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Implementing Config File Schema API

The Android platform contains many XML files for storing config data (for example, audio config). Many of the XML files are in the vendor partition, but they're read in the system partition. In this case, the schema of the XML file serves as the interface across the two partitions, and therefore the schema must be explicitly specified and must evolve in a backward-compatible manner.

Before Android 10, the platform didn’t provide mechanisms to require specifying and using the XML schema, or to prevent incompatible changes in the schema. Android 10 provides this mechanism, called Config File Schema API. This mechanism consists of a tool called xsdc and a build rule called xsd_config.

The xsdc tool is an XML Schema Document (XSD) compiler. It parses an XSD file describing the schema of an XML file and generates Java and C++ code. The generated code parses XML files that conform to the XSD schema into a tree of objects, each of which models an XML tag. XML attributes are modeled as fields of the objects.

The xsd_config build rule integrates the xsdc tool into the build system. For a given XSD input file, the build rule generates Java and C++ libraries. You can link the libraries to the modules where the XML files that conform to the XSD are read and used. You can use the build rule for your own XML files used across the system and vendor partitions.

Building Config File Schema API

This section describes how to build Config File Schema API.

Configuring the xsd_config build rule in Android.bp

The xsd_config build rule generates the parser code with the xsdc tool. The xsd_config build rule’s package_name property determines the package name of the generated Java code.

Example xsd_config build rule in Android.bp:

xsd_config {
    name: "hal_manifest",
    srcs: ["hal_manifest.xsd"],
    package_name: "hal.manifest",

Example directory structure:

├── Android.bp
├── api
│   ├── current.txt
│   ├── last_current.txt
│   ├── last_removed.txt
│   └── removed.txt
└── hal_manifest.xsd

The build system generates an API list using the generated Java code and checks the API against it. This API check is added to DroidCore and executed at m -j.

Creating API lists files

The API checks require API lists files in the source code.

The API lists files include:

  • current.txt and removed.txt check whether the APIs are changed by comparing with generated API files at build time.
  • last_current.txt and last_removed.txt check whether the APIs are backward compatible by comparing with API files.

To create the API lists files:

  1. Create empty lists files.
  2. Run the command make update-api.

Using generated parser code

To use the generated Java code, add : as a prefix to the xsd_config module name in the Java srcs property. The package of the generated Java code is the same as the package_name property.

java_library {
    name: "vintf_test_java",
    srcs: [

To use the generated C++ code, add the xsd_config module name to the generated_sources and generated_headers properties. The namespace of the generated C++ code is the same as the package_name property. For example, if the xsd_config module name is hal.manifest, the namespace is hal::manifest.

    name: "vintf_test_cpp",
    srcs: ["main.cpp"],
    generated_sources: ["hal_manifest"],
    generated_headers: ["hal_manifest"],

Using the parser

To use the Java parser code, use the read or read{class-name} method to return the class of the root element. Parsing happens at this time.

import hal.manifest;


class HalInfo {
    public String name;
    public String format;
    public String optional;

void readHalManifestFromXml(File file) {
    try (InputStream str = new BufferedInputStream(new FileInputStream(file))) {
        Manifest manifest = read(str);
        for (Hal hal : manifest.getHal()) {
            HalInfor halinfo;
   = hal.getName();
            HalInfo.format = hal.getFormat();
            HalInfor.optional = hal.getOptional();

To use the C++ parser code, first include the header file. The name of the header file is the package name with periods (.) converted to underscores (_). Then use the read or read{class-name} method to return the class of the root element. Parsing happens at this time. The return value is a std::optional<>.

include "hal_manifest.h"

using namespace hal::manifest

struct HalInfor {
    public std::string name;
    public std::string format;
    public std::string optional;

void readHalManifestFromXml(std::string file_name) {
    Manifest manifest = *read(file_name.c_str());
    for (Hal hal : manifest.getHal()) {
        struct HalInfor halinfo; = hal.getName();
        HalInfo.format = hal.getFormat();
        HalInfor.optional = hal.getOptional();

All the APIs provided to use the parser are in api/current.txt. For uniformity, all element and attribute names are converted to camel case (for example, ElementName) and used as the corresponding variable, method, and class name. The class of the parsed root element can be obtained using the read{class-name} function. If there is only one root element, then the function name is read. The value of a parsed subelement or attribute can be obtained using the get{variable-name} function.

Generating parser code

In most cases, you don’t need to run xsdc directly. Use the xsd_config build rule instead, as described in Configuring the xsd_config build rule in Android.bp. This section explains the xsdc command line interface, just for completeness. This might be useful for debugging.

You must give the xsdc tool the path to the XSD file, and a package. The package is a package name in Java code and a namespace in C++ code. The options to determine whether the generated code is Java or C are -j or -c, respectively. The -o option is the path of the output directory.

usage: xsdc path/to/xsd_file.xsd [-c] [-j] [-o <arg>] [-p]
 -c,--cpp           Generate C++ code.
 -j,--java          Generate Java code.
 -o,--outDir <arg>  Out Directory
 -p,--package       Package name of the generated java file. file name of
                    generated C++ file and header

Example command:

$ xsdc audio_policy_configuration.xsd -p audio.policy -j