Kotlin Help


In order to build a Kotlin project with Gradle, you should apply the Kotlin Gradle plugin to your project and configure the dependencies.

Plugin and versions

Apply the Kotlin Gradle plugin by using the Gradle plugins DSL.

The Kotlin Gradle plugin and the kotlin-multiplatform plugin 1.5.31 require Gradle 6.1 or later.

plugins { kotlin("<...>") version "1.5.31" }
plugins { id 'org.jetbrains.kotlin.<...>' version '1.5.31' }

The placeholder <...> should be replaced with the name of one of the plugins that will be discussed in subsequent sections.

Targeting multiple platforms

Projects targeting multiple platforms, called multiplatform projects, require the kotlin-multiplatform plugin. Learn more about the plugin.

plugins { kotlin("multiplatform") version "1.5.31" }
plugins { id 'org.jetbrains.kotlin.multiplatform' version '1.5.31' }

Targeting the JVM

To target the JVM, apply the Kotlin JVM plugin.

plugins { kotlin("jvm") version "1.5.31" }
plugins { id "org.jetbrains.kotlin.jvm" version "1.5.31" }

The version should be literal in this block, and it cannot be applied from another build script.

Alternatively, you can use the older apply plugin approach:

apply plugin: 'kotlin'

Applying Kotlin plugins with apply in the Kotlin Gradle DSL is not recommended – see why.

Kotlin and Java sources

Kotlin sources and Java sources can be stored in the same folder, or they can be placed in different folders. The default convention is to use different folders:

project - src - main (root) - kotlin - java

The corresponding sourceSets property should be updated if you are not using the default convention:

sourceSets.main { java.srcDirs("src/main/myJava", "src/main/myKotlin") }
sourceSets { main.kotlin.srcDirs += 'src/main/myKotlin' main.java.srcDirs += 'src/main/myJava' }

Targeting JavaScript

When targeting only JavaScript, use the kotlin-js plugin. Learn more

plugins { kotlin("js") version "1.5.31" }
plugins { id 'org.jetbrains.kotlin.js' version '1.5.31' }

Kotlin and Java sources for JavaScript

This plugin only works for Kotlin files, so it is recommended that you keep Kotlin and Java files separate (if the project contains Java files). If you don't store them separately, specify the source folder in the sourceSets block:

kotlin { sourceSets["main"].apply { kotlin.srcDir("src/main/myKotlin") } }
kotlin { sourceSets { main.kotlin.srcDirs += 'src/main/myKotlin' } }

Targeting Android

It's recommended to use Android Studio for creating Android applications. Learn how to use Android Gradle plugin.

Configuring dependencies

To add a dependency on a library, set the dependency of the required type (for example, implementation) in the dependencies block of the source sets DSL.

kotlin { sourceSets { val commonMain by getting { dependencies { implementation("com.example:my-library:1.0") } } } }
kotlin { sourceSets { commonMain { dependencies { implementation 'com.example:my-library:1.0' } } } }

Alternatively, you can set dependencies at the top level.

Dependency types

Choose the dependency type based on your requirements.

TypeDescriptionWhen to use
apiUsed both during compilation and at runtime and is exported to library consumers.If any type from a dependency is used in the public API of the current module, use an api dependency.
implementationUsed during compilation and at runtime for the current module, but is not exposed for compilation of other modules depending on the one with the `implementation` dependency.

Use for dependencies needed for the internal logic of a module.

If a module is an endpoint application which is not published, use implementation dependencies instead of api dependencies.

compileOnlyUsed for compilation of the current module and is not available at runtime nor during compilation of other modules.Use for APIs which have a third-party implementation available at runtime.
runtimeOnlyAvailable at runtime but is not visible during compilation of any module.

Dependency on the standard library

A dependency on the standard library (stdlib) is added automatically to each source set. The version of the standard library used is the same as the version of the Kotlin Gradle plugin.

For platform-specific source sets, the corresponding platform-specific variant of the library is used, while a common standard library is added to the rest. The Kotlin Gradle plugin will select the appropriate JVM standard library depending on the kotlinOptions.jvmTarget compiler option of your Gradle build script.

If you declare a standard library dependency explicitly (for example, if you need a different version), the Kotlin Gradle plugin won't override it or add a second standard library.

