• a Linux/Mac workstation
  • v8 r12178 (on Google Code) or later
  • an Android emulator or device with matching USB cable
  • make sure building with GYP works
  • [Mac-only] Download the NDK and note the path where it is installed.

Get the code

  • Use the instructions from [Using Git](Using Git) to get the code
  • Once you need to add the android dependencies:
v8$ echo "target_os = ['android']" >> ../.gclient && gclient sync --nohooks
  • The sync will take a while the first time as it downloads the Android NDK to v8/third_party
  • If you want to use a different NDK, or you are building on Mac where you must supply your own NDK, you need to pass the path to your NDK installation when issuing running make.
    make android_arm.release -j16 android_ndk_root=[full path to ndk]

Get the Android SDK

  • tested version: r15
  • download the SDK from
  • extract it
  • install the “Platform tools” using the SDK manager that you can start by running tools/android
  • now you have a platform_tools/adb binary which will be used later; put it in your PATH or remember where it is

Set up your device

  • Enable USB debugging (Gingerbread: Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging; Ice Cream Sandwich: Settings > Developer Options > USB debugging)
  • connect your device to your workstation
  • make sure adb devices shows it; you may have to edit udev rules to give yourself proper permissions
  • run adb shell to get an ssh-like shell on the device. In that shell, do:
cd /data/local/tmp
mkdir v8
cd v8

Push stuff onto the device

  • make sure your device is connected
  • from your workstation's shell:
adb push /file/you/want/to/push /data/local/tmp/v8/

Compile V8 for Android

gn args should specify:

is_component_build = false
target_cpu = "arm"
target_os = "android"
v8_android_log_stdout = true

You may use goma, and specify debug or not, and symbol levels, as usual.

Assuming you build to out/android_arm.release, copy the binaries and support files over:

adb push out/android_arm.release/d8 /data/local/tmp/v8/d8
adb push out/android_arm.release/snapshot_blob.bin /data/local/tmp/v8/
adb push out/android_arm.release/natives_blob.bin /data/local/tmp/v8/

The most comfortable way to run it is from your workstation's shell as a one-off command (rather than starting an interactive shell session on the device), that way you can use pipes or whatever to process the output as necessary:

adb shell /data/local/tmp/v8/d8 <parameters>
  • warning: when you cancel such an “adb shell whatever” command using Ctrl+C, the process on the phone will sometimes keep running.


  • compile a binary, push it to the device, keep a copy of it on the host
ninja -C android_arm.release
adb push out/android_arm.release/d8 /data/local/tmp/v8/d8-version.under.test
cp out/android_arm.release/d8 ./d8-version.under.test
  • get a profiling log and copy it to the host:
adb shell /data/local/tmp/v8/d8-version.under.test benchmark.js --prof
adb pull /data/local/tmp/v8/v8.log ./
  • open v8.log in your favorite editor and edit the first line to match the full path of the d8-version.under.test binary on your workstation (instead of the /data/local/tmp/v8/ path it had on the device)
  • run the tick processor with the host's d8 and an appropriate nm binary:
cp out/ia32.release/d8 ./d8  # only required once
tools/linux-tick-processor --nm=$ANDROID_NDK_ROOT/toolchain/bin/arm-linux-androideabi-nm

Using the Static Libraries

The static libraries created by the build process are found in out/android_arm.release/ They are “thin” archives, which means that the .a files contain symbolic links to the .o files used to make the archive. This makes these libraries unusable on any machine but the one that built the library.

A program linking with V8 must link with libv8_libplatform.a libv8_base.a libv8_libbase.a and one of the snapshot libaries such aslibv8_nosnapshot.a that will be produced if V8 is compiled with the snapshot=off option.

Unless V8 was compiled with i18nsupport=off option the program must also link with the International Components for Unicode (ICU) library found in out/android_arm.release/

Compile SpiderMonkey for Lollipop

cd firefox/js/src
./configure \
  --target=arm-linux-androideabi \
  --with-android-ndk=$ANDROID_NDK_ROOT \
  --with-android-version=21 \
  --without-intl-api \
  --disable-tests \
  --enable-android-libstdcxx \
adb push -p js/src/shell/js /data/local/tmp/js