Understanding Android-IV (Native C/C++ Libraries, Java API Framework & System Apps)

Native C/C++ Libraries:

Many core Android system components and services, such as ART and HAL, are built from native code that requires native libraries written in C and C++. The Android platform provides Java framework APIs to expose the functionality of some of these native libraries to apps.

For example, you can access OpenGL ES through the Android framework’s Java OpenGL API to add support for drawing and manipulating 2D and 3D graphics in your app.

If you are developing an app that requires C or C++ code, you can use the Android NDK to access some of these native platform libraries directly from your native code.

Android NDK is a companion tool of Android SDK that allows you to build performance-critical parts of your app using native code (with the help of such languages as C and C++).

It provides headers and libraries that allow you to build activities, handle user input, use hardware sensors, access application resources, and more when programming in C or C++. If you write native code, your applications are still packaged into an .apk file and they still run inside of a virtual machine on the device. The fundamental Android application model doesn’t change.

The entire feature-set of the Android OS is available to you through APIs written in the Java language. These APIs form the building blocks you need to create Android apps by simplifying the reuse of core, modular system components, and services, which include the following:

  • A rich and extensible View System you can use to build an app’s UI, including lists, grids, text boxes, buttons, and even an embeddable web browser
  • A Resource Manager, providing access to non-code resources such as localized strings, graphics, and layout files
  • A Notification Manager that enables all apps to display custom alerts in the status bar
  • An Activity Manager that manages the lifecycle of apps and provides a common navigation back stack
  • Content Providers that enable apps to access data from other apps, such as the Contacts app, or to share their own data

Developers have full access to the same framework APIs that Android system apps use.

Android comes with a set of core apps for email, SMS messaging, calendars, internet browsing, contacts, and more. Apps included with the platform have no special status among the apps the user chooses to install. So a third-party app can become the user’s default web browser, SMS messenger, or even the default keyboard (some exceptions apply, such as the system’s Settings app).

The system apps function both as apps for users and to provide key capabilities that developers can access from their own app. For example, if your app would like to deliver an SMS message, you don’t need to build that functionality yourself — you can instead invoke whichever SMS app is already installed to deliver a message to the recipient you specify.

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Aasish Mithra

Aasish Mithra

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A computer enthusiast and a tech geek, looking towards the future as to become an intellect in Cyber Security and to excel in the industry with great passion.