Benefits of Creating A Multiplatform App and How To Create One Using KMM
by Srilalitha Jana, on Nov 23, 2021 11:51:09 AM
Native app development has long demonstrated its potential in the industry, yet there are hybrid development frameworks that sometimes score over and above the native app development. Multi-platform app development is one such similar concept that is based on the notion that android and iOS, besides working on two strikingly different devices, have a common architecture. The business logic behind the apps is probably pretty much the same and includes downloading files, reading from and writing to a database, getting and sending data to a remote host, parsing the remote data, etc. Moreover, UI components also have similar code and can be reused on development for various platforms.
Multi Platform app development is based on this idea that involves writing the business logic once and sharing it between different platforms. In this blog, we will talk about how getting a multiplatform app developed is a breeze with “Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM)”, and what advantages do enterprises get by opting for it.
What is KMM?
Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is an SDK for cross-platform mobile development that allows us to use the same business logic code in both iOS and Android applications. It was developed by JetBrains. To make this possible, KMM uses a mobile-specific structure of Kotlin Multi Platform projects which uses various tools and features which make the building of the mobile app efficient.
Here are some important highlights of KMM:
- KMM enables developers to use a single codebase for the business logic of iOS and Android apps and write platform-specific code only where it’s necessary, such as to implement a native UI or when working with platform-specific APIs.
- KMM requires lower maintenance, as modification comes easy and fast.
- KMM uses Kotlin, which is a statically typed language and gives the benefit of native programming language.
- For Android engineers, a new KMM plugin can be used to write, test and run code in the same IDE and iOS engineers just need to import a framework just as they do with a Swift based framework.
- KMM, with appropriate planning can help reduce development time to 30–40% for iOS where they only have to write UI layer for it
How does KMM work?
An app consists of 4 main layers that includes UI logic layer, presentation logic layer, business logic layer, and data Layer. The data layer which has classes with the responsibility of making network calls and database queries can be 100% shared. The presentation and UI logic can be partially shared depending upon the device types and other platform specific peculiarities.
KMM can seamlessly be integrated with the mobile project. Shared code, written in Kotlin, is compiled to JVM bytecode with Kotlin/JVM and to native binaries with Kotlin/Native, so you can use your KMM business-logic modules just like any other regular mobile library.
Kotlin harbours multiplatform libraries that can reuse the multiplatform logic in common and platform-specific code such as HTTP, Serialization etc. To interoperate with platforms, platform-specific versions of Kotlin can be used. Platform-specific versions of Kotlin (Kotlin/JVM, Kotlin/JS, Kotlin/Native) include extensions to the Kotlin language, and platform-specific libraries and tools. Through these platforms one can access the platform native code (JVM, JS, and Native) and leverage all native capabilities.
Where does KMM fit in?
KMM comes in when benefits of both cross platform UI or native apps run out. No matter what, native app development will always lead to excessive costs linked with separate teams working on separate code bases, whereas cross platform UI will always struggle to create a reliable and best performing app. While KMM allows for a significant sharing flexibility in code, the choice of what to share rests with the team. Developers can choose to share small bytes of logic to whole layers of an app. Although, the code for UI and other device capabilities remains fully native.
Why may KMM succeed?
- KMM can be implemented with an incremental approach. As with the legacy apps, where re-writing an entire codebase can be expensive, KMM can be adopted piece by piece with small chunks of common code moved into a shared module.
- KMM is a language and compiler solution it’s much more likely to have longevity when compared to cross platform UI.
- No specialist knowledge required. If you know Kotlin and Gradle, you can make KMM apps. Making hiring far easier.
- KMM also offers a versatility of platforms to share code with, including desktop & web.
- Limited risk in adoption: In cases where device compatibility issues arise or the application isn’t performing as expected, one just needs to move the shared code to the android module, and with a parser, Kotlin files can be transformed to Swift files, having the iOS app back, up and running.
Benefits of using KMM
- Reduced development time and effort
- Improved code quality
- No Impact on performance
- Easy to use
- UI can be split for each target platform – the app will feel consistent with any given ecosystem
- Shared logic allows developers to add new features and fix bugs on both operating systems at the same time
- Easy to integrate: Whether it’s a fresh project or already existing project you can start integrating KMM anytime.
- Easy to learn: Kotlin syntax is very similar to other popular languages such as Swift and Java. So it’s pretty easy to learn and get started with KMM.
As attractive as the framework may sound, KMM needs a longer project setup, extensive iOS testing, and a cross-functional team to succeed. You need the right guidance and a development partner to make the most of the framework. A number of companies are already using it, including VMWare, Autodesk, and Yandex. Based on specific app development needs, KMM can help enterprises channel the best features of native and cross platform development without compromising on costs or quality. To get the best outcomes, get in touch with a KMM development company.
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DX solutions consultant