Android Instant Apps Updates API
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017

There's a new version of Google's Android Instant Apps SDK with configuration APKs to improve binary sizes, and a new API to keep user context when they move from an instant app to an installed app.

 

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An instant app is a crossover between a native app and a web app. It has the advantage that a user can run it without installing it. Instead, the app is streamed as it is used. This makes it important that the binary is small so the user doesn't have to wait.

To achieve this, the updated version has introduced configuration APKs. A configuration APK lets you isolate device-specific resources and native libraries into independent APKs. The Android Instant Apps framework will then only load the resources and native libraries for the specific device it is being used on, so reducing the overall size of the instant app on the device. The developers of Instant Apps say the new version supports configuration APKs for display density, CPU architecture (ABI), and language, and that these three have resulted in average reduction of 10 percent in the size of the binaries loaded - YMMV.

The next improvement in the new version is support for persistent user context after installation. This was already supported on Android Oreo, where the internal storage of the instant version of the app is still available if the user moves to an installed version of the app. This new release of the SDK makes this feature available on older versions of the Android Framework, including Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat devices. This means your users get to keep any information they have created while using the Instant App.

The other main improvement to the updated version is better support for NDK. This is a toolset that you can use to implement parts of your app in native code, using programming languages such as C and C++, meaning you can make use of code libraries in those languages. 

 

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More Information

Instant App Release Notes

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 October 2017 )