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android-ndkGetting started with android-ndk


What is the Android NDK?

Android Native Development Kit (NDK) is a companion tool to Android SDK that allows portions of apps to be built in in C/C++. This is useful for:

  • Sharing application components across platforms (Android, iOS, Linux, etc.)
  • Improving performance for critical portions
  • Reusing existing C/C++ libraries

The NDK provides headers and libraries that allow the developer to build activities, handle user input, use hardware sensors, access application resources, and more - all the while programming in C/C++.


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Getting started with Android NDK with simple example

Using Android Studio 2.2 and higher Native Development Kit (NDK) you can use to compile C and C++ code.

You can use NDK by manually downloading NDK and build it or through CMake .

Here I will give process flow for manually install NDK and an example code,

Based on your System OS you can download NDK from this location https://developer.android.com/ndk/downloads/index.html.

After downloading, give the path in System Environment Variable as variable name “NDK_PROJECT_PATH” and variable value “location of NDK stored path”.

  • Next, to integrate NDK with Android Studio, after creating a new android project,

    In gradle – local properties add location of sdk path like



      android.useDeprecatedNdk = true
  • Then, Press Build – Make Project (Ctrl + f9).

    Your project will be successfully build and will get BUILD SUCCESFUL in message gradle build, as shown below

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Then in Terminal, initially it will contains project’s path

There add cd app/src/main

Path will extend from project path to main.

Next, again Build – Make Project (Ctrl + f9).

Now you will find under app-build–intermediates–classes–debug folder, as shown below.

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Now, create a new Java Class file under a app/src/main/java , Here I created java file named NativeClass

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Write a simple calling function with function name and input for the function, Here I written function as example and given two integer input to it,

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Again build the project (Ctrl + f9),

When you build, you will find the class file created under build like this,

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Then,in terminal 
    `-Javah  -d  jni –classpath ../../build/intermediates/classes/debug`application.com.ndkapplication.NativeClass

where , -d – for output directory -jni -Generate JNI-style header file (default) -classpath -- for which to load classes

Now build the project (Ctrl + f9), you will find jni folder created and a header file will be created with the name you specified in terminal before as shown below

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Now copy header file and save as .cpp or .c file of same name of header file in jni folder .

I created a cpp file as shown below

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Delete everything before **JNIEXPORT line** in this file and **add header file name** alone.
Here I am for simple example just adding two numbers and returning value to android java.


 #include <application_com_ndkapplication_NativeClass.h>

JNIEXPORT jint JNICALL Java_application_com_ndkapplication_NativeClass_example
  (JNIEnv *, jclass , jint as , jint bs){

    return (as + bs);


And for this example no need to add any function in its header file.

Create a new file named Android.mk and Application.mk in Jni folder

Android.mk file is to describe your sources to the build system.


LOCAL_PATH := $(call my-dir)

include $(CLEAR_VARS)

LOCAL_SRC_FILES := application_com_ndkapplication_NativeClass.cpp


LOCAL_MODULE := exp-jni


to know detail about this file read from this link https://developer.android.com/ndk/guides/android_mk.html

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Application.mk which describes the native modules that your app requires.


APP_STL := gnustl_static

APP_CPPFLAGS := -frtti –fexceptions

APP_ABI := armeabi-v7a armeabi arm64-v8a mips mips64 x86 x86_64

APP_PLATFORM := android-16

to know detail about this file read from this link https://developer.android.com/ndk/guides/application_mk.html

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 Now build the project again **(Ctrl + f9)**, you will find the **armeabi-v7a, armeabi, arm64-v8a ,mips, mips64, x86 and x86_64** folder created inside jniLibs.

Then, in main activity pass the input and get output for native class file.

int a = 5, b = 5, res ;

res = NativeClass.example(((int) a),((int) b));

TextView textView = (TextView) this.findViewById(R.id.tv);

textView.setText(new Integer(res).toString());

here I given two integers input through a, b and get output from variable res .

And obtained output is displayed in screen by passing to TextView.

And don’t forget to add the library which you specified in Android.mk file as LOCAL_MODULE like this,

static {

Finally build the project again (Ctrl + f9), you will find the .so files created under each armeabi-v7a, armeabi, arm64-v8a ,mips, mips64, x86 and x86_64 folder.

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Then now run the application, you will get output for this example as 10 .

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This is basic program for NDK beginners, OpenCV library can be imported here and you can do image processing applications also.