Upcoming improvements to the Android build system

TL,DR; Email builds are coming to Android. This will make our platform more stable and make installation easier and faster for you.

What:

We’re making the build and download process more consistent across the platform

When:

Subject to testing, we’re hoping to have this out in the coming days.

Why:

Since launching in 2018, we’ve had one system for downloading iOS apps and another for Android apps. From the beginning iOS users have had the ability to email apps to themselves. This means that installation is really easy, because all you have to do is open the email on your phone and click “install”.

The current system for Android is quite different. Builds happen silently and goes directly to your Downloads folder. After this you still have to transfer the .apk file to your device which slows down the process for you. These builds also happen “silently”, meaning that you don’t get any feedback about how long it will take. While the process is usually quite speedy, at peak times some users are experiencing longer wait times and in a lot of cases trying to download repeatedly before the first build has even completed. Additionally, in the rare case of an error with the build, the current system has no way of notifying the user about this.

The new Android download system will now be very similar to iOS downloads.

  • You will be emailed a download link to your app,
  • We’ll give you an estimate of how long it will take and
  • If there are any issues with your project we’ll send you an email letting you know what you need to do to fix it.

The main benefit to this system is that it is something we can scale and continue to improve as Thunkable grows and demand increases.

cc: @Power_Thunkers @Community_Testers @Adcelerator

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FAQs:

holding for questions from users

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Is that why sometimes my app also does not work on thunkable live? If yes will it work after the update?

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No - these are completely different things. If you are having issues with Thunkable Live, make sure you are using the latest version and try resetting your connection.

A built app can be installed directly on your device for testing and does not use the Thunkable Platform or the Thunkable Live app to preview.

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ok! Thanks for the tip @domhnallohanlon

“your app” or “a link to your app”?

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Good point - it will be a download link to the app, exactly the same as how iOS builds work at the moment.

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When it will be published to the thunkable app builder?

We’re just testing it at the moment @unknownthunker - should be out either later today or early next week.

Hope that helps!

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Later Today! Omg!

Oh ok… Will there be any problems if I download an apk of my app now?

No, we don’t expect there to be any issues with the actual building of the apps @virajkhanna4ade, the only real difference you’ll notice is that we will be emailing your the download link directly to your phone rather than downloading it to your computer and you then still having to manually transfer it to your phone for installation and testing.

Is it optional to get a download link or I can get an apk since I can share the apk but not the download link.

No there won’t be an option.

Aha…so I suppose it’s not the exact same as iOS builds then. When you click on the download link you will be downloading the APK to your device. You’re free to share this downloaded APK with whoever you want since Android don’t put any restrictions on this.

Hope that makes sense.

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Ok, thank you @domhnallohanlon. I was just wondering…

This change has now been pushed to the servers. If you find any issues with builds, please do let us know. Thanks everyone!

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UPDATE:

Thanks everyone for your help in testing this - in terms of debugging and troubleshooting it’s made our lives a lot easier.

There was one issue reported this morning (which, thanks to the new system we were able to triage in about 15 mins!) but just to be on the safe side we’ve rolled back this feature for now.

We know how hard you work on your apps and want to make sure downloading and publishing APKs is as frictionless as possible for everyone.

We’ll keep you updated here when we’re ready to release this again.

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Android App downloaded through email link does not work, freezes on initial launch screen, it app work fine if we download direct through download button

Hi @sathishagpala can you DM the link to your app and the project details? We can see what might be happening then.