Updates to Android

We are planning to roll out some updates to VoltBuilder’s Android support. Here’s what is changing:

  1. Builds will use Android SDK Platform 30, which corresponds to Android 11. Google has developer documentation for Android 11 here.

  2. cordova-android 10.1.1. This is the latest version of Cordova’s Android support.

    To be listed in the Google Play Store, you may need to use this version. To use the previous version, add this line to your config.xml file:
    <engine name="android" spec="9.0.0" />
    To use the new version, add this line to your config.xml file:
    <engine name="android" spec="10.1.1" />

  3. Not all plugins have been updated for Cordova 10 yet. If you find problems with a plugin, check that you’re using the latest version of it. If you are, check with the maintainer if it should work, and open an issue there if needed. In the meantime, you can drop back to Cordova 9 - but that is not a permanent solution.

  4. In config.xml, if you fail to add a content line, VoltBuilder defaults to index.html:
    <content src="index.html" />
    (If the main file of your app is a different, you can substitute its name.)

  5. Builds make .apk files by default. These can be used for debug builds and for release builds outside the Google Play Store. To make .aab (Android Application Bundles), add this line to your voltbuilder.json file:
    "androidPackageType": "bundle",

    .aab files cannot be used outside the Google Play Store.

  6. Certificates in the Google Play Store have changed somewhat. (There are no changes for apps distributed outside the Store). Google now requires all new apps use Google Play Signing, which is separate from the signing which is required to upload your app. VoltSigner can be used to make the self signed certificates (.p12) which are required for upload to the Play Store. If you use Play App Signing, this certificate is just used to verify your identity and the Play Store handles the actual app signing. We strongly suggest you use Play App Signing when possible.

    Once you generate a certificate for uploads, you will need to keep using that certificate for uploads. If you lose your certificate or password, your only option is to create a new store listing with a new package name and start from scratch. (One time exceptions have been made - contact Google for this.)

Changes to cordova-android

Cordova-android 10 has a number of changes which may break your project. See the Release Notes below for the full details.

  • Migration to AndroidX from Android Support Library is complete. All plugins that use the Android Support Library will need to be updated to reference the new AndroidX library.
  • By default, the WebViewAssetLoader is enabled and allows apps to serve their content from a ‘proper’ origin.
  • Support for Android App Bundles (aab) added.
  • lots of smaller fixes
  • updates to libraries

Release Notes

What VoltBuilder Does

VoltBuilder turns your web apps into native executables with a simple upload. It builds executables (.apk and .ipa) for Android and iOS from web apps, as well as Windows executables (.appx). These executables can be augmented with native code plugins which extend capabilities far beyond what is possible in Web Apps and PWAs.

It works as a web service. Zip your project, upload to VoltBuilder, and download executables for Android or iOS.

In designing VoltBuilder, we had the advantage of starting with a clean slate. We were able to simplify and speed up the workflow. We also kept it framework neutral: VoltBuilder does not use any other AppStudio products, nor does it restrict the use of other frameworks. There is nothing to install.

About Us

We started in 1993 at the introduction of the Newton to fill the need for easier to use development tools. Our first product, NS Basic/Newton, was a success. When the Newton was cancelled, we introduced NS Basic/Palm. It also did well, so we added NS Basic/CE.

By 2010, we realized that JavaScript on mobile devices was getting fast enough to take seriously. Web pages in those days used a bit of JavaScript to augment the page: Could we flip things around and make JavaScript the core of web pages, driving the HTML and CSS? That resulted in AppStudio, targeting iOS and Android. It now has thousands of users in over 80 countries. More than 2 million students have learned how to program using it.

The same core group of developers has been at work on AppStudio for many years. We enjoy what we’re doing - we’ve built a loyal base of customers by treating them fairly and providing great support.

How to Get Started

Visit https://volt.build for more information, to sign up and get started. You can use the Free plan for limited testing, or sign up for a trial of the Indy or Pro plans. The first 15 days are free: you can cancel at any time.

If you’re coming from PhoneGap, there is a PhoneGap Migration Guide. You can also use the tutorial.

There is also a one minute video, showing you how to submit your app and download the result.

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