Most Android applications are written in a programming language known as Dalvik, which for all intents and purposes is just a rebranded version of Java. In other words, you write an application in Dalvik, and it runs in a Dalvik virtual machine that runs on top of Android. More layers of complexity always translates to less performance. During the summer of 2009 Google announced the “Native Development Kit”, which lets developers write code that goes further down the stack, so no more having to rely on Dalvik and the corresponding virtual machine, but that still wasn’t enough. This made the folks at ARM, who make the application processors that power every single smartphone and feature phone on the market, come up with ARM Development Studio 5 Community Edition. What the hell is it? John Cornish, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the System Design Division at ARM says:
“With over half a million apps on the Android market today, developers need to deliver an outstanding user experience to succeed commercially. ARM DS-5 Community Edition offers developers an easy to use environment for debugging and optimizing C/C++ code. This allows them to take full advantage of ARM processor technology using native code to deliver the performance and functionality that consumers demand.”
If all of this is flying over your head then just know this: Developers who build their applications with DS-5 will be able to achieve 4x the performance that they’d normally achieve in Dalvik. DS-5 isn’t a replacement for the Dalvik development environment or NDK, but instead it’s best to think of it as a tool that’ll help developers find out where they can improve their code so that it uses less resources. That’s always a good thing, especially for applications that need every ounce of juice they can get to run smoothly.