Extending Python for android native support

So, you want to get into python-for-android and extend what’s available to Python on Android ?

Turns out it’s not very complicated, here is a little introduction on how to go about it. Without Pyjnius, the schema to access the Java API from Cython is:

[1] Cython -> [2] C JNI -> [3] Java

Think about acceleration sensors: you want to get the acceleration values in Python, but nothing is available natively. Lukcily you have a Java API for that : the Google API is available here

You can’t use it directly, you need to do your own API to use it in python, this is done in 3 steps

Step 1: write the java code to create very simple functions to use

like : accelerometer Enable/Reading In our project, this is done in the you can see how it’s implemented

Step 2 : write a jni wrapper

This is a C file to be able to invoke/call Java functions from C, in our case, step 2 (and 3) are done in the android python module. The JNI part is done in the android_jni.c:

Step 3 : you have the java part, that you can call from the C

You can now do the Python extension around it, all the android python part is done in

→ [python] android.accelerometer_reading ⇒ [C] android_accelerometer_reading ⇒ [Java] Hardware.accelerometer_reading()

The jni part is really a C api to call java methods. a little bit hard to get it with the syntax, but working with current example should be ok

Example with bluetooth

Start directly from a fork of

The first step is to identify where and how they are doing it in sl4a, it’s really easy, because everything is already done as a client/server client/consumer approach, for bluetooth, they have a “Bluetooth facade” in java.

You can learn from it, and see how is it’s can be used as is, or if you can simplify / remove stuff you don’t want.

From this point, create a bluetooth file in python-for-android/tree/master/src/src/org/renpy/android in Java.

Do a good API (enough simple to be able to write the jni in a very easy manner, like, don’t pass any custom java object in argument).

Then write the JNI, and then the python part.

3 steps, once you get it, the real difficult part is to write the java part :)

Jni gottchas

  • package must be, don’t change it.

Create your own recipes

A recipe is a script that contains the “definition” of a module to compile. The directory layout of a recipe for a <modulename> is something like:


When building, all the recipe builds must go to:


For example, if you want to create a recipe for sdl, do:

cd python-for-android/recipes
mkdir sdl
cp sdl/
sed -i 's#XXX#sdl#' sdl/

Then, edit the sdl/ to adjust other information (version, url) and complete the build function.