Android released new native dependencies for its Studio 4.0 integrated development environment (IDE). The new capabilities are supposed to help the users of the Android native development kit (NDK) smoothly manage native dependencies. If you are an Android app developer, these features will significantly change the way you deal with a wide range of dependencies.
Challenges Developers Face in Managing Native Dependencies
The roadblocks to managing native dependencies in NDK were divers, until now. With the release of these native dependency management capabilities, Android app development is likely to become faster and more efficient. Here’s a list of major dependencies-related challenges that most developers face.
• Library authors need to maintain support for both NDK-build and CMake.
• Libraries don’t always distribute prebuilt binaries for Android. So, developers must either build the library themselves or rely on prebuilt binaries from other sources.
• Libraries are sometimes developed by a build system that the Android NDK doesn’t support.
• Libraries often depend on other libraries. It forces developers to find those libraries and start the process all over again.
• The developer may not be able to use the libraries on their system. Unix shell, for instance, doesn’t work on a Windows-based computer.
A couple of months back, Google launched Android Studio 4.0. Now with the release of version 4.0 of the Android Gradle Plugin, developers have support for distributing and accessing native libraries. You can get support through the same mechanism that you use for Java libraries, which is using Android Archives(AARs). Android has also offered detailed coding guidelines for using curl and jsoncoo. Here’s the code.
Android Gradle Plugin 4.0 is still in the experimental phase. For enabling this functionality, you need to set the below-mentioned properties in the gradle.properties file.
# Enables Prefab
# Work around https://issuetracker.google.com/149575364
# 4.0.0 canary 9 defaults to Prefab 1.0.0-alpha3, which is not the latest.
How to import packages into your build
When you declare dependencies in your build.gradle, it will prompt download of those dependencies on Gradle from Maven. You must then instruct CMake or NDK-build to use the dependencies. The required CMake and package will be automatically generated. You just need to import and use them in your project. Developers face problems in building OpenSSL to use the curl. The cur package depends on OpenSSL. That means the support for OpenSSL is automatically available.
Prefab – the tool that enables native dependencies
Every Android Archive (AAR) that exposes C++ libraries to its consumer packages and their corresponding libraries. They also expose headers and small amounts of metadata into the prefab directory in the AAR. If you find the prefab directory in an AAR dependency the AGR plugin will automatically run Prefab to create build system scripts.
Libraries available for managing native dependencies
Android has published several libraries to help developers manage native dependencies. These include:
(The complete list is available on https://maven.google.com/web/index.html.)
Tips for Distributing Your Libraries
Android has provided ndkports for distributing the current libraries. This us a useful resource if you are working on a Linux or cross-platform Android app development project that naturally doesn’t fit into the Android build. You can use ndkports for a suitable project and send the patch to Google. Developers can also use the “package request” bug template if they want to request Google to maintain and publish an open-source library in Prefab.
These native dependencies and guidelines will help developers speed up their projects. Native dependencies management in NDK has long been a struggle for Android developers. Now that developers have resources and guidelines for managing native dependencies, using Android Studio 4.0. At Android Developer, a leading mobile app development company in India, we always stay at the frontier when it comes to using later tools and resources. Businesses of all kinds prefer to hire Android app developers from us. With a diverse clientele spread across Industries and countries, we are committed to delivering the best Android apps.
Q. What is Android Studio used for?
Android Studio provides a unified Android app development environment. You can use Android Studio to build apps for Android phones, tablets, Android Wear, Android TV, etc. Structured code modules allow you to divide your project into units of functionality.
Q. What is Android NDK used for?
The Android Native Development Kit (NDK) is a set of tools that allows you to use C and C++ code with Android, and provides platform libraries you can use to manage native activities and access physical device components, such as sensors and touch input. It helps developers to enhance their app development speed and quality.
Q. What are dependencies in android?
In Android Studio, dependencies allow developers to include an external library or local jar files or other library modules to an Android app development project.
Q. How much does it cost to build an Android app?
The development cost for an Android mobile app depends on what kind of app you need. Costs are lower for an app with a basic design and simpler features. If you need a high-performance app with more advanced features, the cost will be comparatively higher. Android Developer India offers competitive pricing for every kind of app.