If you do not need a standard library at all, you can add the opt-out option to the gradle.properties:


Set dependencies on test libraries

The kotlin.test API is available for testing Kotlin projects on all supported platforms. Add the dependency kotlin-test to the commonTest source set, and the Gradle plugin will infer the corresponding test dependencies for each test source set:

  • kotlin-test-common and kotlin-test-annotations-common for common source sets

  • kotlin-test-junit for JVM source sets

  • kotlin-test-js for Kotlin/JS source sets

Kotlin/Native targets do not require additional test dependencies, and the kotlin.test API implementations are built-in.

kotlin { sourceSets { val commonTest by getting { dependencies { implementation(kotlin("test")) // This brings all the platform dependencies automatically } } } }
kotlin { sourceSets { commonTest { dependencies { implementation kotlin("test") // This brings all the platform dependencies automatically } } } }

You can use the kotlin-test dependency in any shared or platform-specific source set as well.

For Kotlin/JVM, Gradle uses JUnit 4 by default. Therefore, the kotlin("test") dependency resolves to the variant for JUnit 4, namely kotlin-test-junit.

You can choose JUnit 5 or TestNG by calling useJUnitPlatform() or useTestNG() in the test task of your build script. The following example is for an MPP project:

kotlin { jvm { testRuns["test"].executionTask.configure { useJUnitPlatform() } } sourceSets { val commonTest by getting { dependencies { implementation(kotlin("test")) } } } }
kotlin { jvm { testRuns["test"].executionTask.configure { useJUnitPlatform() } } sourceSets { commonTest { dependencies { implementation kotlin("test") } } } }

The following example is for a JVM project:

dependencies { testImplementation(kotlin("test")) } tasks { test { useTestNG() } }
dependencies { testImplementation 'org.jetbrains.kotlin:kotlin-test' } test { useTestNG() }

Learn how to test code using JUnit on the JVM.

If you need to use a different JVM test framework, disable automatic testing framework selection by adding the line kotlin.test.infer.jvm.variant=false to the project's gradle.properties file. After doing this, add the framework as a Gradle dependency.

If you had used a variant of kotlin("test") in your build script explicitly and project build stopped working with a compatibility conflict, see this issue in the Compatibility Guide.

Set a dependency on a kotlinx library

If you use a kotlinx library and need a platform-specific dependency, you can use platform-specific variants of libraries with suffixes such as -jvm or -js, for example, kotlinx-coroutines-core-jvm. You can also use the library's base artifact name instead – kotlinx-coroutines-core.

kotlin { sourceSets { val jvmMain by getting { dependencies { implementation("org.jetbrains.kotlinx:kotlinx-coroutines-core-jvm:1.5.2") } } } }
kotlin { sourceSets { jvmMain { dependencies { implementation 'org.jetbrains.kotlinx:kotlinx-coroutines-core-jvm:1.5.2' } } } }

If you use a multiplatform library and need to depend on the shared code, set the dependency only once, in the shared source set. Use the library's base artifact name, such as kotlinx-coroutines-core or ktor-client-core.

kotlin { sourceSets { val commonMain by getting { dependencies { implementation("org.jetbrains.kotlinx:kotlinx-coroutines-core:1.5.2") } } } }
kotlin { sourceSets { commonMain { dependencies { implementation 'org.jetbrains.kotlinx:kotlinx-coroutines-core:1.5.2' } } } }

Set dependencies at the top level

Alternatively, you can specify the dependencies at the top level, using the following pattern for the configuration names: <sourceSetName><DependencyType>. This can be helpful for some Gradle built-in dependencies, like gradleApi(), localGroovy(), or gradleTestKit(), which are not available in the source sets' dependency DSL.

dependencies { "commonMainImplementation"("com.example:my-library:1.0") }
dependencies { commonMainImplementation 'com.example:my-library:1.0' }

Annotation processing

Kotlin supports annotation processing via the Kotlin annotation processing tool kapt.

Incremental compilation

The Kotlin Gradle plugin supports incremental compilation. Incremental compilation tracks changes to source files between builds so only files affected by these changes are compiled.

Incremental compilation is supported for Kotlin/JVM and Kotlin/JS projects and is enabled by default.

