Monday, October 6, 2014

Starting From Scratch: Android - Creating A Release Build

This week we're finishing the Starting From Scratch series with a look at how to create a release build of our app. I'll show you how to create a release key for your app, secure your release key via encryption, and how to integrate the automatic decryption (and clean up) of your encrypted key during the normal Android Ant build process

Creating a release key for your app

Your key is what identifies your app as being published by you. This is what ensures that only official versions of your app can be released. It's ABSOLUTELY important that noone gets access to your key. DO NOT commit this keystore to your source control repo as is.

Create a release keystore
$ keytool -genkey -v -keystore my.release.keystore -alias myalias -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000

Securing your release key

Not having the keystore in source control doesn't create a pit of success as you have to manage your key separately from your project. Furthermore, anyone with access to your key can sign an app as you. In order to safely create a pit of success we're going to encrypt our keystore and delete the original so it's not lying around anywhere for someone to abuse.

To encrypt the keystore we'll use openssl and DES3 encryption.
$ openssl des3 -salt -in my.release.keystore -out my.release.keystore.encrypted
$ rm my.release.keystore
The next thing you want to do is put your encrypted keystore in the provisioning directory.
$ mkdir provisioning
$ mv my.release.keystore.encrypted provisioning/

Integrating into the Android Ant build process

Now that we have a key that can be used to sign our applicaiton and we've secured that key from unauthorized access we now need to integrate into the standard Android Ant build process.

The first thing we need to do is create an Ant target that will decrypt the keystore. We also want to create a target to clean up the decrypted keystore immediately after the build. Note that the -decrypt-keystore target supports both prompting the builder for the password or getting the password from an Ant property in the case of an automated release build.

Here's what our encryption.xml file looks like. Create this file in the same directory as your projects build.xml file.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project name="encryption">
    <target name="-decrypt-keystore" depends="" if="isRelease">
        <echo>Decrypting keystore</echo>
                    <isset property=""/>
                <exec executable="openssl">
                    <arg value="des3"/>
                    <arg value="-d"/>
                    <arg value="-salt"/>
                    <arg value="-in"/>
                    <arg value="provisioning/${assets.keystore}"/>
                    <arg value="-out"/>
                    <arg value="provisioning/release.keystore"/>
                    <arg value="-pass"/>
                    <arg value="pass:${}"/>
                <exec executable="openssl">
                    <arg value="des3"/>
                    <arg value="-d"/>
                    <arg value="-salt"/>
                    <arg value="-in"/>
                    <arg value="provisioning/${assets.keystore}"/>
                    <arg value="-out"/>
                    <arg value="provisioning/release.keystore"/>
    <target name="-clean-keystore" depends="">
        <echo>Cleaning up decrypted keystore</echo>
        <delete file="provisioning/release.keystore"/>
In order to support automated release builds we need to add a few Ant properties to our projects file. DO NOT CHECK THIS IN TO YOUR SOURCE CONTROL. This file should be restricted as much as possible because it contains the password used to decrypt your keystore. You do not have to put your password in this file. If you don't you'll be prompted to enter your password during the release build.
The last thing we need to do is wire up the decryption and cleanup of our key into the existing Android Ant build process. To do this we'll implement the -pre-build, -pre-clean, and -post-build build targets in our custom_rules.xml file. Note that we only want our decryption to happen during a release build. So we're going to define an isRelease property. Our -decrypt-keystore target checks for this property before execution.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><project name="custom_rules">
      <condition property="isRelease"><contains string="${ant.project.invoked-targets}" substring="release"/></condition>

    <target name="-pre-build">
        <antcall target="-decrypt-keystore" />


    <target name="-pre-clean" depends="-clean-keystore"></target>
    <target name="-post-build" depends="-clean-keystore"></target></project>
Finally, the last thing we need to do is update our projects build.xml file to include our encryption.xml and custom_rules.xml files.  Add the following two import statements ABOVE the existing ant/build.xml import. For example:
<import file="encryption.xml" optional="false" />
<import file="custom_rules.xml" optional="false" />

<import file="${sdk.dir}/tools/ant/build.xml" />
You can now build a signed release version of your app on the command line with the following command.
$ ant release

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