Huawei Releases their Open Source Ark Compiler for HarmonyOS

Back in May, there were rumors Huawei was working on HongMeng OS as an alternative to Android mobile operating systems, as the OS was brought to light due to US sanctions against the company. The new operating system was later confirmed and will be called HarmonyOS outside of China.

A few days ago I received a tip in Chinese with this link explaining Huawei had released the open-source Ark compiler for HarmonyOS aka OpenArkCompiler. The compiler works with Java apps and converts the source into AArch64 binaries. The illustration below implies it should also work with C, C++, JavaScript, and Kotlin programming languages.

Ark Compiler HarmonyOS

Three links were shared in the announcement:

As a side note, I had never heard about Gitee, and the site is an alternative to Github in China, which may be useful to developers who had their Github account restricted due to US sanctions.

The compiler has been released to promote HarmonyOS to app developers, as while Huawei can develop the operating systems on their own, they also need to replicate the large ecosystem of apps available to Android to be successful.

The Ark Compiler will apparently make porting Android apps to HarmonyOS easier, as a report from GlobalTimes quotes Richard Yu Chengdong, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, as saying “migrating Android-backed apps to Harmony is easy and only requires one or two days’ work via the Ark Compiler.” I suppose it may be the case for simpler apps, but more complex apps such as games developed with the native SDK may be more difficult to port, especially the graphics framework also needs to be supported by HarmonyOS.

The news is mostly relevant to Android app developers that target the Chinese market, at least for now.

Thanks to Yulun for the tip

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