TL;DR – Today marks the release of GnuCash Android v2.1.5. This will be last release supporting Android devices running 2.3 (Gingerbread) to 4.3 (Jelly Bean). Starting from version 2.2.0, only Android 4.4 (KiKat) and above will be supported in newer releases.
For many years, GnuCash Android has supported as many Android releases as possible. As newer Android versions get released, it gets harder to take advantage of newer features while maintaining backwards compatibility with older Android versions. The Android Support Library has helped much in that regard, but there are some features which become available in newer versions of Android which cannot be ported via the support library. A while back, the minimum API level was raised from 8 (Froyo) to 10 (Gingerbread) in order to take advantage of newer API features. Today we are taking another step in the evolution of GnuCash Android.
The Android Storage Access Framework (SAF) was introduced in Android 4.4 (KitKat) and allows Android applications to open and save files on any number of services without having to perform separate integrations with each one. The presents a uniform interface to the users of the platform and the same set of APIs to the developers for accessing and saving files irrespective of the file synchronization service.
GnuCash Android currently supports exporting transaction data using Dropbox, Google Drive and ownCloud, by having explicit integrations for each one. There are always more requests for integration coming in., but it is impossible to include the SDKs for all available file sync services.
Starting from v2.2.0, GnuCash Android will be using the Storage Access Framework for exporting files to third-party services. This should improve the reliability of the export and synchronization of the files.
However, the SAF only works when the 3rd party providers support it. And I must say I’m a bit disappointed by the level of support from the big players in file sync. As far as I can tell, as of today, the support for SAF is as follows:
- Google Drive – full support, as would be expected from Google.
- OneDrive – partial support. Ability to read/open files, but no ability to write files
- ownCloud – read-only support
- Dropbox – no support at all
GnuCash Android will keep integration with Dropbox since it is relatively popular with GnuCash Android users and has no support at all for the Storage Access Framework. All other explicit integrations will be removed and will only work through the Storage Access Framework.
All users with devices running Android 2.3 to 4.4 will continue to have access to v2.1.5 of GnuCash Android. I hope this change has minimal disruption for the most users.