How To Build BOINC Apps for Android
This document describes how to build BOINC apps for Android.
We assume the app is written in C/C++. It must be cross-compiled on a non-Android system (Linux, Windows, or Mac; the instructions here are for Linux). The BOINC API library (libboincapi) must also be cross-compiled and linked. The result of this is a "native mode" executable for a particular architecture (ARM, MIPS, or Intel) on Android.
Various build systems can be used for this purpose:
- The GNU tools (configure/make).
- Android Studio
In this document we'll use the GNU tools.
In the following, we'll assume that on your build system:
- the BOINC source tree is at ~/boinc.
- the source code for your application is at ~/my_app.
Download and install the latest Android Native Development Kit (NDK): http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html
Set an environment variable NDK_ROOT to point to the NDK directory, e.g.
Prepare the Android toolchain by doing
cd ~/boinc/android build_androidtc_arm.sh
This create a directory ~/android-tc/arm containing compilers, linkers, and libraries for that CPU type.
You can override the default toolchain location by defining the ANDROID_TC environment variable.
Now build the BOINC libraries:
cd ~/boinc/android build_libraries_arm.sh
This builds the libraries, and stores them together with their .h files in ~/android-tc/arm (by default).
Now build your app as follows:
cd ~/my_app ~/boinc/android/boinc_build_app_arm.sh
Note: this assumes we're building an ARM executable. If you want to build MIPS or Intel, substitute "mips" or "intel" in the above commands.
Building FPU versions
To build a version for VFP:
-O3 -mhard-float -mfpu=vfp -mfloat-abi=softfp -fomit-frame-pointer
To build a version for neon:
-O3 -mhard-float -mfpu=neon -mfloat-abi=softfp -fomit-frame-pointer
It's often useful to build a single executable that can support the vfp or neon libraries & instructions, and then use the BOINC APP_INIT_DATA and HOST_INFO structures to find the capabilities of the host and call the appropriate optimized routines (member variable 'p_features' e.g. strstr(aid.host_info.p_features, " neon ").
You can do this by selectively compiling using the above options, into separate small libraries that you link into the single executable, and use C++ namespaces to separate similar function calls. Refer to the boinc/client/Makefile.am and client/whetstone.cpp, and client/cs_benchmark.cpp files for an example of how to do this.
Position-independent executables (PIE)
Starting with version 4.1, Android supports position-independent executables (PIE). Starting with version 5.0, PIE is mandatory - Android refuses to run native executables that are not PIE. The minimum Android version supported by BOINC is thus 4.1.
You can build PIE apps by including in your Makefile:
LOCAL_CFLAGS += -fPIE LOCAL_LDFLAGS += -fPIE -pie
You should use plan classes so that
- PIE versions are sent only to Android 4.1 or later devices.
- non-PIE versions are sent only to pre-5.0 devices.
For example (using XML plan class specification):
<plan_class> <name>android_arm_pie</name> <min_android_version>40100</min_android_version> </plan_class> <plan_class> <name>android_arm_non_pie</name> <max_android_version>49999</max_android_version> </plan_class>
If you have both PIE and non-PIE, change the 49999 to 40099.
Deploying Android app versions
BOINC on Android uses the following BOINC platform identifier: "arm-android-linux-gnu" "x86-android-linux-gnu" "mipsel-android-linux-gnu"
(how to use plan classes if you have separate FPU versions) The client reports CPU architecture and capabilities, i.e. VFP and NEON support, to the project server.
FORTRAN on Android NDK (optional build)
The Android NDK currently does not have a FORTRAN compiler distributed with it. But it is possible to build GNU Fortran (gfortran) libraries for ARM/Android using the information at http://danilogiulianelli.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/how-to-build-gcc-fortran-cross-compiler.html
Setup the environment: samples/example_app/build_android.sh
Android Makefile: samples/example_app/Makefile_android
An example of how to adapt a BOINC app's Makefile to compile it for Android can be found in the AndroidBOINC sources at: native/diffs_android/uppercase/Makefile_android (Note: AndroidBOINC is not supported anymore and out-of-date.)