Compile Retroshare for Android


Compiling an application for Android is not as easy as one would imagine, expecially one like RetroShare that has a big codebase and is not well documented. This document is aimed to empower the reader so she can hopefully succed or at least have a significant help in compiling her own RetroShare APK package installable on Android.

Preparing The Environement

First of all setup your Qt for Android development environement following the guide on the Qt for android web site. At this point you should have Android SDK, Android NDK, and Qt for Android working fine, and you should be capable of executing on an Android emulator or on your Android phone Qt for Android examples.

But RetroShare is not as simple to compile as those examples. In particular, the Android NDK precompiled toolchain is limited and doesn't support the full C++ specification, and it is missing some part that is needed to build RetroShare. The good news is that Android NDK ships all the necessary to build a custom toolchain that is suitable to build RetroShare. In order to build the toolchain with needed library RetroShare provides the script; before you execute it you should define some variables the script cannot determine in an easy and reliable manner by itself in your terminal.

    # The path where Android NDK is installed in your system
    export ANDROID_NDK_PATH="/opt/android-ndk/"

    ## The path where your fresh compiled toolchain will be installed, make sure
    ## the parent exists
    export NDK_TOOLCHAIN_PATH="/home/$(whoami)/Development/android-toolchains/retroshare-android/"

    ## The CPU architecture of the Android device you want to target
    export ANDROID_NDK_ARCH="arm"

    ## The Android API level the Android device you want to target
    export ANDROID_PLATFORM_VER="19"

    ## The number of core that yout host CPU have (just to speed up compilation) set it to 1 if unsure
    export HOST_NUM_CPU=1


Now is time for the bad news: as of today Qt assumes you use the NDK precompiled toolchain and doesn't have an option to use the custom toolchain you just generated, so you need to tweak Qt internals a little to make usage of the custom toolchain. First of all you need to determine your Qt for Android installation path -in my case it is /opt/Qt5.7.0/ - then find the mkspecs directory -in my case it is /opt/Qt5.7.0/5.7/android_armv7/mkspecs - and then modify qmake configuration for the android target according to your toolchain, in my case I have done it with the following commands (in the same shell I used before, to take advantage of the already set variables):

WARNING: This may need a slight modification if you have a different Qt version.

    export QT_PATH="/opt/Qt5.7.0/"
    export QT_MAJOR_VERSION="5.7"

    cd ${QT_PATH}/${QT_MAJOR_VERSION}/android_armv7/mkspecs
    sudo --preserve-env -s
    cp -r android-g++ android-g++-backup
    cd android-g++

Preparing Qt Creator

Now that your environement is set up you should configure Qt Creator for Android following the official guide. At the end of this step your Qt Creator should recognize the Android compiler and the Qt for Android kit. As we use a custom toolchain one more step is needed.

From the top menu click Tools -> Options... -> Build & Run -> Compilers -> Android GCC (arm-4.9) -> Clone

Now a new compiler (usually named Clone of Android GCC (arm-4.9)) should have appeared on your compilers list. Select that compiler and press the Browse button to look for your custom toolchain compiler. You should find it at $NDK_TOOLCHAIN_PATH/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-gcc. Select it, then press Apply.

Now go to the Kits tab, select Android for armeabi-v7a (GCC 4.9, Qt 5.7.0) and press the Clone button. A new kit is created (usually named Clone of Android for armeabi-v7a (GCC 4.9, Qt 5.7.0)). Now select the new kit and change the compiler to the one you have just created.

Your Kit is now ready to use. Now you can open RetroShare as a Qt Creator project and in the Projects left menu add the newly created kit if not already present, so you can select it on the build type selection button down on the left.

Some of RetroShare modules like retroshare-gui, WebUI and sqlcipher are not supported yet on Android so to be able to compile RetroShare without errors you will have to go to +

Qt Creator left pane -> Projects -> Build and Run -> Android SOMESTUFF kit -> Build Steps -> qmake -> Additional arguments

and add the following configurations

CONFIG+=no_retroshare_gui CONFIG+=no_retroshare_nogui CONFIG+=no_retroshare_plugins CONFIG+=retroshare_android_service CONFIG+=libresapilocalserver CONFIG+=no_libresapihttpserver CONFIG+=no_sqlcipher CONFIG+=retroshare_qml_app

WARNING: SQLCipher is not supported yet on RetroShare for Android. This poses a major security concern, we are working to fix this ASAP.

WARNING: Some versions of QtCreator try to find the Android SDK in /opt/android/sdk. A workaround to this is to make a symbolic link there pointing to your SDK installation path, like mkdir -p /opt/android/sdk && ln -s /home/user/android-sdk-linux /opt/android/sdk

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