author Nigel Babu <>
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:42:28 +0530
changeset 319514 1836c1f9ef198fda8e0cb76e314769191ee4a5d0
child 319702 3c3e39e9becc24e6bc8b305078e86bfdc9c7f200
permissions -rw-r--r--
Backed out 10 changesets (bug 1234629, bug 1233882) for bustage on Android rc tests Backed out changeset 9aa32d9a25df (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset d73d36c9619b (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset a7f63b3721cd (bug 1233882) Backed out changeset c79f4a8c3e86 (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset 400c030d3c01 (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset 54a3d0851bc6 (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset f80912ecfa87 (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset 50bcadca2131 (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset aaa420ed66d7 (bug 1234629) Backed out changeset 7a62e97f07c2 (bug 1234629)

.. -*- Mode: rst; fill-column: 80; -*-

 Building with Gradle


.. code-block:: shell

  ./mach build && ./mach package
  ./mach gradle build

The debug APK will be at

The ``$OBJDIR/mobile/android/gradle`` directory can be imported into IntelliJ as

- File > Import Project...
- [select ``$OBJDIR/mobile/android/gradle``]
- Import project from external model > Gradle
- [select Use customizable Gradle wrapper]

When prompted, do not add any files to git.  You may need to re-open the
project, or restart IntelliJ, to pick up a compiler language-level change.

Technical overview


* The Gradle build will "succeed" but crash on start up if the object directory
  has not been properly packaged.
* Changes to preprocessed source code and resources (namely, ````
  and the accompanying DTD files) may not be recognized.
* There's minimal support for editing JavaScript.
* There's no support for editing C/C++.

How the Gradle project is laid out

To the greatest extent possible, the Gradle configuration lives in the object

At the time of writing, there are three main sub-modules: *app*, *base*, and
*thirdparty*, and several smaller sub-modules.

*app* is the Fennec wrapper; it generates the **org.mozilla.fennec.R** resource
package.  *base* is the Gecko code; it generates the **org.mozilla.gecko.R**
resource package.  Together, *app* and *base* address the "two package
namespaces" that has plagued Fennec from day one.

Due to limitations in the Android Gradle plugin, all test code is shoved into
the *app* module.  (The issue is that, at the time of writing, there is no
support for test-only APKs.)  For no particular reason, the compiled C/C++
libraries are included in the *app* module; they could be included in the *base*
module.  I expect *base* to rebuilt slightly more frequently than *app*, so I'm
hoping this choice will allow for faster incremental builds.

*thirdparty* is the external code we use in Fennec; it's built as an Android
library but uses no resources.  It's separate simply to allow the build system
to cache the compiled and pre-dexed artifacts, hopefully allowing for faster
incremental builds.

Recursive make backend details

The ``mobile/android/gradle`` directory writes the following into

1) the Gradle wrapper;
2) ````;
3) symlinks to certain source and resource directories.

The Gradle wrapper is written to make it easy to build with Gradle from the
object directory.  The wrapper is `intended to be checked into version

```` is the single source of per-object directory Gradle
configuration, and provides the Gradle configuration access to
configure/ variables.

The symlinks are not necessary for the Gradle build itself, but they prevent
nested directory errors and incorrect Java package scoping when the Gradle
project is imported into IntelliJ.  Because IntelliJ treats the Gradle project
as authoritative, it's not sufficient to fix these manually in IntelliJ after
the initial import -- IntelliJ reverts to the Gradle configuration after every
build.  Since there aren't many symlinks, I've done them in the Makefile rather
than at a higher level of abstraction (like a definition, or a custom
build backend).  In future, I expect to be able to remove all such symlinks by
making our in-tree directory structures agree with what Gradle and IntelliJ

.. _intended to be checked into version control: