Lets you automatically generate, launch and interact with an Android emulator during a build, with the emulator logs being captured as artifacts.

Table of Contents

Due to a serious bug introduced in SDK Tools r12 (see Android bug #18444), running any builds with the "Use emulator snapshots" option enabled (which is the default), will likely fail to load in the state you expect. For example the emulator may not be ready for use, and the screen may not be unlocked.

Until the above issue is fixed (which is currently targeted for r14), it is recommended to:

If you have already upgraded, you should uncheck "Use emulator snapshots" in any jobs where you are seeing problems.


In order to provide effective test coverage of the ever-increasing range of Android platform versions, screen resolutions and densities (amongst other device properties), automated and scalable build tools like Jenkins become highly advantageous.

This plugin aims to vastly simplify automated testing of Android applications across a wide range of virtual devices by automatically generating emulator instances, starting up those emulators and capturing the logging output, with many device parameters being under your control.


This plugin lets you automate a number of Android-related tasks during a build:



Jenkins version 1.377 or newer is required.
Since this version was released well before the Hudson/Jenkins split, this plugin can also be used with Hudson. Any changes to this will be posted here and on the Hudson wiki.


A copy of the Android SDK must be available on each Jenkins node you wish to test on.

With the SDK installed, you must install at least two further components, via the Android SDK and AVD Manager:

If you only wish to run pre-existing emulator instances (aka Android Virtual Devices, or AVDs), there are no further requirements — only these items are required.

If you want the plugin to automatically generate new emulator instances, you must install one or more Android platform versions into the SDK.
By default, the SDK only comes with the bare minimum; you have to separately download each individual platform version you wish to build or test against.

Again, this is done via the Android SDK and AVD Manager tool, accessible via the command line "android", or via the "Window" menu in Eclipse, if you use the Eclipse ADT plugin. From the SDK Manager, you can easily install the desired "SDK Packages".


System configuration

On the Jenkins master, you can optionally specify the location where each build node can locate a copy of the Android SDK.

This can either be an absolute path, or can contain environment variables in the format $VARIABLE_NAME. This will be replaced at build time from the node's environment variables (see the "Node Properties" settings for each slave), or from the build's environment.

If no value is entered, or the plugin cannot find a valid SDK under the configured path, it will search under the following environment variables on the build node to try and locate a usable SDK:

If nothing is found, the plugin will search on the PATH to attempt to locate a usable set of SDK tools. If, after all these steps, the required Android SDK tools are not found, the job will be marked as failed and will stop.

Job configuration

Running on headless build machines

If you have build slaves which are headless (e.g. Linux servers that don't have a graphical user interface), you can still run an Android Emulator even although — by default — the emulator does require a graphical environment.

Just untick the "Show emulator window" configuration option in your job configuration. This is the equivalent of using the emulator's "-no-window" command-line option.

Using an artificial graphical environment

It is also possible to run the Android emulator UI on a headless build slave by making use of an articifial X server, such as Xvnc.

In this case, a recommended setup is to install both Xvnc and the Xvnc Plugin for Jenkins. With this plugin enabled in your job — and Xvnc configured to run without requesting a password — you can run multiple Android emulators in parallel on a headless slave, while keeping the "Show emulator window" option enabled.

Although the Android Emulator plugin has been designed to ensure it always runs after an Xvnc server has been started, the Xvnc plugin does not wait for the Xvnc server to be fully up-and-running before handing control over to the Android Emulator plugin.

For this reason, you may want to delay emulator startup by a few seconds (e.g. three to five), giving the Xvnc server time to finish starting-up before attempting to launch an Android emulator into it. To do so, enter the desired number of seconds in the "Startup delay" field under "Advanced" options.

Other requirements

In addition, while the Android Emulator plugin requires the Port Allocator Plugin, there is no job configuration required for this; everything is handled automatically — you need not select the "Assign unique TCP ports" checkbox in the job config.

Selecting an emulator

After ticking "Run an Android emulator during build", you will be asked whether you want to run an existing AVD, or whether you want to create a new one on-the-fly with certain properties.

Using an existing emulator for a job just requires that you enter the name of the AVD you want to be started. This AVD must exist on each build node the job will be executed on. Existing AVDs are found in your $HOME/.android/avd directory and can be listed using the "android list avd" command.
As with all other properties, you can enter environment variables here using the format $VARIABLE_NAME.

Alternatively, if you don't have a particular AVD accessible on each build node, the plugin can automatically generate a new emulator if one doesn't already exist:

Each property is mandatory, aside from the device locale. If this is not entered, the Android emulator default locale of US English (en_US) will be used when starting the emulator.