There are several ways to switch off incremental compilation:

  • kotlin.incremental=false for Kotlin/JVM.

  • kotlin.incremental.js=false for Kotlin/JS projects.

  • Use -Pkotlin.incremental=false or -Pkotlin.incremental.js=false as a command line parameter.

    The parameter should be added to each subsequent build, and any build with incremental compilation disabled invalidates incremental caches.

The first build is never incremental.

Gradle build cache support

The Kotlin plugin uses the Gradle build cache, which stores the build outputs for reuse in future builds.

To disable caching for all Kotlin tasks, set the system property flag kotlin.caching.enabled to false (run the build with the argument -Dkotlin.caching.enabled=false).

If you use kapt, note that kapt annotation processing tasks are not cached by default. However, you can enable caching for them manually.

Gradle configuration cache support

The Kotlin plugin uses the Gradle configuration cache, which speeds up the build process by reusing the results of the configuration phase.

See the Gradle documentation to learn how to enable the configuration cache. After you enable this feature, the Kotlin Gradle plugin will automatically start using it.

Compiler options

Use the kotlinOptions property of a Kotlin compilation task to specify additional compilation options.

When targeting the JVM, the tasks are called compileKotlin for production code and compileTestKotlin for test code. The tasks for custom source sets are named according to their compile<Name>Kotlin patterns.

The names of the tasks in Android Projects contain build variant names and follow the compile<BuildVariant>Kotlin pattern, for example, compileDebugKotlin or compileReleaseUnitTestKotlin.

When targeting JavaScript, the tasks are called compileKotlinJs for production code and compileTestKotlinJs for test code, and compile<Name>KotlinJs for custom source sets.

To configure a single task, use its name. Examples:

import org.jetbrains.kotlin.gradle.tasks.KotlinCompile // ... val compileKotlin: KotlinCompile by tasks compileKotlin.kotlinOptions.suppressWarnings = true
compileKotlin { kotlinOptions.suppressWarnings = true } //or compileKotlin { kotlinOptions { suppressWarnings = true } }

Note that with the Gradle Kotlin DSL, you should get the task from the project's tasks first.

Use the Kotlin2JsCompile and KotlinCompileCommon types for JS and common targets, respectively.

It is also possible to configure all of the Kotlin compilation tasks in the project:

tasks.withType<org.jetbrains.kotlin.gradle.tasks.KotlinCompile>().configureEach { kotlinOptions { /*...*/ } }
tasks.withType(org.jetbrains.kotlin.gradle.tasks.KotlinCompile).configureEach { kotlinOptions { /*...*/ } }

Here is a complete list of options for Gradle tasks:

Attributes common to JVM, JS, and JS DCE

NameDescriptionPossible valuesDefault value
allWarningsAsErrorsReport an error if there are any warningsfalse
suppressWarningsDon't generate warningsfalse
verboseEnable verbose logging outputfalse
freeCompilerArgsA list of additional compiler arguments[]

Attributes common to JVM and JS

NameDescriptionPossible valuesDefault value
apiVersionRestrict the use of declarations to those from the specified version of bundled libraries"1.3" (DEPRECATED), "1.4", "1.5", "1.6" (EXPERIMENTAL)
languageVersionProvide source compatibility with the specified version of Kotlin"1.3" (DEPRECATED), "1.4", "1.5", "1.6" (EXPERIMENTAL)

Attributes specific to JS

NameDescriptionPossible valuesDefault value
friendModulesDisabledDisable internal declaration exportfalse
mainDefine whether the main function should be called upon execution"call", "noCall""call"
metaInfoGenerate .meta.js and .kjsm files with metadata. Use to create a librarytrue
moduleKindThe kind of JS module generated by the compiler"umd", "commonjs", "amd", "plain""umd"
noStdlibDon't automatically include the default Kotlin/JS stdlib in compilation dependenciestrue
outputFileDestination *.js file for the compilation result"<buildDir>/js/packages/<project.name>/kotlin/<project.name>.js"
sourceMapGenerate source maptrue
sourceMapEmbedSourcesEmbed source files into the source map"never", "always", "inlining"
sourceMapPrefixAdd the specified prefix to paths in the source map
targetGenerate JS files for specific ECMA version"v5""v5"
typedArraysTranslate primitive arrays to JS typed arraystrue

