Glue between Rust and Android
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Latest commit 0f7a4ec Feb 20, 2018

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With docker

The easiest way to compile for Android is to use docker and the tomaka/cargo-apk image.

In order to build an APK, simply do this:

docker run --rm -v <path-to-local-directory-with-Cargo.toml>:/root/src tomaka/cargo-apk cargo apk build

For example if you're on Linux and you want to compile the project in the current working directory.

docker run --rm -v "$(pwd):/root/src" -w /root/src tomaka/cargo-apk cargo apk build

Do not mount a volume on /root or you will erase the local installation of Cargo.

After the build is finished, you should get an Android package in target/android-artifacts/app/build/outputs/apk.

Manual usage

Setting up your environment

Before you can compile for Android, you need to setup your environment. This needs to be done only once per system.

  • Install rustup.

  • Run rustup target add arm-linux-androideabi, or any other target that you want to compile to.

  • Install the Java JDK (on Ubuntu, sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk)

  • Install CMake (on Ubuntu, sudo apt-get install cmake)

  • Install Gradle.

  • Download and unzip the Android NDK

  • Download and unzip the Android SDK (under SDK Tools Only at the bottom)

  • Install some components in the SDK: ./android-sdk/tools/bin/sdkmanager "platform-tools" "platforms;android-18" "build-tools;26.0.1"

  • Install cargo-apk with cargo install cargo-apk.

  • Set the environment variables NDK_HOME to the path of the NDK and ANDROID_HOME to the path of the SDK.


In the project root for your Android crate, run cargo apk build. You can use the same options as with the regular cargo build.

This will build an Android package in target/android-artifacts/app/build/outputs/apk.

Testing on an Android emulator

Start the emulator, then run:

cargo apk run

This will install your application on the emulator, then run it.
If you only want to install, use cargo apk install.

To show log run: cargo apk logcat | grep RustAndroidGlueStdouterr

Interfacing with Android

An application is not very useful if it doesn't have access to the screen, the user inputs, etc.

The android_glue crate provides FFI with the Android environment for things that are not in the stdlib.

How it works

The build process

The build process works by invoking cargo rustc and:

  • Always compiles your crate as a shared library.
  • Injects the android_native_app_glue file provided by the Android NDK.
  • Injects some glue libraries in Rust, which ties the link between android_native_app_glue and the main function of your crate.

This first step outputs a shared library, and is run once per target architecture.

The command then sets up an Android build environment, which includes some Java code, in target/android-artifacts and puts the shared libraries in it. Then it runs gradle.

Supported [] entries


# The Java package name for your application.
# Hyphens are converted to underscores.
package_name = ""

# The user-friendly name for your app, as displayed in the applications menu.
label = "My Android App"

# Path to your application's res/ folder. See `examples/use_icon/res`.
res = "path/to/res_folder"

# Virtual path your application's icon for any mipmap level. See `examples/use_icon/icon`.
icon = "@mipmap/ic_laucher"

# Path to the folder containing your application's assets. See `examples/use_assets/assets`.
assets = "path/to/assets_folder"

# The target Android API level.
# It defaults to 18 because this is the minimum supported by rustc.
# (target_sdk_version and min_sdk_version default to the value of "android_version")
android_version = 18
target_sdk_version = 18
min_sdk_version = 18

# If set to true, makes the app run in full-screen, by adding the following line
# as an XML attribute to the manifest's <application> tag :
#     android:theme="@android:style/Theme.DeviceDefault.NoActionBar.Fullscreen
# Defaults to false.
fullscreen = false

# Specifies the array of targets to build for.
# Defaults to "arm-linux-androideabi".
# Other possible targets include "aarch64-linux-android", 
# "armv7-linux-androideabi", "i686-linux-android" and "x86_64-linux-android".
build_targets = [ "arm-linux-androideabi", "armv7-linux-androideabi" ]

# The maximum supported OpenGL ES version , as claimed by the manifest. Defaults to 2.0.
# See
opengles_version_major = 2
opengles_version_minor = 0

# Adds extra arbitrary XML attributes to the <application> tag in the manifest.
# See
"android:debuggable" = "true"
"android:hardwareAccelerated" = "true"

# Adds extra arbitrary XML attributes to the <activity> tag in the manifest.
# See
"android:screenOrientation" = "unspecified"
"android:uiOptions" = "none"