Accessing C++11 Features of the Android NDK

January 13, 2015 in Android, C++, Programming, Tips & Tricks, Tutorial by admin

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Once you start working with some of the handy new C++11 features, it is a bit difficult to stop using them simply because you want to work on an Android project. Fortunately, the Android NDK supports C++11 features, although they are not enabled by default. The default Android NDK configuration provides only a minimal C++ runtime support library and doesn’t include the necessary flags to activate available C++11 features. In this article, I explain how set up a project to use C++11 features, relying on Eclipse and the latest available Android NDK, version r9d.

Consider a very common scenario in which you want to create a new Android app by reusing existing C++ code. In these cases, a typical solution is to develop the UI in Java and use the Java Native Interface (JNI) to make calls to the C++ code from Java (and the other way around if necessary). If your existing C++ code has been written taking advantage of C++11 features, you certainly would not want to create a new version removing all these C++11 features just to make it fit with the default Android NDK configuration. Fortunately, you can activate the NDK’s C++11 features to allow you to work with modern C++ amenities, and you can go on using the auto keyword, lambda expressions, and other useful C++11 features.

I’ll assume that you have basic experience working with Eclipse, Android Development Tools (ADT), and the Android NDK; hence, I won’t provide specific instructions for the basic setup of these tools. You will need ADT and NDK installed on your system in order to test the examples. Because ADT and NDK have important changes in each new release, it’s important to note that I am using ADT Build v22.6.2-1085508 and NDK Revision 9d. This way, I can focus on the necessary configurations and tweaks related to C++11 and the related features. I’ll use a simple example Android app that employs a few C++11 features combined with some use of the Standard Templates Library (STL). Finally, I’ll explain additional options and configurations that you might need to consider.”

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