Android’s NDK – A Blaster Kit

Being an open source application, Android has never went through restrictions over development. But as a leader to the Open Handset Alliance, Google devised a path that allowed a native code development, which will enable developers to execute the code directly on the micro-processors of a device. Recently, Google released its NDK 1.6, which is much-hyped as a blaster kit allowing rapid native application development to derive the results.

What is NDK?

The NDK (Native Development Kit) is an adjunct to the Android’s SDK (Software Development Kit), which enables developers to generate and execute native machines within application packages. This code adopts the same restrictions as the Virtual Machine code, but it can embed a big list of operations, rapidly. This is a kind of ultimate tool to Android app developers since it can do heavy computations, digitized processes and developers can even port some performance-sensitive portions of their existing applications coded in ARM assembly language C and C++, which can call-out a live Java application through Java interface.

Few types of applications that are inefficient in creating interpreted Java, for instance, a real-time business intelligence supported by the mobile device, will work as native code. This kind of approach by the native code does not allow the application to slip out the sandbox created by the Operating System and specially, the native coded apps can’t be executed from the GUI, directly.

NDK 1.6 , What it has?

It’s a good news for Android app developers, that some new improvements have been introduced in the recent NDK 1.6. As seen in the Android’s official site, the new release has:

The capability to directly call-out the OpenGL functions which enhances the graphic rendering to big screen mobiles. The new NDK can parse the properties and can find which platform it was targeted. Then, it will automatically generate libraries in the native code. All sources like C, C++ and Java can be placed under the same tree for easier editing. Increases the performance of memory-intensive operations, and promises a big-drop in battery drain. And hot fixes to increase the host system abilities.

X code and Eclipse:

X code (iPhone’s IDE) is a great development kit. Its like a rainbow of different tools which range from interface designing tool, debugging tool, advanced compilers, memory analysis tools, memory leak finders, simulation and even icon designing tools. That’s pretty much more than you need.

But Eclipse, (Android’s IDE) is a Java-based kit. We can say that it is a pretty straight-forward SDK, since you can easily know what’s going on from the start till end. Luckily, Android SDK allows to integrate all libraries, compilers, emulators into a mixture.

Like Apple’s App store, Google is positioning itself to design and run its own Android market. But it will take a long time, since iPhone’s app store is considered as the most organized integrated application market on the Internet. Till the second quarter of 2009, app store reached 1.5 billion downloads. The reason is the smooth integration of iTunes with the device but Google thinks that the concept of App Store will eventually vanish and the web will take over, everything else.

Since, Android is open source, it liberally allows introduction and execution of innovative technologies. The platform will grow as a big giant as the open-source developer communities constantly support the path. Android has gained a global recognition all over the world but Apple’s iPhone takes the credit to spark up the industry where in the past, most mobile applications were either media players or simple race games that looked like 16-bit Nintendo stuff.

The release of the Android 1.6 NDK to the developing community indicates that the Android team had started to attract more developers to the platform – especially the Symbian developers, and possibly, the iPhone developers who feel that their hard work plunges in to the pool of hundreds of thousand apps, which is clogging the enormous iTunes App Store. Let’s wait and see, what this open source application, will bring to the world.