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Android App Bundle – A Brief Introduction

What is Android App Bundle?

Android App Bundle is a new app publishing format in playstore. It is an improved way to package your app. It includes all your app’s compiled code and resources, but defers APK generation and signing to Google Play.  The Android App Bundle lets you more easily deliver a great practice in a smaller size of the app, allowing for the HUGE difference of devices. No refactoring of code is required for a minor app.

Advantages of Android App Bundle?

Android App Bundle has enormous advantages. In today’s blog, we will see in detail about some of the most important advantages which make it unique and compelling to opt in.

  • Dynamic Delivery
  • No more Multi APKs
  • Reduced APK size
  • Dynamic Feature Module

Although it’s clear from the names we’ll go through each of them in detail.

Dynamic Delivery

In simple terms, Dynamic delivery means to install the modules in the application as per the user’s needs. It uses your app bundle to generate and serve more optimized APKs according to each user’s device configuration so that they download only the code and resources which will execute. For say, we don’t need other language strings if by default English is set as your preferred language.

The below gif explains everything about Dynamic Delivery featured by Android App Bundle.

Android App bundle

No more Multi APKs

Previously, we used to build multiple APKs and manage different versions and the process was so messy and NOT Efficient. Now, with the Android App Bundle(aab), you build one artifact that includes all of your app’s resources, compiled code, and native libraries for your app. You no longer need to build, sign, upload, and handle version codes for multiple APKs.

Dynamic Feature Module

The DFM contains features and assets that match the user’s device configurations on the first download of the app. In case if we use the Play Core Library (PCL), the application can later request to download the left-out or denied modules as dynamic feature APKs. 

For example, the video calling feature and camera filters on the specified application can be downloaded later on demand. Likely, on request, these features or modules can be downloaded as a dynamic feature APKs by using the Play Core Library.

For say, the CAMERA APP which indeed contains Filters will be ignored on the very first download of the app. Initially, only the camera module will be installed, but if the user requires some filters then those modules will be downloaded as Dynamic Feature APKs.

Reduced APK Size

Google Play uses the Split APK mechanism, which can break up a large app into simple units or discrete packages that are installed on a user’s device as and when required. On average, apps published with app bundles are 20% smaller in size. The below images depicts the app bundle’s usage effect on app size.

Android app bundle -size reduction

This blog we have explained you the basic idea of Android App Bundles. We will see the in-depth functionality of every module in our future blogs.

Indrajith M,
Android Development Team,
Mallow Technologies.

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