Soong build system

Before the Android 7.0 release, Android used GNU Make exclusively to describe and execute its build rules. The Make build system is widely supported and used, but at Android's scale became slow, error prone, unscalable, and difficult to test. The Soong build system provides the flexibility required for Android builds.

For this reason, platform developers are expected to switch from Make and adopt Soong as soon as possible. Send questions to the android-building Google Group to receive support.

What is Soong?

The Soong build system was introduced in Android 7.0 (Nougat) to replace Make. It leverages the Kati GNU Make clone tool and Ninja build system component to speed up builds of Android.

See the Android Make Build System description in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for general instructions and Build System Changes for Writers to learn about modifications needed to adapt from Make to Soong.

See the build-related entries in the glossary for definitions of key terms and the Soong reference files for complete details.

Make and Soong comparison

Here is a comparison of Make configuration with Soong accomplishing the same in a Soong configuration (Blueprint or .bp) file.

Make example

LOCAL_PATH := $(call my-dir)

include $(CLEAR_VARS)
LOCAL_MODULE := libxmlrpc++

LOCAL_CPPFLAGS := -Wall -Werror -fexceptions

LOCAL_SRC_FILES := $(call \

Soong example

cc_library_shared {
     name: "libxmlrpc++",

     rtti: true,
     cppflags: [
     export_include_dirs: ["src"],
     srcs: ["src/**/*.cpp"],

     target: {
           darwin: {
                enabled: false,

For test-specific Soong configuration examples, see Simple Build Configuration.

For an explanation of the fields in an Android.bp file, refer to Android.bp file format.

Special modules

Some special module groups have unique characteristics.

Defaults modules

A defaults module can be used to repeat the same properties in multiple modules. For example:

cc_defaults {
    name: "gzip_defaults",
    shared_libs: ["libz"],
    stl: "none",

cc_binary {
    name: "gzip",
    defaults: ["gzip_defaults"],
    srcs: ["src/test/minigzip.c"],

Prebuilt modules

Some prebuilt module types allow a module to have the same name as its source-based counterparts. For example, there can be a cc_prebuilt_binary named foo when there's already a cc_binary with the same name. This gives developers the flexibility to choose which version to include in their final product. If a build configuration contains both versions, the prefer flag value in the prebuilt module definition dictates which version has priority. Note that some prebuilt modules have names that don't start with prebuilt, such as android_app_import.

Namespace modules

Until Android fully converts from Make to Soong, the Make product configuration must specify a PRODUCT_SOONG_NAMESPACES value. Its value should be a space-separated list of namespaces that Soong exports to Make to be built by the m command. After Android's conversion to Soong is complete, the details of enabling namespaces could change.

Soong provides the ability for modules in different directories to specify the same name, as long as each module is declared within a separate namespace. A namespace can be declared like this:

soong_namespace {
    imports: ["path/to/otherNamespace1", "path/to/otherNamespace2"],

Note that a namespace doesn't have a name property; its path is automatically assigned as its name.

Each Soong module is assigned a namespace based on its location in the tree. Each Soong module is considered to be in the namespace defined by the soong_namespace found in an Android.bp file in the current directory or closest ancestor directory. If no such soong_namespace module is found, the module is considered to be in the implicit root namespace.

Here's an example: Soong attempts to resolve dependency D declared by module M in namespace N that imports namespaces I1, I2, I3…

  1. Then if D is a fully qualified name of the form //namespace:module, only the specified namespace is searched for the specified module name.
  2. Otherwise, Soong first looks for a module named D declared in namespace N.
  3. If that module doesn't exist, Soong looks for a module named D in namespaces I1, I2, I3…
  4. Lastly, Soong looks in the root namespace.