Clutter on Android: first results
With the release of Android 2.3, there’s a decent way to integrate native applications with the NativeActivity class, an EGL library, and some C API to expose events, main loop, etc. So? how about porting Clutter to it now that it looks actually feasible? After a few days of work, the first results are there, quite promising!
There’s still a fairly large number of items in my TODO before being happy with the state of this work, the most prominent items are:
- Get a clean up pass done to have something upstreamable, this includes finishing the event integration (it receives events but not yet forward them to Clutter),
- Come up with a plan to manage the application life cycle and handle the case when Android destroys the EGL surface that you were using (probably by having the app save a state, and properly tear down Clutter).,
- While you probably have the droid font installed in /system/fonts, this is not part of the advertised NDK interface. The safest choice is to embed the font you want to use with your application. Unfortunately fontconfig + freetype + pango + compressed assets in your Android package don’t work really well together. Maybe solve it at the Pango level with a custom “direct” fontmap implementation that would let you register fonts from files easily?
- What to do with text entries? show soft keyboard? Mx or Clutter problem? what happens to the GL surface in that case?
- Better test the GMainLoop/ALooper main loop integration (esp. adding and removing file descriptors),
- All the libraries that Clutter depends on are linked into a big .so (which is the Android NDK application). It results in a big .so (~5 MB, ~1.7 MB compressed in the .apk). That size can be dramatically reduced, sometimes at the expense of changes that will break the current API/ABI, but hell, you’ll be statically linking anyway,
- Provide “prebuilt libraries”, ie. pre-compiled libraries that makes it easy to just use Clutter to build applications.