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Version: 1.4

Android Development

Android development requires a more specific environment setup. In this tutorial we will guide you through the various ways to build an APK with capabilities.

The first part of this tutorial shows you how to install the required tools for building an apk. Scroll down for a guide using the precompiled binaries found on our release page here. The Java releases are tagged with android-binding-vX.Y.Z.


Since Android development mainly uses Gradle, this tutorial will use that.

Setup by compiling

Compiling an Android app comes with the added task of building for multiple different device architectures. In this tutorial we mention the followint 2 variables: $ARCH and $TARGET.

These variables are used to generate correct binaries during cross compilation and linking.

List of target Devices

$ARCH and -> $TARGET related to each other in the following manner:

  • armeabi-v7a -> armv7-linux-androideabi
  • arm64-v8a -> aarch64-linux-android
  • x86 -> i686-linux-android
  • x86_64 -> x86_64-linux-android

When building an app, you as a developer must decide for how many architectures you make an APK for. Binaries need to be generated for each architecture.

The android-app example has a build.gradle file that shows the enabled list in a variable called archTriplets. You can disable and enable them, as long as you have at least one. (This file will also automatically compile our binaries when we run gradle. Feel free to use it in your project!)

We will use archTriplets for the enabled list of device targets during this tutorial.


  • Dependencies indicated in the Getting started Prerequisite section
  • Android NDK or Android Studio with NDK installed (If you extract make sure to make it executable chmod -R +x android-ndk-VERSION )

To cross compile the binaries for Android, we need the following target toolchains: (All of the enabled archTriplets)

rustup target add \
armv7-linux-androideabi \
aarch64-linux-android \
i686-linux-android \

For this setup we use $ANDROID_NDK_HOME for the location of your NDK, wether you use Android studio or manual compilation.

  1. Set ANDROID_NDK_HOME environment variable


If you dont have ANDROID_HOME; Usually found at /home/user/Android. Make sure you have installed Android correctly. Attempt to run android on your terminal. If this command does not open the Android SDK Manager, then your path is not configured correctly.

1. Generating the Java Files

1.1 Compiling a Binary

To generate the Java source files; we need to run cargo manually once.

This step will require you to run cargo build --release in

Unnecessary build

This step is simplifying the process by running an Unnecessary build (We compile here for our current system). If you have a working environment already, you can run cargo with a --target=$TARGET to save time later on.

1.2 Creating the Jar

Afterwards, you need to run ./gradlew jar in in order to generate the jar file.

The jar will be found at

2. Build the App

Building the actual app can be done through two different ways. Using Android Studio and by manual linking.

The following 2 Sections describe both methods.

Cross compile

To build on Windows, we need to add android triplets to our VCPKG and use that during compilation.

Currently, cross compiling has only worked on WSL/Linux.

If you wish to use Android Studio in Windows, first make the android target binaries in WSL/Linux, then copy them over to src/main/jniLibs/$TARGET/. (See step Compiling a binary, but do that for each enabled target in WSL/Linux)

Afterwards, you need to comment out all archTriplets in build.gradle for you not to regenerate them (and fail on Windows).

2.1 Android studio

Load the project under the folder in Android studio.

Make sure you have an NDK and SDK: file->Project Structure->SDK Location. If the NDK location is marked grey, edit the like so: (This must be the location of $ANDROID_NDK_HOME, which still needs to be on your path)


If youre on linux/wsl, just run the app. On other platforms see the Setup/Cross compile note before running.

2.2 Manual linking

Preparing your terminal/environment

Add the standalone toolchain to the search path.

Example: export PATH=$PATH:$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/{OS}/bin

Replace {OS} with your OS name; on Linux this would be called linux-x86_64, windows windows-x86_64 (x86_64depening on architecture type)

These toolchains can alternatively be prepended to the cargo command as well, but we wont discuss that in this tutorial.

Setting Cargo config

To compile the binaries for the various Android targets, we need to specify the targets to rust.

Create or update the following file: ~/.cargo/config. Replace each instance of $ANDROID_NDK_HOME with the actual location (variables do not work) and add the text below to the config file.

linker = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/armv7a-linux-androideabi21-clang"
ar = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-ar"

linker = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/aarch64-linux-android21-clang"
ar = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/aarch64-linux-android-ar"

linker = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/i686-linux-android21-clang"
ar = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/i686-linux-android-ar"

linker = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/x86_64-linux-android21-clang"
ar = "$ANDROID_NDK_HOME/toolchains/llvm/prebuilt/linux-x86_64/bin/x86_64-linux-android-ar"

Generating the binaries

Now we need to generate binaries for all the enabled targets inside your build.gradle archTriplets. The easiest way is to use the gradle build system. Using the build.gradle inside examples/android-app, we automatically build all enabled targets after running the following:

./gradlew build

Alternatively, you can also manually run the commands.

  1. Compile the binaries for the target

Example: cargo build --target aarch64-linux-android --release

  1. Adding shared library

Copy $ANDROID_NDK_HOME/sources/cxx-stl/llvm-libc++/libs/$ARCH/ to src/main/libs/$ARCH/

Example: cp $ANDROID_NDK_HOME/sources/cxx-stl/llvm-libc++/libs/arm64-v8a/ examples/android-app/src/main/libs/arm64-v8a

Building your app

Assemble your android app with gradle using:

./gradlew aR

Signing your app

  1. Prepare a signing keystore; we will call it signed_ks.jks

How to make:

  1. Sign the apk

$ANDROID_HOME/build-tools/{VERSION}/apksigner sign --ks examples/android-app/signed_ks.jks --out examples/android-app/android-app-release-signed.apk -v examples/android-app/build/outputs/apk/release/android-app-release-unsigned.apk

  1. Connect device

For example:

  • adb pair 192.168.0.x:x
  • adb connect 192.168.0.x:x
  • adb install -r --fastdeploy examples/android-app/android-app-release-signed.apk
  • adb shell am monitor

Using pre-generated binaries

It is likely you do not want or need to compile by yourself. That is why we provide precompiled binaries found on our release page here. The Java releases are tagged with android-binding-vX.Y.Z.

Install the files attached to the release so that you achieve the following directory structure: (extract the into root_app/src/main/)


Android Studio

Then using Android Studio, add the native.jar to your project by right clicking -> Add As Library... -> Select your Android app Module and press OK.


Add the jar to your build.gradle dependencies section using; for example: implementation files('src\\main\\libs\\native.jar')


When trying to build the android-app example in the repository with precompiled binaries, comment out all the archTriplets inside (otherwise you will try to regenerate the .so files).