Android and "True Native" Compilers

Here’s what Google has to say about using their NDK:

The NDK is a toolset that allows you to implement parts of your app using native-code languages such as C and C++. For certain types of apps, this can be helpful so you can reuse existing code libraries written in these languages, but most apps do not need the Android NDK.

Before downloading the NDK, you should understand that the NDK will not benefit most apps. As a developer, you need to balance its benefits against its drawbacks. Notably, using native code on Android generally does not result in a noticable [sic] performance improvement, but it always increases your app complexity. In general, you should only use the NDK if it is essential to your app—never because you simply prefer to program in C/C++ [or Pascal].

Typical good candidates for the NDK are self-contained, CPU-intensive operations that don’t allocate much memory, such as signal processing, physics simulation, and so on. When examining whether or not you should develop in native code, think about your requirements and see if the Android framework APIs provide the functionality that you need.

At RemObjects, our philosophy has always been to support developers using the official tool chains and frameworks that are recommended by the platform vendor (especially now that in the 21st century these APIs have become so good, object-oriented and easy to work with, out of the box) – whether with our Oxygene compiler or our Data Abstract and RemObjects SDK library products, both of which support Android at the proper and recommended level: Dalvik.

marc hoffman

Chief Architect and CEO here at RemObjects Software. Project Manager for Elements and lead developer of Fire, our awesome new development environment for the Mac.