Just a week ahead of Android L’s official announcement, we learned that Google would soon be ditching support for Dalvik in favor of ART. We previously wrote a post explaining how this move would affect apps, and more importantly what it might mean for the Xposed framework.
At the time, XPOSED creator Rovo89 had indicated that, while Xposed doesn’t support ART on KitKat, he would eventually bring support for the new runtime. At the same time, he made it known that we shouldn’t expect a new version of Xposed for ART the second the next major version of Android arrived and that we might never see support for ART on KitKat devices.
The overall message is that developing a version of Xposed for ART isn't an easy feat and that we should simply be patient
The overall message was that developing a version of Xposed for ART isn’t an easy feat and that we should simply be patient. Of course, that’s sometimes easier said than done. If you are curious about the state of Xposed with the introduction of Android L, you’ll be happy to know that, in a brief interview of sorts with XDA, the developer has brought a few more details to light about his plans for supporting ART on Android going forward.
First, he states that it’s not about getting Xposed running on Android L Developer Preview or even the final release of Android L, it’s about making it work well. In his own words:
Getting it running is one thing, whether it’s good to publish it is another question. I’ve had a prototype of Xposed for the ART preview in December already. Barely tested, needed manual installation, probably failing here and there, but generally it did what it should. But already back then, I’ve seen that Google is still working actively on improving ART. They have made huge internal changes since then.
Second, he says that making Xposed work with Android L isn’t the same as making it work with all versions of ART:
The ART preview in KitKat and the ART almost-final in the Android L preview are different pieces of software. Maintaining support for both of them means basically twice the work, especially for testing. That, and the fact that ART in KitKat was just an optional preview (with potential bugs that may be incorrectly blamed on Xposed), makes it less likely that I will publish Xposed for the KitKat variant of ART. That’s not a final decision, it depends on how ART development continues and how well I can support Android L.
The takeaway here is essentially the same as Rovo89 stated two weeks prior, Xposed will live on even in a world without Dalvik but he also isn’t going to dive in and throw together support for ART. It’s not about the short-term, but the endgame. You can rest assured Rovo89 is working on support, and when Xposed with ART support does arrive you can bet it will work as well, if not better, than it did with Dalvik. Additionally it will work with Android L and, hopefully, all similar Dalvik-free versions of Android going forward.
For those that will be on KitKat for a while, you shouldn’t necessarily throw in towel when it comes to holding out for Xposed support but just keep in mind that it isn’t a priority at this point. What do you think, is lack of support for XPOSED enough to keep you from upgrading to Android L when it arrives in final form later this year?