How to update an app

What I would like to read here would be:

  • “What is where, and why?” - a brief guide through the infrastructure and workflow / scripts.
  • Howto “update the metadata on”.

Target group would be developer/release-manager of the apps and for the “external interested user” who just notices that there is a new version of an app - but not yet in F-Droid system available. “What would I do to trigger the update?”

@Tverrbjelke: (If s.o. briefs me, I would spend some of my time writing that down. love F-Droid, and hate to see such simple and needed issue is not yet ready. :-) )

@daithib8: Assuming everything is setup and the user is familiar with building via fdroid … (these instructions take a terminal-based approach. You can manage with a web browser, but it takes quite a while to learn the layout of the common source code websites. For complicated apps that rebase code and use many branches, I’ll often visit the source code site too).

  • Take a note of the current version according to the developer – a clue is often written above the CurrentVersion in the metadata. To visit Google Play quickly to get the version name there, install w3m and add this function gplay() { w3m"$@" ;} to your bashrc. Then you can just do gplay package-name. If you find that the version is greater than the CurrentVersion in the metadata, update it right away (unless there are any beta or test builds currently activated)
  • If the CurrentVersion in the metadata (especially in the case of the update check mode RepoManifest) is greater than on Google Play or the download page, you may not need to update and can just add a dummy build version e.g Build Version:1.2,34,!not published by the developer,subdir=main
  • Clone the source code repository if you don’t have it already by building an already existing version (which you can quit once the build is under way)
  • Change in to the repo: pushd build/package-name
  • la to remind onesself of the VCS type. Let’s assume it’s Mercurial (with which I am barely familiar)
  • hg revert -a; hg pull; hg up to get the latest code from the repo. Take a note of the new tags
  • hg log |less and read the single line descriptions back to the previous version to get a quick idea of the latest changes and find the revision or tag corresponding to the current version noted earlier
  • hg up "tag" to switch to the tag or revision (to make sure you are auditing exactly what will be built)
  • hg log -p e.g. libs | build.xml | AndroidManifest.xml | | res/raw | assets | .gitmodules | .classpath to take a closer look at the changes in some of the important files (as far as updating is concerned). If new jars (or new versions of old ones) are found then they must be verified to see they were found from canonical sources and are free with source code;the first thing to try is to open the jar to see the class names (unzip -l) and visit e.g. where you will find checksums to compare with. Take a note of jars such as bugsense or ACRA which are used for bug reports
  • If you find proprietary files add a dummy build version to the metadata with a few words about the reason, add NoSourceSince to the bottom and a line to the description beginning with Status: to the description explaining the reason that the app can’t be updated
  • find . -type f -executable to locate any scripts and things. Note that ant will also execute anything it finds in build.xml and custom_rules.xml!
  • $find . -name '\*' | xargs file --mime | grep executable|shared-lib to see if any prebuilts are around. These would often be detected by fdroid anyway and would usually be located in res/raw/ , assets/ or jni/.
  • Open some files in your editor, like the README, licenses, possibly files in res/xml that would contain changelogs,; run git submodule if applicable. All these will give clues about what might need changing from the previous build. It’s very possible that no info will be given about Android libraries so you’ll have to look for other clues, in the commit log for instance. If all else fails: cd ../srclibs/ActionLibrary and checkout out the latest code to find a suitable commit.
  • Write a patch if necessary although sed in the metadata is usually the better option: mkdir ../../metadata/package-name; hg diff > ../../metadata/package-name.diff
  • popd; vi metadata/package-name.txt to add a new Build Version
  • Test with fdroid build -p package-name -t -l -v | less (use the completion script in fdroidserver) N.B –install doesn’t currently warn if version names/codes are different from the metadata. Also proguard isn’t enabled (since it is a debug build); neither will it warn you if it hasn’t been installed for some reason.
  • Sign with a debug key jarsigner -keystore \~/.android/debug.keystore -digestalg SHA1 -sigalg SHA1withRSA tmp/com.seawolfsanctuary.keepingtracks_20130727.apk androiddebugkey
  • adb install tmp/com.seawolfsanctuary.keepingtracks_20130727.apk -a and have look at the result. Look at the about screen in particular. If bug report libraries are in use verify that crash reporting is optional (the Android Manifest can help here). If crash reporting is on by default the app needs an anti-feature. Same thing applies to ads.
  • Add any info for the next time above AutoUpdateMode, and see if the update check mode needs any tweaking.
  • Have a quick look at the description and URLs to see if anything needs updating
  • Commit new srclibs and extlibs git commit build/extlibs/volley/\* and include a source.txt if a jar is from a new location
  • If there is nothing special, commit directly with the commitupdates script. If not, include as much info as you can in the body of the git commit

That’s a lot of things to do, but experience shows that it’s a good idea to be vigilant and of course the process gets faster with time… Good luck!