Blog | 16 February 2023 | App Development | Rahul Gupta

Introduction to Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM)

Diving into the realm of software development, it is quickly apparent that efficiency and performance are often sought after, yet elusive commodities. In this respect, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM), a development toolkit conceived by JetBrains, emerges as a game changer. Indeed, it is instrumental in bridging the gap between Android and iOS application development, hence propelling the industry towards new frontiers. This comprehensive guide presents a meticulously detailed examination of KMM, highlighting its modus operandi and its transformative potential in the mobile app development space.

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile: A New Dawn in Mobile Development

The concept of Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile, often abbreviated to KMM, has steadily been gaining traction among the global developer community. Unquestionably, its unique proposition allowing developers to write, test, and debug mobile applications for both Android and iOS platforms concurrently has become its defining attribute. This paradigm-shifting approach cuts down the development cycle time considerably and augments the overall maintainability of applications.

To illustrate KMM’s operation, consider the following mermaid diagram:

Leveraging Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile: Codebase Sharing

Arguably, the most significant advantage of Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is the shared codebase. A shared codebase implies that developers write the business logic once and then deploy it across multiple platforms. Consequently, this approach reduces redundancy, thereby increasing overall efficiency.

Delving into the KMM Architecture

The KMM architecture is predominantly characterized by three layers:

  1. Shared Code: This layer constitutes the common code shared between different platforms. It includes components such as business logic, data models, and network communication modules.
  2. Platform-Specific Code: As the name suggests, this layer houses UI components and platform-specific APIs. Although the platform-specific code interacts with the shared code, it remains exclusive to its respective platform.
  3. Expected/Actual Mechanism: KMM leverages this mechanism to address platform-specific implementations. This allows the shared code to utilize platform-specific functionalities seamlessly.

To help visualize the KMM architecture, refer to the mermaid diagram below:


Unraveling the Mechanics of KMM: Code Sharing Mechanism

In the context of KMM, code sharing is achieved primarily through the Expected/Actual mechanism. In this innovative system, the ‘expected’ declarations lay out what functionalities are required in the shared code, while the ‘actual’ declarations provide platform-specific implementations for these expected functionalities.

Integrating KMM into Your Workflow

Integrating KMM into your existing development workflow is a straightforward process involving the following steps:

  1. Setting Up Your Development Environment: First and foremost, ensure Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is installed and properly configured on your machine.
  2. Creating a KMM Project: Kickstart a new project in IntelliJ IDEA and choose the ‘KMM Application’ template.
  3. Building Your Shared Codebase: Write the shared code, expected declarations, and actual implementations.
  4. Building Your Platform-Specific Code: Develop your UI and other platform-specific functionalities for Android and iOS.
  5. Testing Your KMM Application: Test your KMM application on both Android and iOS platforms.

Effective Development with KMM: A Few Helpful Tips

As with any new technology, mastery of KMM requires diligence, practice, and the right approach. Here are a few tips to enhance your KMM development process:

  1. Maximize Code Sharing: Strive to use the shared codebase to its maximum potential. This not only ensures consistency across platforms but also reduces redundancy.
  2. Equip Yourself with the Right Tools: JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA for development and Kotlin/Native for compiling are invaluable tools for every KMM developer.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep up to date with the latest releases and updates from the Kotlin team.

Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile: The Future of Mobile App Development

As we gaze into the future of mobile development, KMM stands as a beacon of promise. It heralds a future where the writing and maintenance of mobile applications are not only simplified but also more efficient. With KMM, the aspiration of “write once, run anywhere” is closer to being a reality than ever before.

In conclusion, KMM represents an exciting phase in mobile app development, transforming the way we approach cross-platform applications. Embrace this power of KMM and elevate your mobile app development skills to unprecedented heights. The future is here, and it’s undeniably written in Kotlin.