2023 in App Development

In the ever-evolving world of mobile app development, catering to both Android and iOS users is paramount. However, achieving this feat often presents a significant challenge, especially for developers rooted in one platform, such as Android. In this comprehensive guide, brought to you by a leading mobile app development company, we will delve deep into the realm of cross-platform app development using Kotlin Multiplatform (KMM). By the end of this journey, you will not only understand the nuances of KMM but also have the tools and knowledge to excel in this exciting domain.

Why Cross-Platform Development Matters

Imagine you're an experienced Android developer with a groundbreaking app idea that's already garnered a significant following. You've dominated the Android ecosystem, but when it comes to expanding to iOS, things can get tricky. Developing a separate app for iOS would not only be resource-intensive but also time-consuming, potentially missing out on crucial market opportunities.

So, what's the most viable solution to bridge this gap efficiently? Enter Kotlin Multiplatform (KMM), the beacon guiding developers through the turbulent waters of cross-platform app development.

Demystifying Kotlin Multiplatform

Kotlin Multiplatform, often abbreviated as KMM, is a potent software development kit (SDK) designed to simplify the creation of cross-platform applications. With KMM, developers can craft applications that smoothly operate on both Android and iOS platforms. The beauty of KMM lies in its ability to streamline the process of sharing code and resources, making it an enticing choice for developers seeking a harmonious cross-platform app development experience.

Setting KMM Apart from Other Cross-Platform Approaches

When exploring the world of cross-platform development, alternatives such as Flutter and React Native often appear as viable options. However, Kotlin Multiplatform distinguishes itself in several key ways.

Firstly, KMM's interoperability with Java, a widely adopted language in Android development, sets it apart. Unlike Flutter, which utilizes Dart, and React Native, which relies on JavaScript, Kotlin Multiplatform empowers developers to work with a language they are already intimately familiar with. This fosters a smooth transition and enhances collaboration between Android and iOS development teams.

Moreover, KMM promotes the separation of user interface (UI) code for iOS and Android through the utilization of native code. This division of labor streamlines development efforts by concentrating on sharing a common codebase for essential functionality across platforms. Consequently, this approach minimizes code duplication, reduces development time, and proves to be a cost-effective solution for building cross-platform applications.

The Advantages of Embracing Kotlin Multiplatform

1. Ease of Learning: Kotlin's skyrocketing popularity and its striking similarity to languages like Swift and Java make it an accessible choice for developers. This reduced learning curve simplifies the transition into cross-platform development, lowering the entry barrier.

2. Single Codebase for Business Logic: KMM champions the use of a single codebase for core business logic. This means developers can share libraries and functionality beneath the UI layer, allowing them to interface directly with the respective Android or iOS environments.

3. Modular Integration: Unlike traditional frameworks, Kotlin Multiplatform operates as an SDK. This unique feature empowers teams with existing apps to integrate modules or test new functionalities without making a massive investment. This flexibility addresses the substantial hurdle of transitioning to a new codebase.

4. Enhanced Development Speed: Cross-platform applications frequently require similar elements such as authentication, business logic, data management, and analytics. KMM enables developers to share common code while crafting separate UI code for each platform. This simplification of the development process saves precious time and effort.

5. Reduced Bugs: Kotlin's elegant and concise code structure allows developers to identify and rectify imperfections before reaching the runtime stage. This proactive approach leads to a reduction in bugs, ultimately conserving both time and money spent on quality assurance procedures.

Getting Started with Kotlin Multiplatform

Before embarking on your cross-platform app development journey with Kotlin Multiplatform, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  • Java JDK Version 11
  • Ruby and Bundler
  • Android Studio (latest version)
  • Xcode (Version 11.3 or above)
  • Xcode command line developer tools
  • K Multiplatform Mobile plugin for Android Studio

With these foundations laid, let's walk through the steps to kickstart your first Kotlin Multiplatform project:

1. Open Android Studio: Launch Android Studio and select "New Project" from the welcome screen.

2. Choose KMM Application Template: Scroll down to find and select the "KMM Application" template. Proceed by clicking "Next."

3. Project Configuration: Fill in essential project details, including name, location, language, and minimum SDK. Click "Next."

4. App Naming: Specify the app name for Android and iOS platforms. Click "Finish" to proceed.

5. Commence Coding: With the project setup complete, it's time to dive into coding your Kotlin Multiplatform project.

6. Configure for the iOS Simulator: After coding, configure your project to run on the iOS Simulator. As part of this process, you'll need to install Xcode, as mentioned in the prerequisites. Follow the setup instructions diligently, and don't forget to edit the configuration settings accordingly.

In the project's file hierarchy, you'll find a shared folder within the Kotlin Multi-Platform location. This shared folder contains three pivotal files: `androidMain` for Android-specific code, `iosMain` for iOS-specific code, and `commonMain` for shared code.

Accelerating Your Cross-Platform App Development

If you're eager to expedite your cross-platform application development, consider partnering with Binmile, a premier software development company. Binmile excels in crafting innovative and user-centric mobile and web applications that propel businesses to new heights. They leverage cutting-edge technologies, including cloud computing, DevOps, blockchain services, AI and ML, AR and VR, web solutions, iOS development, and Android development.

The Bottom Line

In today's digital landscape, cross-platform application development reigns supreme. These applications seamlessly traverse various platforms, including Android and iOS, catering to a diverse user base. While alternatives like React Native and Flutter offer their own set of merits, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile emerges as a more compatible and efficient solution. This content serves as a comprehensive guide to building cross-platform apps with Kotlin Multiplatform, making it easier for businesses, SMEs, and organizations to expand their reach across multiple platforms. Dive into this content to gain profound insights into the fascinating world of cross-platform app development with Kotlin Multiplatform.

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About the author
Neeraj KumarChief Technical Manager at Binmile

Leading a wide range of technology projects across technical, financial, and business domains, Neeraj is a skilled team leader and business strategist who aligns business objectives with technology solutions to drive process enhancements and improve ...

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