Each field will auto-complete with the default Android SDK values, i.e 120, 160, 240dpi densities and named screen resolutions including: QVGA, WQVGA, FWQVGA, HVGA, WVGA, FWVGA. However, you can enter your own values if you wish to use a custom OS image, screen density, resolution or locale.
Screen resolutions can be entered either using the named values, or as a "width times height" dimension, e.g. 480x800.

Using Google Maps and other SDK add-ons

As mentioned above, the "Android OS version" field will auto-complete to existing SDK versions such as "1.5" or "2.2".

However, it is possible to enter different values in this field, for example if you want to use an Android SDK add-on that you have installed, e.g. the Google APIs add-on or the Samsung GALAXY Tab add-on.

In these cases, just enter the appropriate value given by the "android list target" command. For example:

Multi-configuration (matrix) job

The real awesomeness of this plugin comes when used in conjunction with a multi-configuration job type.

By using the "Run emulator with properties" setting, in conjunction with one-or-more matrix axes and the Android Emulator plugin's variable expansion, you can generate and test with a large number of distinct Android emulator configurations with very little effort.

To give a full example, if you want to test your application across multiple Android OS versions, multiple screen densities, multiple screen resolutions and for several target locales, you might set up your matrix axes as follows:

As each of these axis names (i.e. "density", "locale", "os", "resolution") are exported by Jenkins as environment variables, you can make use of these when launching a new Android emulator:

When the build executes, this would automatically generate and allow you to test your application against 64 unique device configurations.

However, you should note that not all combinations are valid. For example, a WVGA (800x480) resolution device makes no sense with a screen density of 120 (unless you have superhuman eyesight).

For this purpose, you can use the "Combination Filter" feature, which tells Jenkins which combinations of the matrix axes are valid. In the case of screen densities and resolutions, a configuration like this should instruct Jenkins to only build for configurations which make sense:

(density=="120").implies(resolution=="QVGA" || resolution=="WQVGA" || resolution=="FWQVGA") &&
(density=="160").implies(resolution=="HVGA" || resolution=="WVGA" || resolution=="FWVGA") &&
(density=="240").implies(resolution=="WVGA" || resolution=="FWVGA")

Note that each variable refers to one of the matrix axes, not an Android Emulator plugin property.

Running on Amazon EC2

Using the Amazon EC2 Plugin for Jenkins, you can automatically launch build slaves on demand.

Here is a basic "Init script" that can be used in conjunction with a Ubuntu-based EC2 image, such as those listed on alestic.com. In this case, a 64-bit version of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was used (e.g. ami-631f2b17), with Java and Android being automatically installed and configured when the machine starts up.

# Add Java repository to package sources
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ lucid partner"
sudo apt-get update

# Upgrade existing packages
sudo apt-get -y upgrade

# Mark the the "Distributor License for Java" as accepted
echo sun-java6-jdk shared/accepted-sun-dlj-v1-1 select true | sudo /usr/bin/debconf-set-selections

# Install the JDK and required x86 libraries
sudo apt-get install -y sun-java6-jdk ia32-libs

# Retrieve and extract Android SDK
wget http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk_r09-linux_x86.tgz
tar -zxf android-sdk_r09-linux_x86.tgz
mv android-sdk-linux_x86/ /home/ubuntu/android

# Export environment variables and put Android tools on the path
export ANDROID_HOME=/home/ubuntu/android
export PATH=$PATH:$ANDROID_HOME/tools:$ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools

# Download and install the SDK tools and all available Android platforms
/home/ubuntu/android/tools/android update sdk -u -t platform,platform-tool,tool

# Done!

Build execution


For convenience, the plugin places a number of variables into the build environment relating to the emulator in use:

Variable name

Example value




Identifier for connecting to this AVD, e.g. adb -s localhost:34564 shell



Identifier for connecting to this AVD, e.g. adb -s localhost:34564 shell



Port used by ADB to communicate with the AVD (random for each build)



Port used to access the AVD's telnet user interface (random for each build)



Name of the AVD running for the build



Locale of the AVD



OS version of the running AVD



Screen density in dpi of the AVD



Screen resolution, named or dimension, of the AVD



Skin being used by the AVD, e.g. WQVGA432 or 480x800

Using the emulator

Now that you have an Android emulator running, you'll probably want to install one or more Android applications (APKs) and start running some tests.

Normally, when running an Android application using Eclipse or the command line, either your APK is automatically installed (because there is only one emulator/device attached to your PC), or Eclipse allows you to choose from a list. Similarly, when building from the command line, installation is done with a command like: "adb -e install -r my-app.apk", where "-e" specifies the emulator (or "-d" a USB-attached device).

However, as Jenkins may be running multiple Android-related builds at once, with several emulators running in parallel, it's not possible to automatically determine which emulator should be used. Nor can the user be prompted at build time.

