Creating Your First Android App with Ruby


While Android app development is primarily done in Java or Kotlin, it's possible to use Ruby in your Android project with the help of the Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A). SL4A allows you to embed and execute Ruby scripts within your Android application. In this guide, we'll explore the basics of creating an Android app with Ruby.


Before getting started, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  • Android Studio installed on your computer
  • Basic knowledge of Android app development
  • Desire to experiment with Ruby in your Android app

Step 1: Install SL4A

Begin by installing the Scripting Layer for Android (SL4A) on your Android device. You can find SL4A on the Google Play Store. Once installed, you'll have a scripting environment to run Ruby code on your Android device.

Step 2: Create a New Android Project

In Android Studio, create a new Android project or open an existing one. Set up your project with the necessary activities, layouts, and resources as you would in a regular Android app. Ruby will be used to add functionality or scripting features to your app.

Step 3: Embed Ruby Scripts

In your Android project, you can embed Ruby scripts in your activities or components. For example, you might want to add a Ruby script to perform a specific calculation, data processing, or interact with device sensors. Here's a simplified example of embedding a Ruby script within a Java class:

import android.os.Bundle;
import android.widget.TextView;
import org.ruboto.Script;
public class MainActivity extends Activity {
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
// Embed Ruby script
Script.put("$result", 42 * 2);
// Access the result in your layout
TextView textView = findViewById(;
textView.setText("Ruby says: " + Script.get("$result"));

Step 4: Build and Run Your App

Build your Android app as you normally would in Android Studio. Ensure that you have SL4A installed on your Android device or emulator. Run your app, and the embedded Ruby scripts will execute when triggered by your app's components.


Using Ruby in Android development is unconventional but can be a useful approach for specific scenarios. SL4A allows you to embed and run Ruby scripts within your Android app, extending its functionality. Keep in mind that for full-fledged Android app development, Java and Kotlin are the recommended languages. However, if you have a specific need for Ruby, SL4A provides a way to integrate it into your Android project.

Happy coding with Ruby and Android!