Doing this is apparently the best way to get your own package into the repository, since you can provide a direct merge request for the metadata about your package, making it easy for the maintainers.
To understand the overview of the process, read the Proposal by Metadata Merge Request section of the Inclusion How-To.
In the source of the application you want to include, find all the AndroidManifest.xml and build.gradle files, and write down in which subdir the most detailed of them happen to be.
Register on GitLab and fork the fdroiddata repository.
Each official release commit in the application’s upstream Git repository
should have a tag. For example, if its AndroidManifest contains
versionName: '1.0', the commit needs a
v1.0 tag. It is strongly
encouraged to add metadata in the application’s source repo, too:
- metadata/en-US/short_description.txt (30-50 chars, no trailing dot)
If the AndroidManifest contains
versionCode: 123, there should be a
corresponding explanation of what’s new in this version:
- metadata/en-US/changelogs/123.txt (max 500 characters)
Browse the F-Droid client metadata directory to see a real-world example.
Other formats and locations of the description, graphics, and screenshots are supported, too. For example, the metadata/en-US directory can instead be fastlane/metadata/android/en-US.
Send the application’s development team a merge request if the repository doesn’t have those files, and open an issue if it has no version tags. Having this metadata in place lets it be under direct control of the developer, and their updates and future translations will be pulled automatically.
On a laptop with Ubuntu 21.10 in February 2022, it took 2 GB of traffic and 5 GB of disk space to set up an F-Droid build environment.
- 60 MB: shallow-clone fdroiddata and fdroidserver
- 75 MB: install docker.io
- 1000 MB: load the container
- 800 MB: build
- 1000 MB: clone the repos and install docker.io
- 4000 MB: load the container and build
Download your fork, then create a new branch and a metadata file. For
example, if the application’s build.gradle says
git clone --depth=1 https://gitlab.com/YOUR_ACCOUNT/fdroiddata ~/fdroiddata cd ~/fdroiddata git checkout -b com.example cp templates/build-gradle.yml metadata/com.example.yml
Fill ~/fdroiddata/metadata/com.example.yml according to the build metadata reference. If you have convinced the application’s development team to include the descriptions and use version tags in their repository as explained above, the file will be very concise:
Categories: - Internet - Navigation License: GPL-3.0-or-later SourceCode: https://gitlab.com/APPLICATION_UPSTREAM/ExampleCom RepoType: git Repo: https://gitlab.com/APPLICATION_UPSTREAM/ExampleCom Builds: - versionName: '1.0' versionCode: 123 commit: v1.0 # Where build.gradle is: subdir: app sudo: - apt-get update || apt-get update - apt-get install -y librsvg2-bin openjdk-11-jdk-headless - update-alternatives --auto java gradle: - yes AutoUpdateMode: Version UpdateCheckMode: Tags CurrentVersion: '1.0' CurrentVersionCode: 123
Adjust or remove the relevant sudo lines if needed:
The example application’s build.gradle executes rsvg-convert to rasterize its vector icons, so we install librsvg2-bin from the official Debian repositories. All such dependencies should be specified in the app’s README.
com.android.tools.build:gradle:7.1.0, and the Gradle Android plugin version 7 is known to depend on Java 11. So we install openjdk-11-jdk-headless and select it as the java alternative.
Download and launch the latest version of the server tools container:
git clone --depth=1 https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroidserver ~/fdroidserver sudo sh -c 'apt-get update &&apt-get install -y docker.io' sudo docker run --rm -itu vagrant --entrypoint /bin/bash \ -v ~/fdroiddata:/build:z \ -v ~/fdroidserver:/home/vagrant/fdroidserver:Z \ registry.gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroidserver:buildserver
In the container:
. /etc/profile export PATH="$fdroidserver:$PATH" PYTHONPATH="$fdroidserver" cd /build fdroid readmeta fdroid rewritemeta com.example fdroid checkupdates --allow-dirty com.example fdroid lint com.example fdroid build com.example
If any command, such as
fdroid readmeta, returns an error, edit
~/fdroiddata/metadata/com.example.yml accordingly and try running the
command again. After a successful build, exit the container, commit your
metadata file with a
New App label, and push it to your fork:
exit cd ~/fdroiddata git add metadata/com.example.yml git commit -m "New App: com.example" git push origin com.example
Create a merge request at the fdroiddata repository, selecting your com.example source branch. Wait for the packagers to pick up your merge request. Please keep track if they asked any questions and reply to them as soon as possible.
You can get help with F-Droid via IRC, Matrix, XMPP, e-mail and some other channels.