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Targeting Multiple Platforms

Last Updated 10 July 2018
Compiling with Kotlin/Native for different platforms

With Kotlin/Native, we can compile a native binary for the following platforms, including (as of Kotlin/Native v0.9.2):

  • Windows (x86_64)
  • Linux (x86_64, arm32, MIPS, MIPS little endian)
  • MacOS (x86_64)
  • iOS (arm32, arm64, x64)
  • Android (arm32, arm64)
  • STM32
  • WebAssembly (wasm32)

In this tutorial, we will see how to

We need to have a Kotlin/Native compiler on our machines. The A Basic Kotlin/Native Application tutorial covers that step in details Let's assume we have a console, where kotlinc-native command is available.

Specifying a Target Platform

The list of supported target platforms of kotlinc-native depends on the operating system where it is executed. We may list them via

kotlinc-native -list-targets

command. For example, on macOS X with Kotlin/Native v0.9.2:

> kotlinc-native -list-targets
macos_x64:                    (default) macbook, macos, imac
ios_arm32:                              iphone32
ios_arm64:                              iphone, ipad, ios
ios_x64:                                iphone_sim

For Linux and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) with Kotlin/Native v0.9.2 we have:

> kotlinc-native -list-targets
linux_x64:                    (default) linux
linux_arm32_hfp:                        raspberrypi

On Windows with Kotlin/Native v0.9.2 it shows:

> kotlinc-native -list-targets
mingw_x64:                    (default) mingw

The set of targets for the Kotlin/Native compiler depends on the host operating system. We may specify a target explicitly with a -target <name> argument. The default target is highlighted with (default) and used if no -target argument was specified.

Building for a Specific Platform

Let's create a sample Kotlin/Native program and save it as main.kt. The A Basic Kotlin/Native Application tutorial explains that at more detailed level.

fun main(args: Array<String>) {
  println("Hello Kotlin/Native!")

We use the -target argument of the kotlinc-native to specify the platform. It is also helpful to use -output to explicitly instruct the compiler on where to create the compiled binary, for example, to build for the iOS emulator on macOS we use:

    kotlinc-native -target ios_x64 -output bin/ios_x64 main.kt

Native executable bin/ios_x64.kexe will be produced. We check that with the file command

> file bin/ios_x64.kexe
bin/ios_x64.kexe: Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64

We use the command

    kotlinc-native -target ios_arm64 -output bin/ios_arm64 main.kt

to create a binary for an iPhone supporting arm64.

Building a Console Utility

We saw above that the set of supported target platforms depends on the host operating system. Running the compiler on Windows, macOS, and Linux is required to create a console application for those operating systems. On each of the operating systems we call the compiler:

kotlinc-native main.kt -output bin/theTool

The -target parameter is optional. If it is not included, the binary will be produced for the system, where the compiler is executed. It matches the behavior of other native compilers. A continuous integration may be used to automate and simplify the process.

Next Steps

Build tools help to deal with compiler arguments. Gradle build system can be a good choice for it. Gradle with the Kotlin/Native plugin simplifies the setup for every operating system, downloads and runs the Kotlin/Native compiler automatically.