Since version 1.15, the ANDROID_SERIAL environment variable has been automatically set by the plugin. Because the adb tool automatically uses this variable to determine which Android device to communicate with, you no longer need to pass in parameters like "-s" or "-e" to adb.

Basically, whenever you want to call adb as part of your job, just call adb as you normally would.

The sections below are left for reference for users who are using version 1.14 or older.

Using Android's default Ant build system

The default build system for Android is Apache Ant, which is well supported by Jenkins.

When calling targets like "ant install" or "ant run-tests", the Android build system allows you to use the adb.device.arg property to specify where the application should be installed to.

To make use of this in an "Invoke Ant" build step, just add the following to your Ant "Properties" section:
adb.device.arg="-s $ANDROID_AVD_DEVICE"

Using shell commands

If you aren't using Ant, but want Jenkins to run adb commands for you via an "Execute shell" build step, the process is similar.

To install, use the ANDROID_AVD_DEVICE environment variable with the -s flag:
adb -s $ANDROID_AVD_DEVICE install -r my-app.apk

This would be automatically expanded by the shell to something like:
adb -s localhost:34564 install -r my-app.apk

The same principle applies for any other adb commands you wish to perform, for example to start running tests:
adb -s $ANDROID_AVD_DEVICE shell am instrument -r -w com.example.tests/android.test.InstrumentationTestRunner | tee test-result.txt

Installing and uninstalling APKs

Since version 1.9, the plugin can automatically install an APK on the started emulator for you.

Under the "Build" section of your job configuration, select "Add build step" and choose "Install Android package".

In the "APK file" field that appears, enter the filename of the APK you wish to install. When the job runs, the APK will be automatically installed after the emulator has started up.

Note: It is also possible to use this build step without having started an emulator via this plugin — you can install an APK on an attached device or other emulator.

Running the Android monkey tool

The plugin provides a Build Step called "Run Android monkey tester" which will run the monkey stress-testing tool against the given Android package.

The output is saved to a file — by default "monkey.txt" in the root of the build workspace.

Parsing monkey output

Also provided is a method of parsing the output of the monkey testing tool.

Given a filename — defaulting to "monkey.txt" in the root of the build workspace — the plugin will parse the output and display the result on the build page.

Optionally, if the monkey output reveals your Android application crashed or caused an "Application Not Responding" situation, the build can be marked as UNSTABLE or FAILURE.


The full emulator log is captured for the complete duration of a build. This corresponds to the output of "adb logcat -v time", i.e. the main log output including timestamps.
This will be archived automatically as a build artifact, with the name logcat.txt.

Known issues

Running in a Windows service as "Local System"

New AVDs cannot be generated and run if Jenkins is running as a Windows service, using the "Local System" account (see JENKINS-7355).

Unexpected timeouts or hanging during build

AVDs can, on occasion, time-out unexpectedly or stop responding during a build, e.g. when trying to install an APK (see JENKINS-7354).

AVDs may not shut down fully at the end of a build

Sometimes the emulator process does not shut down fully at the end of a build (requiring a kill -9 on Linux); the plugin sends a console command to terminate the emulator and the UI window closes, but the actual emulator process does not die.

Potential upcoming features

It should be possible to automatically install the Android SDK and the correct dependencies on any Jenkins node, without manual intervention.

This feature is already quite complete (source is on the auto-install branch), so the curious can try this out already.

However, because the SDK Tools currently lack a way of automatically installing only certain SDK components, the plugin will download every Android platform version — a total of around 1GB. Auto installation is also currently not available on Windows.

To help this feature be completed, please add a "star" to support these Android feature requests:

Source code

The latest source code can be found on GitHub:

Version history

Version 1.18 (September 12, 2011)

Version 1.17 (August 25, 2011)

Version 1.16 (August 19, 2011)

Version 1.15 (May 20, 2011)

Version 1.14 (May 13, 2011)

Version 1.13 (Apr 20, 2011)

Version 1.12 (Apr 08, 2011)

Version 1.11 (Apr 07, 2011)

Version 1.10 (Apr 04, 2011)

Version 1.9 (Mar 06, 2011)

Version 1.8.1 (Feb 23, 2011)

Version 1.8 (Feb 21, 2011)

Version 1.7 (Feb 09, 2011)

Version 1.6 (Dec 26, 2010)

Version 1.5 (Dec 17, 2010)

Version 1.4 (Sep 28, 2010)

Version 1.3.1 (Sep 01, 2010)

Version 1.3 (Jul 18, 2010)

Version 1.2 (Jun 17, 2010)

Version 1.1 (May 18, 2010)

Version 1.0.3 (Apr 06, 2010)

Version 1.0.2 (Apr 06, 2010)

Version 1.0.1 (Apr 06, 2010)

Version 1.0 (Apr 05, 2010)