Attributes specific to JVM

NameDescriptionPossible valuesDefault value
javaParametersGenerate metadata for Java 1.8 reflection on method parametersfalse
jdkHomeInclude a custom JDK from the specified location into the classpath instead of the default JAVA_HOME. Direct setting is deprecated sinсe 1.5.30, use other ways to set this option.
jvmTargetTarget version of the generated JVM bytecode"1.6" (DEPRECATED), "1.8", "9", "10", "11", "12", "13", "14", "15", "16""1.8"
noJdkDon't automatically include the Java runtime into the classpathfalse
useOldBackendUse the old JVM backendfalse

Check for JVM target compatibility

In the build module, you may have related compile tasks, for example:

  • compileKotlin and compileJava

  • compileTestKotlin and compileTestJava

For such related tasks, the Kotlin Gradle plugin checks for JVM target compatibility. Different values of jvmTarget in the kotlin extension and targetCompatibility in the java extension cause incompatibility. For example: the compileKotlin task has jvmTarget=1.8, and the compileJava task has (or inherits) targetCompatibility=15.

Control the behavior of this check by setting the kotlin.jvm.target.validation.mode property in the build.gradle file equal to:

  • warning – the default value; the Kotlin Gradle plugin will print a warning message.

  • error – the plugin will fail the build.

  • ignore – the plugin will skip the check and won't produce any messages.

Set custom JDK home

You can set the JDK home in the following ways:

When you use a custom JDK, note that kapt task workers use process isolation mode only, and ignore the kapt.workers.isolation property.

As before, if you don't set the toolchain or the jdkHome option, the Kotlin/JVM compilation uses the current user's JDK.

Gradle Java toolchains support

Gradle 6.7 introduced "Java toolchains support". Using this feature, you can:

  • Use a JDK and a JRE that are different from the Gradle ones to run compilations, tests, and executables.

  • Compile and test code with a not-yet-released language version.

With toolchains support, Gradle can autodetect local JDKs and install missing JDKs that Gradle requires for the build. Now Gradle itself can run on any JDK and still reuse the remote build cache feature for tasks that depend on a major JDK version.

The Kotlin Gradle plugin supports Java toolchains for Kotlin/JVM compilation tasks. JS and Native tasks don't use toolchains. The Kotlin compiler always uses the JDK the Gradle daemon is running on. A Java toolchain:

Use the following code to set a toolchain. Replace the placeholder <MAJOR_JDK_VERSION> with the JDK version you would like to use:

kotlin { jvmToolchain { (this as JavaToolchainSpec).languageVersion.set(JavaLanguageVersion.of(<MAJOR_JDK_VERSION>)) // "8" } }
kotlin { jvmToolchain { languageVersion.set(JavaLanguageVersion.of(<MAJOR_JDK_VERSION>)) // "8" } }

Note that setting a toolchain via the kotlin extension will update the toolchain for Java compile tasks as well.

You can set a toolchain via the java extension, and Kotlin compilation tasks will use it:

java { toolchain { languageVersion.set(JavaLanguageVersion.of(<MAJOR_JDK_VERSION>)) // "8" } }

To set any JDK (even local) for the specific task, use the Task DSL.

Setting JDK version with the Task DSL

The Task DSL allows setting any JDK version for any task implementing the UsesKotlinJavaToolchain interface. At the moment, these tasks are KotlinCompile and KaptTask. If you want Gradle to search for the major JDK version, replace the <MAJOR_JDK_VERSION> placeholder in your build script:

val service = project.extensions.getByType<JavaToolchainService>() val customLauncher = service.launcherFor { it.languageVersion.set(JavaLanguageVersion.of(<MAJOR_JDK_VERSION>)) // "8" } project.tasks .matching { it is UsesKotlinJavaToolchain && it.name == "compileKotlin" } .configureEach { it.kotlinJavaToolchain.toolchain.use(customLauncher) }
JavaToolchainService service = project.getExtensions().getByType(JavaToolchainService.class) Provider<JavaLauncher> customLauncher = service.launcherFor { it.languageVersion.set(JavaLanguageVersion.of(<MAJOR_JDK_VERSION>)) // "8" } project.tasks .matching { it instanceof UsesKotlinJavaToolchain && it.name == 'compileKotlin' } .configureEach { it.kotlinJavaToolchain.toolchain.use(customLauncher) }

