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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What is ART?

ART is a new concept that has recently been making headlines. Since it’s a new concept, most people don’t really understand what it means.
dalvik versus art
First of all, ART stands for Android Run Time. I’m going to simplify a lot of stuff here to make things as easy as possible to understand:
-Android downloads its apps from the Play Store as uncompiled data
-When you launch an app, Android compiles this data and loads it into the RAM
-After the app closes, the data is once again uncompiled
-Android stores app data as uncompiled data in order to insulate it and protect it (in a similar way to how virtual machines are insulated)
-Prior to Android 4.4, Android compiled its data using a system called Dalvik
-After Android 4.4, Android has the option to use a compiling system called ART, or Android Run Time
-ART has the unique advantage of preloading app data and pre-compiling it while still insulating it
-ART is currently labeled as experimental but it should lead to significantly faster app loading (some reports say as much as a 100% increase in speed) as well as better battery life optimization (approximately 25% better battery life)
-Not all apps currently support ART, which is why it’s disabled by default on Android 4.4
-Some believe ART will become standard in Android 5.0
If you want a more detailed description of ART and its future with Android, check out this writeup.

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