Kotlin Help

Share code on platforms

With Kotlin Multiplatform, you can share the code using the mechanisms Kotlin provides:

If you need to access platform-specific APIs from the shared code, use the Kotlin mechanism of expected and actual declarations.

Share code on all platforms

If you have business logic that is common for all platforms, you don't need to write the same code for each platform – just share it in the common source set.

Code shared for all platforms

Some dependencies for source sets are set by default. You don't need to specify any dependsOn relations manually:

  • For all platform-specific source sets that depend on the common source set, such as jvmMain, macosX64Main, and others.

  • Between the main and test source sets of a particular target, such as androidMain and androidUnitTest.

If you need to access platform-specific APIs from the shared code, use the Kotlin mechanism of expected and actual declarations.

Share code on similar platforms

You often need to create several native targets that could potentially reuse a lot of the common logic and third-party APIs.

For example, in a typical multiplatform project targeting iOS, there are two iOS-related targets: one is for iOS ARM64 devices, the other is for the x64 simulator. They have separate platform-specific source sets, but in practice there is rarely a need for different code for the device and simulator, and their dependencies are much the same. So iOS-specific code could be shared between them.

Evidently, in this setup it would be desirable to have a shared source set for two iOS targets, with Kotlin/Native code that could still directly call any of the APIs that are common to both the iOS device and the simulator.

In this case, you can share code across native targets in your project using the hierarchical structure using one of the following ways:

Learn more about sharing code in libraries and connecting platform-specific libraries.

Share code in libraries

Thanks to the hierarchical project structure, libraries can also provide common APIs for a subset of targets. When a library is published, the API of its intermediate source sets is embedded into the library artifacts along with information about the project structure. When you use this library, the intermediate source sets of your project access only those APIs of the library which are available to the targets of each source set.

For example, check out the following source set hierarchy from the kotlinx.coroutines repository:

Library hierarchical structure

The concurrent source set declares the function runBlocking and is compiled for the JVM and the native targets. Once the kotlinx.coroutines library is updated and published with the hierarchical project structure, you can depend on it and call runBlocking from a source set that is shared between the JVM and native targets since it matches the "targets signature" of the library's concurrent source set.

Connect platform-specific libraries

To share more native code without being limited by platform-specific dependencies, connect platform-specific libraries. Libraries shipped with Kotlin/Native (like Foundation, UIKit, and POSIX) are available in shared source sets by default.

In addition, if you use the Kotlin CocoaPods Gradle plugin in your projects, you can work with third-party native libraries consumed with the cinterop mechanism.

What's next?

Last modified: 31 October 2023