Or you can specify the path to your local JDK and replace the placeholder <LOCAL_JDK_VERSION> with this JDK version:

project.tasks .matching { it is UsesKotlinJavaToolchain && it.name == "compileKotlin" } .configureEach { it.kotlinJavaToolchain.jdk.use( "/path/to/local/jdk", // Put a path to your JDK JavaVersion.<LOCAL_JDK_VERSION> // For example, JavaVersion.17 ) }

Generating documentation

To generate documentation for Kotlin projects, use Dokka; please refer to the Dokka README for configuration instructions. Dokka supports mixed-language projects and can generate output in multiple formats, including standard JavaDoc.


For OSGi support see the Kotlin OSGi page.

Using the Gradle Kotlin DSL

When using Gradle Kotlin DSL, apply Kotlin plugins using the plugins { ... } block. If you apply them with apply { plugin(...) } instead, you may encounter unresolved references to the extensions generated by Gradle Kotlin DSL. To resolve that, you can comment out the erroneous usages, run the Gradle task kotlinDslAccessorsSnapshot, then uncomment the usages back and rerun the build or reimport the project into the IDE.

Kotlin daemon and using it with Gradle

The Kotlin daemon:

  • Runs along with the Gradle daemon to compile the project.

  • Runs separately when you compile the project with an IntelliJ IDEA built-in build system.

The Kotlin daemon starts at the Gradle execution stage when one of Kotlin compile tasks starts compiling the sources. The Kotlin daemon stops along with the Gradle daemon or after two idle hours with no Kotlin compilation.

The Kotlin daemon uses the same JDK that the Gradle daemon does.

Setting Kotlin daemon's JVM arguments

Each of the options in the following list overrides the ones that came before it:

  • If nothing is specified, the Kotlin daemon inherits arguments from the Gradle daemon. For example, in the gradle.properties file:

org.gradle.jvmargs=-Xmx1500m -Xms=500m
  • If the Gradle daemon's JVM arguments have the kotlin.daemon.jvm.options system property – use it in the gradle.properties file:

org.gradle.jvmargs=-Dkotlin.daemon.jvm.options=-Xmx1500m -Xms=500m
  • You can add the kotlin.daemon.jvmargs property in the gradle.properties file:

kotlin.daemon.jvmargs=-Xmx1500m -Xms=500m
  • You can specify arguments in the kotlin extension:

    kotlin { kotlinDaemonJvmArgs = listOf("-Xmx486m", "-Xms256m", "-XX:+UseParallelGC") }
    kotlin { kotlinDaemonJvmArgs = ["-Xmx486m", "-Xms256m", "-XX:+UseParallelGC"] }
  • You can specify arguments for a specific task:

    tasks .matching { it.name == "compileKotlin" && it is CompileUsingKotlinDaemon } .configureEach { (this as CompileUsingKotlinDaemon).kotlinDaemonJvmArguments.set(listOf("-Xmx486m", "-Xms256m", "-XX:+UseParallelGC")) }
    tasks .matching { it.name == "compileKotlin" && it instanceof CompileUsingKotlinDaemon } .configureEach { kotlinDaemonJvmArguments.set(["-Xmx1g", "-Xms512m"]) }

Kotlin daemon's behavior with JVM arguments

When configuring the Kotlin daemon's JVM arguments, note that:

  • It is expected to have multiple instances of the Kotlin daemon running at the same time when different subprojects or tasks have different sets of JVM arguments.

  • A new Kotlin daemon instance starts only when Gradle runs a related compilation task and existing Kotlin daemons do not have the same set of JVM arguments. Imagine that your project has a lot of subprojects. Most of them require some heap memory for a Kotlin daemon, but one module requires a lot (though it is rarely compiled). In this case, you should provide a different set of JVM arguments for such a module, so a Kotlin daemon with a larger heap size would start only for developers who touch this specific module.

  • If the Xmx is not specified, the Kotlin daemon will inherit it from the Gradle daemon.

Last modified: 16 September 2021