Kotlin Multiplatform Development Help

Explore composable code

Let's examine closely the sample composable created by the Kotlin Multiplatform wizard. First, there is the composable App() function that implements the common UI and can be used on all platforms. Second, there is the platform-specific code that launches this UI on each platform.

Implementing composable functions

Take a look at the App() function in composeApp/src/commonMain/kotlin:

@OptIn(ExperimentalResourceApi::class) @Composable fun App() { MaterialTheme { // [1] var greetingText by remember { mutableStateOf(GREETING) } var showImage by remember { mutableStateOf(false) } Column( Modifier.fillMaxWidth(), // [2] horizontalAlignment = Alignment.CenterHorizontally ) { Button(onClick = { // [3] greetingText = "${getPlatformName()}: $GREETING" showImage = !showImage }) { Text(greetingText) } AnimatedVisibility(showImage) { // [4] Image( painterResource("compose-multiplatform.xml"), // [5] null ) } } } }

The App() function is a regular Kotlin function annotated with @Composable. These kinds of functions are referred to as composable functions or just composables. They are the building blocks of a UI based on Compose Multiplatform.

A composable function has the following general structure:

  • The MaterialTheme sets the look of the application. The default settings can be customized. For example, you can choose colors, shapes, and typography.

  • The Column composable controls the layout of the application. Here, it displays a Button above the AnimatedVisibility composable.

  • The Button contains the Text composable, which renders some text.

  • The AnimatedVisibility shows and hides the Image using an animation.

  • The painterResource loads a vector icon stored in an XML resource.

The horizontalAlignment parameter of the Column centers its content. But for this to have any effect, the column should take up the full width of its container. This is achieved using the modifier parameter.

Modifiers are a key component of Compose Multiplatform. This is a primary mechanism you use to adjust the appearance or behavior of composables in the UI. Modifiers are created using methods of the Modifier type. When you chain these methods, each call can change the Modifier returned from the previous call, making the order significant. See JetPack Compose documention for more details.

Managing the state

The final aspect of the sample composable is how the state is managed. There are two properties in the App composable, greetingText and showImage. They are built using the mutableStateOf() function, which means they are state objects that can be observed.

These state objects are wrapped in a call to the remember() function, meaning that they are built once and then retained by the framework. For example, when you perform the declaration:

var showImage by remember { mutableStateOf(false) }

You're creating a property whose value is a state object containing a boolean. The framework caches this state object so composables can observe it.

When the value of the state changes, any composables that observe it are re-invoked. This allows any of the widgets they produce to be redrawn. This is called a recomposition.

In your application, the only place where the state is changed is in the click event of the button. This event changes the value of both properties. The onClick event handler flips the value of the showImage property and adds the name of the platform to the greetingText property.

The changes occur when:

  • The button is redrawn because the nested Text composable observes greetingText.

  • The image is shown or hidden because the parent AnimatedVisibility composable observes showImage.

Launching UI on different platforms

The App() function execution is different for each platform. On Android, it's managed by an activity, on iOS by a view controller, and on desktop by a window. Let's examine each of them.

On Android

For Android, open the MainActivity.kt file in composeApp/src/androidMain/kotlin:

class MainActivity : ComponentActivity() { override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState) setContent { App() } } }

This is an Android activity called MainActivity that invokes the App composable.

On iOS

For iOS, open the MainViewController.kt file in composeApp/src/iosMain/kotlin:

fun MainViewController() = ComposeUIViewController { App() }

This is a view controller that performs the same role as an activity on Android. Notice that both iOS and Android types simply invoke the App composable.

On desktop

For desktop, look again at the main() function in composeApp/src/desktopMain/kotlin:

fun main() = application { Window(onCloseRequest = ::exitApplication) { App() } }
  • Here, the application() function launches a new desktop application.

  • This function takes a lambda, where you initialize the UI. Typically, you create a Window with properties and instructions on how to react when the window is closing. In this case, the whole application shuts down.

  • Inside this window, you can place your content. As with Android and iOS, the only content is the App() function.

Currently, the App function doesn't declare any parameters. In a larger application, you typically use parameters to pass to platform-specific dependencies. These dependencies could be created by hand or using a dependency injection library.

Next step

In the next part of the tutorial, you'll add a dependency to the project and modify the user interface.

Proceed to the next part

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Last modified: 28 November 2023