Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source

HelloWorld.apk built with Nim and no Android Studio

To build the project, you will currently need the following prerequisites:

  • Nim compiler
  • Go compiler (TODO: remove this dependency — at least provide prebuilt binaries of apksigner)
  • Android NDK (the elephant in the room...)
    • standalone toolchain — just download and unpack somewhere, no installation required afterwards (still, ~2.5GB unpacked)
  • ...and: NO Java, NO JRE, NO Android Studio, NO Android SDK! 🎉

Build Steps

  1. Compile the native JNI code, using Nim + Android NDK:

    $ git clone
      # Edit `nim.cfg`: change `--clang.path=...` to a correct path to clang in your Android NDK directory.
      # Also: remove `.cmd` suffixes in `nim.cfg` if you are on Linux.
    $ cd hellomello
    $ nim c --app:lib --os:android --cpu=arm -d:noSignalHandler --hint[CC]:on hello.nim
    $ mkdir lib
    $ mkdir lib/armeabi-v7a
    $ mv lib/armeabi-v7a/
    $ cd ..
  2. Assemble the Dalvik bytecode (required to wrap the JNI library), using dali:

    $ git clone
    $ cd dali
    $ nim c jni_hello.nim
    $ ./jni_hello > ../hellomello/classes.dex
    $ cd ..
  3. Compile the manifest file to binary format, using marco:

    $ git clone
    $ cd marco
    $ nimble build
    $ cd ../hellomello
    $ ../marco/marco < AndroidManifest0.xml > AndroidManifest.xml
  4. Build an unsigned .apk, using OS-provided zip archiver:

    $ zip -r unsigned.apk  classes.dex lib/ AndroidManifest.xml
      adding: classes.dex (172 bytes security) (deflated 44%)
      adding: lib/ (192 bytes security) (stored 0%)
      adding: lib/armeabi-v7a/ (192 bytes security) (stored 0%)
      adding: lib/armeabi-v7a/ (172 bytes security) (deflated 60%)
      adding: AndroidManifest.xml (172 bytes security) (stored 0%)
    $ cd ..
  5. Sign the .apk, using apksigner tool written in Go:

    $ git clone
    $ cd apksigner
    $ go build
    $ cd ../hellomello
    $ ../apksigner/apksigner -i unsigned.apk -o hello.apk -k key.pk8 -c key.x509.pem
    $ unzip -l hello.apk
    Archive:  hello.apk
      Length     Date   Time    Name
     --------    ----   ----    ----
          282  00-00-80 00:00   META-INF/MANIFEST.MF
          335  00-00-80 00:00   META-INF/CERT.SF
          436  00-00-80 00:00   META-INF/CERT.EC
           14  06-05-19 22:30   AndroidManifest.xml
         1060  06-05-19 22:29   classes.dex
       149348  06-05-19 22:28   lib/armeabi-v7a/
     --------                   -------
       151475                   6 files
  6. ...aaand you should have a hello.apk file now, ready to be installed on an ARM-based Android device. Worked For Me™... In case of problems installing or opening the apk on your device, try running adb logcat (yep, that requires Android Studio... or you could try python-adb). I suggest searching for "InstallInstall" and "InstallFail" messages, verifier/verification messages, and Java-like exception stack traces. You're welcome to post your problems as issues on this repository, but I can't promise I will be able to help you in any way. We can treat them as "observations" or "reports". Maybe someone else will come by and suggest some steps for future experimenters.

/Mateusz Czapliński.

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