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12 May 2022

Airbnb uses Jetpack Compose to empower devs to do their best work

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How Compose enables Airbnb to create better host and guest experiences

Airbnb uses Jetpack Compose to empower devs to do their best work

Since 2007, Airbnb has grown to connect more than 4 million hosts with more than 1 billion guests across the globe. One of the reasons behind the app’s success is that its developers aim to achieve engineering excellence by focusing on two main principles: using technology that sparks innovative development and empowering the engineers behind the work.

Jetpack Compose, Android’s modern UI-building toolkit, directly supports both of Airbnb’s development principles. Compose provided a solid foundation for adaptable, quality engineering and reduced boilerplate code, so developers could focus on delivering a great user experience — and advance their two-fold pursuit of engineering excellence.

Image with Airbnb tech lead

Airbnb started testing Compose in 2020 when it was in developer preview. As an early adopter, the Airbnb team was eager use the various new features and simplify their workflow. Now, having gained confidence using Compose in production, Airbnb engineers continue to be satisfied with how it improved their development process.

Equipping engineers for success

Compose’s deterministic testing helped ensure Airbnb’s engineers had tight control over the UI tests they ran and eliminated common flakiness, thereby strengthening their confidence in the quality of every part of their app and the user experiences they were creating. Engineers can now also use Compose to test animations they previously couldn't.

Similarly, Airbnb developers used Compose to add automated screenshot tests to their codebase. Because they didn’t need to write the code for screenshot testing, engineers could go straight into using it to catch bugs and regressions. This gave them more time to review and guarantee feature functionality and UI appearance across a variety of devices.

Compose is great to use alongside Views. This interoperability made it easy for Airbnb engineers to onboard and test the new UI toolkit at their own pace, so they were able to experience the benefits of Compose without having to migrate entire features.

These engineering improvements gave them the solid technical foundations they needed to serve users in fresh and improved ways.

Engineering efficiencies improve user experiences

Airbnb keeps hosts and guests at the heart of their decisions. The engineering team was excited to adopt Compose when they learned about how it would enable them to more easily and efficiently produce UI, resulting in better experiences for their end users.

Because Compose made Airbnb’s features require significantly less code to write and manage, the Airbnb team boosted their efficiency. All of this meant the team could focus its energy on executing the complex tasks involved in developing the innovative features that could best serve users.

Because their features now require less code, the Airbnb team will be able to slow the growth of their app size in the long run. Providing a smaller app is important to Airbnb as an organization with users across the globe that looks to ensure all hosts and guests can easily download and access their app — especially those with older devices or logging on from countries with high data costs.

Using Compose’s engineering enhancements, the Airbnb team was able to put user needs first.

Improve developer productivity with Compose

Compose simplified UI development to allow Airbnb engineers the freedom to focus on more dynamic and innovative features that benefit the app’s hosts and guests.

Learn how you can improve your team’s productivity with Jetpack Compose.