» Archive for May, 2010

Signing Android applications

Saturday, May 15th, 2010 by Niki

In order to install an Android Application onto the emulator or the phone you must first cryptographically sign it. When you do a debug build (using “ant debug”) ant will automatically sign the binary with an auto-generated debug key.

This key is set to expire 365 days after it was auto-generated (the first time you did a debug build). If a debug build fails due to an expired key, you simply need to delete the current debug key and a new one will be auto-generated. To do this, navigate to where the debug key is located and delete it. On Linux and Mac OS X this is ~/.android and the key is the file “debug.keystore”.

Signing your application with a debug key is fine for testing purposes but for release the application should be signed with a unique key that you have generated just for that purpose. If you plan on release the application on the Android Market then the key should also contain correct identifying information (your name or company) and should expire no earlier than October 22, 2033.

To generate a key you need to have the keytool application that come with Java. You need to specify the key-store (the file name), the alias for the key, which algorithm to use (we want RSA) and how long it should be valid for. Let’s create a key stored in the file “release.keystore” with the alias “release” that will be valid for 10,000 days:

niki@redblacktree:~/.android$ keytool -genkey -v -key-store release.keystore -alias release -keyalg RSA -validity 10000

Keytool will then ask you a bunch of questions:

Enter keystore password:
Re-enter new password:
What is your first and last name?
[Unknown]: Niki Yoshiuchi
What is the name of your organizational unit?
[Unknown]: aplusbi
What is the name of your organization?
[Unknown]: aplusbi
What is the name of your City or Locality?
[Unknown]: New York
What is the name of your State or Province?
[Unknown]: NY
What is the two-letter country code for this unit?
[Unknown]: US
Is CN=Niki Yoshiuchi, OU=aplusbi, O=aplusbi, L=New York, ST=NY, C=US correct?
[no]: y

Generating 1,024 bit RSA key pair and self-signed certificate (SHA1withRSA) with a validity of 10,000 days
for: CN=Niki Yoshiuchi, OU=aplusbi, O=aplusbi, L=New York, ST=NY, C=US
Enter key password for
(RETURN if same as keystore password):
[Storing release.keystore]

And you’re done! You’ll notice that I ran keytool out of the ~/.android directory so that release.keystore is located in the same place as debug.keystore.

Now onto signing applications. Let’s go back to our Hello Android project and do a release build:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ ant release

Once this has finished there should be a new apk located in the bin directory called “HelloAndroid-unsigned.apk”. We need to sign it with the key we created earlier using jarsigner:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ jarsigner -keystore ~/.android/release.keystore HelloAndroid-unsigned.apk release

And now “HelloAndroid-unsigned.apk” has been signed. It can now be installed using adb.

Creating an Android project from the Command Line

Friday, May 14th, 2010 by Niki

Android’s developer guide has a section on Developing in other IDEs for those who don’t want to use Eclipse. However the documentation leaves out a few details and all of the examples use Eclipse with perhaps a token paragraph discussing the CLI. The rest of this post will assume that you have already installed the SDK and properly configured it (added the SDK to your path and installed the appropriate SDK components).

The first thing to do is to figure out which version of Android you want to target. Version 1.6 (aka – “Donut”) is a pretty good lowest-common-denominator. Using the Android tool we will figure out the ID for 1.6:

niki@redblacktree:~$ android list targets

Which will give you a list of all the targets available (this depends on which SDK components you have added). My output looks like this:

Available Android targets:
id: 1 or "android-3"
Name: Android 1.5
Type: Platform
API level: 3
Revision: 1
Skins: QVGA-L, QVGA-P, HVGA (default), HVGA-P, HVGA-L
id: 2 or "android-4"
Name: Android 1.6
Type: Platform
API level: 4
Revision: 1
Skins: WVGA854, QVGA, HVGA (default), WVGA800
id: 3 or "android-7"
Name: Android 2.1
Type: Platform
API level: 7
Revision: 1
Skins: WVGA854, WQVGA400, QVGA, HVGA (default), WVGA800, WQVGA432

The target ID for version 1.6 is 2. Knowing that, let’s set up an Android Virtual Device (AVD) for our emulator using the android tool, specifying the target with the –target option and giving it a name with the –name option. We will use the default hardware configuration:

niki@redblacktree:~$ android create avd --target 2 --name donut
Android 1.6 is a basic Android platform.
Do you wish to create a custom hardware profile [no]
Created AVD 'test' based on Android 1.6, with the following hardware config:

Finally, let’s setup a project. Again well use the android tool, this time to create a new project. I’m going to create the project in the directory ~/projects/android/hello:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ android create project --name HelloAndroid --activity HelloAndroid --path ./ --package com.examples.helloandroid --target 2

This will create a new project in the current directory (–path ./) with the name “HelloAndroid” (–name HelloAndroid). It will be targeted towards Android 1.6 (–target 2). It will create a Java source file containing an Activity “HelloAndroid” (–activity HelloAndroid) and will be in the namespace “com.examples.helloandroid” (–package com.examples.helloandroid).

We can now use Apache Ant to build our project:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ ant debug

This will build a debug version of our project and place the “HelloAndroid-debug.apk” in the bin directory. This application has been signed using a default debug key and is ready to be installed on a device. To do that, let’s fire up the emulator, using the virtual device we created earlier:

niki@redblacktree:~$ emulator -avd donut

Once the emulator has finished booting, we can get a list of attached devices using the Android Debug Bridge or adb:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ adb devices
List of devices attached
emulator-5554 device

If there is only one device attached, then you can install the application using ant:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ ant install

Which will automatically remove any previous versions installed on the device and install the current build. Alternatively you can use adb to install the application:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ adb install bin/HelloAndroid-debug.apk

This will fail, however, if you have already installed a previous version of the application on the device. If that is the case, you need to uninstall it first:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ adb uninstall com.examples.helloandroid

Note that you must specify the application by the name of its package.

Finally if you have more than one device attached, (say, a phone and an emulator) then you must specify which device (using the name returned from adb devices) using -s:

niki@redblacktree:~/projects/android/hello$ adb -s emulator-5554 install bin/HelloAndroid-debug.apk

Now you can just navigate to the application on the emulator or on your phone and run it! You’ll notice by default it says “Hello World, HelloAndroid!”

That’s the basics of setting up, building and running an application using the CLI instead of eclipse. In the next post I’ll go over release builds and signing your applications.

Android Development without Eclipse

Thursday, May 13th, 2010 by Niki

I have owned an Android-based phone (the G1) for awhile now and have been meaning to develop applications for it since day one. I have finally gotten around to learning how. So far it hasn’t been easy for me: I don’t know Java and I don’t use Eclipse which are the primary development tools for Android.

Fortunately Google released the Android NDK, or Native Development Kit which can be used to program applications in C or C++ and be compiled for the ARM architecture. This introduces new complexities however. The NDK still requires some Java as the compiled code is executed using JNI. In other words I still need to learn a minimal amount of Java and learn how to interface it with native code.

Finally, most of the information online assumes the use of Eclipse. Google provides some tools for creating ant build files but I have found the documentation to be lacking a bit. Through some trial and error I have figured out how to compile the NDK samples and in my next post will present a tutorial for doing so.

Topics so far:
* Creating an Android project from the Command Line
* Signing Android applications