1. Android Ndk Download
  2. Android Ndk Install
  3. Android Ndk Tutorial
  4. Android Ndk Tutorial


Android apps are typically written in Java, with its elegant object-oriented design. However, at times, you need to overcome the limitations of Java, such as memory management and performance, by programming directly into Android native interface. Android provides Native Development Kit (NDK) to support native development in C/C++, besides the Android Software Development Kit (Android SDK) which supports Java.

[TODO] more.

Android NDK is a companion tool of Android SDK that allows us to use native code C/C in our development. To use NDK tools, ensure that the following two highlighted tools are downloaded from the SDK Manager. To build and run for Android, you must install the Unity Android Build Support platform module. You also need to install the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and the Native Development Kit (NDK) to build and run any code on your Android device. By default, Unity.

NDK is a complex and advanced topics. I assume that your are familiar with:

  1. Android, Java and C/C++.
  2. Java Native Interface (JNI). Read 'Java Native Interface'.
  3. (For Windows) Cygwin. Read 'How to install Cygwin and MinGW'.

Installing the Native Development Kit (NDK)

The NDK provides all the tools (compilers, libraries, and header files) to build apps that access the device natively. Native code (in C/C++) is necessary for high performance to overcome the limitations in Java's memory management and performance.

Read 'Android NDK' @ http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html.

To install Android NDK:

  1. Setting up all the necessary tools for Android programming, such as JDK, Eclipse, Android SDK, Eclipse ADT (Read 'How to install Android SDK and Get Started'); and (for Windows Users) Cygwin (Read 'How to install Cygwin' and 'GCC and Make').
  2. Download the Android NDK from http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html (e.g., android-ndk-r8-windows.zip).
  3. Unzip the downloaded zip file into a directory of your choice (e.g., d:myproject). The NDK will be unzipped as d:myprojectandroid-ndk-r8. I shall denote the installed directory as <NDK_HOME>.
  4. Include the NDK installed directory in the PATH environment variable.

Writing a Hello-world Android NDK Program

Step 0: Read the Documentation

Read 'Android NDK' @ http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html.


Read the NDK documentation 'documentation.html' @ Android NDK's installed directory. The NDK documentation is kept in the 'docs' sub-directory.

The steps in building an Android NDK app are:

  1. Create a sub-directory called 'jni' and place all the native sources here.
  2. Create a 'Android.mk' to describe your native sources to the NDK build system.
  3. Build your native code by running the 'ndk-build' (in NDK installed directory) script from your project's directory. The build tools copy the stripped, shared libraries needed by your application to the proper location in the application's project directory.
  4. Finally, compile and run your application using the SDK tools in the usual way. The SDK build tools will package the shared libraries in the application's deployable '.apk' file.

Study the sample programs provided in 'samples' directory, in particular the 'hello-jni'.

Step 1: Write an Android JNI program

In this example, we shall create an activity, that calls a native method to obtain a string and displays the string on a TextView.

Create an Android project called 'AndroidHelloJNI', with application name 'Hello JNI' and package 'com.mytest'. Create an activity called 'JNIActivity' with Layout name 'activity_jni' and Title 'Hello JNI'.

Replaced the 'JNIActivity.java' as follows:

This JNI program uses a static initializer to load a shared library ('myjni.dll' in Windows or 'libmyjni.so' in Unixes). It declares a native method called getMessage(), which returns a String to be as the TextView's message. The onCreate() method declares a TextView, and invokes the native method getMessage() to set its text.

Android Ndk Download

Step 2: Generating C/C++ Header File using 'javah' Utility

Create a folder 'jni' under the project's root (right-click on the project ⇒ New ⇒ Folder). Create a sub-folder 'include' under 'jni' for storing the header files.

Run 'javah' utility (from a CMD shell) to create C/C++ header called 'HelloJNI.h':

  • -classpath: in our case, we need the JNIActivity.class which is kept in '<project-root>binclasses'; and its superclass Android.app.Activity.class which is kept in android.jar under the Android SDK.
  • -o: to set the output filename.
  • You need to use the fully-qualified name 'com.mytest.JNIActivity'.

The header file contains a function prototype:

The native method getMessage() maps to the above header in the native code, in the form of Java_<fully-qualified-name>_methodName, with dots replaced by underscores.

Step 2: C Implementation - HelloJNI.c

Create the following C program called 'HelloJNI.c' under the 'jni' directory (right-click on the 'jni' folder ⇒ New ⇒ File):

The native program gets and returns a JNI jstring via JNI environment interface function NewStringUTF() with an input C-string 'Hello from native code!'. Read 'Java Native Interface (JNI)' for details.

Step 3: Create an Android makefile - Android.mk

Create an Android makefile called 'Android.mk' under the 'jni' directory (right-click on 'jni' folder ⇒ New ⇒ File), as follows:

In the above makefile, 'myjni' is the name of our shared library (used in System.loadLibrary()), and 'HelloJNI.c' is the source file.

Step 4: Build NDK

Start a CMD shell, change directory to the project's root directory, and run 'ndk-build' script provided by Android NDK (the Android NDK installed directory shall be in the PATH).

Android Ndk Install


  • Use 'ndk-build --help' to display the command-line options.
  • Use 'ndk-build V=1' to display the build messages.
  • Use 'ndk-build -B' to perform a force re-built.

Android Ndk Tutorial

Step 5: Run the Android App

Run the android app, via 'Run As' ⇒ 'Android Application'. You shall see the message from the native program appears on the screen.

Check the 'LogCat' panel to confirm that the shared library 'libmyjni.so' is loaded.

Link to Android's References and Resources



Android Ndk Tutorial

  1. Android NDK mother site @ http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html.
  2. Android NDK documentation 'documentation.html' @ Android NDK's installed directory.
  3. Android NDK Samples @ 'samples' sub-directory of NDK installed directory.
  4. 'Java Native Interface (JNI)'.
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