Android Jetpack and Kotlin: the benefits to developers

Jetpack is a collection of Android software components that make it easier for developers to create Android apps. Used alongside Kotlin, GitHub’s fastest growing language, Jetpack has some excellent benefits for developers, including:

  • Backward compatibility
    Jetpack comprises the androidx.* package libraries, unbundled from the platform APIs for backward compatibility, so you can use the new features on older Android versions.
  • More frequent updates
    Jetpack is updated more often than the Android platform. You always have access to the latest versions of the Jetpack components with new features and more frequent bug fixes.
  • Less time writing code
    Android Jetpack is built around modern design practices like separation of concerns and testability, so it’s far easier for developers to build robust, high-quality apps with less code. It also makes complex tasks far easier, reducing boilerplate code!

Case study: Using Android Jetpack and Kotlin to update Plaid
What would you do if the API your app was receiving data from was changing and it needed to support new features? This is what happened to Plaid, an Android app that showcases material design and a rich, interactive UI.

As a result, we’re currently helping to convert the Plaid application to Jetpack and Kotlin with a new architecture, updating it to modern app standards. We wanted to implement the different programming models Kotlin offers to push ahead with Plaid rather than just leaving it with basic features. 

The new features we have implemented have data sources and repositories. All of these have been tested and written in Kotlin. We are refactoring the app while keeping the existing functionality in place, fixing broken API integrations and adding new ones along the way.

The app is now more than 60% smaller thanks to moving from an APK to an Android app bundle as the distribution format. It has improved code structure, and through a modularisation process we’ve made it possible to deliver dynamic feature modules with on-demand delivery. Modularisation can take time but it is worthwhile, especially if you’re looking for dynamic delivery.

As well as updating existing apps, you can of course create new apps using Jetpack and Kotlin, using all the new features included in the latest Android Studio versions. Reach out to me on Twitter to find out more about how to create or update apps in this way.

Join me at APPFORUM
Hear more about Android Jetpack and Kotlin by joining me during my presentation at APPFORUM in Warsaw from 4 to 6 June 2019. Register to get your tickets before 21 May.