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Chicken Scheme on Android

This is a set of makefiles for the NDK that:

  • Builds Chicken Scheme as a dynamic library using just ndk-build
  • Builds csi for debugging/testing
  • Helps building libs from Scheme sources files that can be included in your app
  • Helps with runtime loading of compiled libraries, e.g. (require 'mylib)

Note that this is not a full Android app, but an NDK module that your own Android app's native modules can depend on with LOCAL_SHARED_LIBRARIES := chicken.



You'll have to build Chicken so it's ready with its C source files in place. If you have already built it for your desktop, this should suffice.

Provide CHICKEN_HOME, where runtime.c, chicken.h and eval.scm etc live and start the NDK-build toolchain:

$ CHICKEN_HOME=/your/chicken-core/folder/ ndk-build # -j 4 for the brave

This takes a long time! When done, you should see libs/armeabi/ and libs/armeabi/csi. To run csi on your device/emulator, push the binaries to a writeable place and launch:

$ adb push libs/armeabi/ /cache/
$ adb shell
# cd /cache/

Using in another project

  1. Compile your Scheme sources to C with csc -t
    Note: you don't need an Android version of csc since it will only compile to C.
  2. Import the chicken module with $(call import-add-path,$(ANDROID_CHICKEN_HOME)/modules-prebuilt) and $(call import-module,chicken)
  3. Add this chicken module as a dependency of your project: LOCAL_SHARED_LIBRARIES += chicken

By using the prebuilt version, you don't have to recompile chicken for every Chicken Android project. There's a small sample project in the samples directory that can give some guidelines.

$ cd samples/chicken-android-jni/
$ ndk-build
$ android update project -n SampleJni -p . -t android-10
$ ant debug
$ adb install -r bin/SampleJni-debug.apk

This should build the sameple app and install it on your device or emulator.

Notes / troubleshoot

  • When linking dynamically at the build-stage, like chicken is linked against the jni-sample, you need to manually load the dynamically load the dependency first with System.loadLibrary(...). See Changing LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

  • Don't forget to CHICKEN_run(C_toplevel) somewhere before your first chicken-call.

  • Don't forget to (return-to-host) or your app will exit after CHICKEN_run.


If you're use chicken-android as an imported module and see this: No such file or directory

Try rebuilding chicken-home where you specify CHICKEN_HOME like shown above. This should automatically store your provided value in for future use.

error while loading shared libraries:

If you see ../as: error while loading shared libraries:, it could be because the prebuilt as binary in the Android toolchain is linked against the 32-bit version of libz. You can chase these kind of problems with:

$ ldd <ndk>/toolchains/arm-linux-androideabi-4.4.3/prebuilt/linux-x86/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-as => not found

Try the equivalent of sudo pacman -S lib32-zlib for your distro.


Patches and feedback is always welcome! Some things that could be useful:

  • Abort build if csc fails
  • Generate Android makefile snippets for easier embedding