Kotlin language inventor JetBrains is developing a plug-in for the Android Studio IDE that will support the development of Kotlin applications for Apple iOS devices. Due to preview in 2020, the Android Studio plug-in will allow developers to run, test, and debug Kotlin code on iOS devices and simulators.
Android Studio is Google’s free development tool for building Android mobile applications. The JetBrains plug-in will allow Kotlin developers to target the rival iOS platform as well. Many companies already run Kotlin on their production iOS apps as well as on Android apps. By leveraging Kotlin skills across Android and iOS, and sharing Kotlin business logic between the platforms, mobile application developers can reduce training, development, and maintenance costs.
The Android Studio plug-in will use proprietary code from JetBrains’ IntelliJ development platform, so it will be closed-source. The plug-in will not provide language support for Swift and Objective-C. Some operations such as deployment to the Apple App Store might require running Apple’s Xcode IDE.
Kotlin runs on iOS via Kotlin/Native technology, which combines an LLVM-based back-end and a native implementation of the Kotlin standard library. Kotlin/Native is designed to allow compilation where virtual machines are not desirable or possible, such as on iOS or embedded devices.