[swift-users] Build Android GUI apps with Swift 3.0 via a framework/library

Proyb P proyb6 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 15 13:07:55 CDT 2016

Android N and later may changes a lot, I would use Kotlin which has
similarity to Swift syntax.

Kotlin Lang

Javascript for mobile app for best compatibility.

On Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 9:34 AM, Tony Constantinides via swift-users <
swift-users at swift.org> wrote:

> Yeah,
> I do not disagree with you.
>   People who have succeeded have gone down the code generation route.
> a) This require them to build a special Swift compiler that generates
> Android Java Code from Swift code. They generate a 95% complete Java
> Android app and finish it in Android Studio. By doing it that way you avoid
> all the runtime issues and the binding issues. The problem is that you have
> to mirror the Android SDK on Swift and code Swift like Java. You would have
> to update the compiler for every new Java Class you would need to generate
> which is not flexible but doable.
> b)  Other people have tried to port the entire Swift toolchain to Android
> but that far too much work and Swift is changing too fast to make that
> feasible. Observe the dead projects on GitHub.
> c)  My first thought was to create a shim that routing messages from the
> Swift app to a Java app which translated them to API calls but this has
> bootstrapping issues and code maintenance issues.
> d)  My second thought  is to use JNI, as it already been proven that you
> can call C code from Swift which in turn can call Android Java code. This
> approach require lots of bindings and a bootstrap of the Android runtime
> and god knows how many third party libs. The java app also wants to be in
> charge and load the JNI bindings as a so file via its LoadLibrary() call.
> It might be easier to call Swift from Java rather than the other way round
> if the Swift code could be built as a library. Writing JNI glue code does
> not excite me.
>  Since I can already build Swift on Linux and ARM, I do have the ability
> to generate an Android runnable app from Swift code. The only issue is that
> I am using the Android NDK way of writing Android which provides access to
> only the C++ API of Android which is far smaller API surface that the huge
> Java API surface and its big runtime. This evolves  Swift calling an LVM
>  module library that contains C code that call the Android NDK API which
> bootstrap the NativeActivity class in Android (and the android runtime) and
> from there you can access the Camera and multimedia API just not the GUI
> widgets.
>   This is not too soon to think about as Swift language changes are
> supposed to be minimal until Swift 4.0. Of course Google could do the work
> for me but I not holding my breath. You can also build Android GUI apps
> without every referencing the Google Service API but I do notice that the
> Google Service API is being extended because it does not require an Android
> OS update to get new features into Android..
> On Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 5:20 PM, Hooman Mehr <hooman at mac.com> wrote:
>> I think it is too soon to tackle this issue.
>> I think there is room for making adapters for a lightweight GUI toolkit
>> for embedded applications. For example, a Swift adapter for EFL
>> <https://www.enlightenment.org/about-efl> (of Enlightenment) or
>> something like that. But when we talk about Android, we are usually talking
>> about a real Android app that can be a good citizen in Google ecosystem. I
>> don’t think this is feasible right now.
>> Current Android GUI services is too intertwined with its proprietary
>> runtime and VM and Google is continuing to tie them harder and harder to
>> its Google services API. Unless Google starts treating non-Dalvik-based
>> languages as first class citizens in Android development world, there is no
>> point in trying to make Swift usable as a GUI development language for
>> Android. It is not going to work.
>> Just my opinion.
>> On Oct 13, 2016, at 2:56 PM, Tony Constantinides via swift-users <
>> swift-users at swift.org> wrote:
>> Ok,
>> Can I take the fact that there no feedback yet on
>> a) The community is not interested in writing Android apps in Swift
>> or
>> b) Wrong forum despite the fact the inventor the Swift programming
>> language pointed me here,
>> or
>> c) This has been tried and failed before.
>> I sincerely interested in the Swift community thoughts and ideas. I
>> sincerely want to build this project based on the desires of the Swift
>> developers community. Let me know what you think about the proposal
>> and yes, I can present in much more detail.
>> I took the idea from this page
>> https://github.com/apple/swift/blob/master/docs/Android.md
>> Thank you
>> Sincerely yours,
>> Tony Constantinides
>> On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 5:12 PM, Tony Constantinides <
>> constantinnovationsinc at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> In Swift 3.0 you can build Android apps in Linux but only console apps
>>> as there is no framework to build GUI apps using JNI.
>>> What I propose is to build an initial limited framework coded in C that
>>> calls enough of the Java Android API via JNI to bootstrap the android app
>>> and to create widgets and layouts.A default Androidmanifest.xml file and
>>> some files needed to be generated to make a valid android app.
>>>   The Android API java surface is vast, so this framework needs to be
>>> build over many releases to be useful. Developing a graphical Android app
>>> requires interaction with "Activities" and the package manager and some
>>> widgets like Button and some layouts like "RelativeLayout" and
>>> "LinearLayout".
>>>  The result will be the ability to develop GUI Android apps on Linux
>>> using Swift 3.0
>>> Further support for additional APIs will be provided once the basics are
>>> solid..
>>> Who am I: Senior Android mobile developer with more than six years
>>> experience on Android.
>>> Am I able to build Swift 3.0 on Linux: Yes
>>> Any help, suggestions, or ideas are most welcome
>>> Warms regards,
>>> Tony Constantinides
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