bind

Bind Objective-C and Java (JNI) code to Haxe without writing glue code manually.
https://github.com/jeremyfa/bind/

To install, run:

haxelib install bind 0.4.1 

See using Haxelib in Haxelib documentation for more information.

README.md

bind

Bind Objective-C/Swift and Java/JNI code to Haxe without writing glue code manually.

🚨 Warning: this library is in active development! 🚨

Overall idea

Writing Haxe-compatible native extensions that take advantage of iOS or Android API is quite complicated, especially if you start dealing with callbacks etc... This usually implies writing a lot of difficult to grasp glue code. This glue code is definitely not what you want to care about in practice. In addition, these intermediate files, that you would write yourself, usually don't integrate well with code editors. Just try to get iOS API code completion in this file that mixes Objective-C, C++ and HXCPP FFI code to display a UIWebView instance.

The idea of bind is to let you focus exclusively on Objective-C/Swift code (that you would edit with full IDE integration on Xcode) when you work on an iOS native extension for Haxe, as well as Java code (that you would edit inside Android Studio with full completion support) when your work on an Android native extension for Haxe. These Objective-C/Swift/Java code files could even be used without Haxe first, allowing you to test them separately etc...

Then, bind utility will take your Objective-C/Swift code or Java code as input and generate all intermediate glue code to make the same classes, methods and properties usable from a clean Haxe interface with types converted automatically.

In other words, use the best tools for each part: Xcode to make iOS code, Android Studio to make Android code and VSCode (or your other favourite Haxe editor) to make Haxe code that uses your iOS/Android bound code.

Usage

Generate binding code for iOS (haxe, c++, build.xml)

haxelib run bind objc NSSomeObjcHeader.h --namespace some::namespace --package some.haxe.pack --objc-prefix NS

Generate binding code for Android (haxe, c++, java, build.xml)

haxelib run bind java some/package/SomeJavaClassFile.java --namespace some::namespace --package some.haxe.pack

Parse one or more header files and return result as JSON

You can use bind utility to simply parse an Objective-C header to list its classes, methods and properties and output them as JSON.

haxelib run bind objc SomeObjcHeader.h [SomeOtherObjcHeader.h ...] --json --parse-only --pretty

Parse one or more java files and return result as JSON

This --parse-only option also work on java files

haxelib run bind run bind java some/package/SomeJavaClassFile.java [SomeOtherJavaFile.java ...] --json --parse-only --pretty

Additional notes

This bind library is not a full-featured Objective-C/Swift or Java to Haxe converter. Its approach is pragmatic and is intended to be used on a clean and portable subset of Objective-C header syntax (iOS) or a clean an portable subset of Java syntax (Android) that acts as a public bridge/interface to all your native iOS/Android API.

Nothing is written to disk by default. The output is simply returned by the command. You can add a --json argument to get output as JSON (file paths and contents), in order to integrate this into your own tool or add --export your/export/path to let bind save files to this export directory.

Objective-C/Swift on iOS

Check out an example of bound Objective-C header that you can use as reference to see which subset of Objective-C can be handled by bind. This file can be tested with the provided sample iOS/Objective-C project.

Supported Objective-C types

These are the Objective-C types that bind utility can understand and convert to a corresponding Haxe type.

Objective-C TypeHaxe Type
NSString*String
CGFloat/floatFloat
NSInteger/intInt
BOOL/boolBool
NSArrayArray
NSDictionaryDynamic (anonymous structure)
typed ObjC Blocktyped Haxe function

Sample Xcode Project

You can check out The iOS Sample project which contains:

  • A Haxe project that can be compiled with build.hxml
  • An Xcode project configured to build haxe files to C++, generate bindings and run the result as an iOS App
  • Scripts (used by Xcode project) to compile C++ to iOS binaries, to generate bindings
  • An example of class written in Objective-C Language bound to Haxe
  • An example of class written in Swift Language bound to Haxe through an Objective-C compatible dynamic framework

This will obviously only work on a mac, with haxe, bind library and xcode properly installed.

Java/JNI on Android

Check out an example of bound Java class file that you can use as reference to see which subset of Java can be handled by bind. This file can be tested with the provided sample Java/Android project.

Supported Java types

These are the Java types that bind utility can understand and convert to a corresponding Haxe type.

Java TypeHaxe Type
StringString
Float/floatFloat
Int/intInt
Boolean/booleanBool
ListArray
MapDynamic (anonymous structure)
Runnable/Func0Void->Void function
FuncNA1->A2...->T function

Threads in Android

While it is totally possible (and showcased in the sample project) to run Haxe/C++ in the same thread as Android's main UI thread, it is common to run it in a separate thread. For instance, this does happen when running an OpenGL ES app on Android: Haxe code is executed on Android's GLSurfaceView thread, which is not the same as the main UI thread.

The bindings generated by bind utility can take care of switching to the correct thread as needed when passing values between Haxe and Java. To do so, an instance of android.os.Handler or android.opengl.GLSurfaceView used to execute Haxe/C++ can be provided to bind.Support (see bind.Support.setNativeThreadHandler() and bind.Support.setGLSurfaceView()). This can be tested in the sample project by setting MainActivity.HAXE_IN_BACKGROUND to true or false. As all this thread handling is managed by the generated glue code, you should not have to care much about it. Just keep in mind that if Haxe is executed in a background thread, its thread need to wait for Android's UI thread everytime you are doing a synchronous call from Haxe to Java that has a non-void return value.

Bindings can also cope with more custom setups where the thread is not a GLSurfaceView thread or doesn't have an Android Looper, like it is the case on SDL2 apps. By calling bind.Support.setUseNativeRunnableStack(true) it will make Java side notify JNI/Native side from Android's UI Thread, when there are some Runnable instances that need to be called from Haxe thread. But note that this requires some more setup on Haxe side: it needs to call bind.java.Support.flushRunnables() regularly (at game frame update, likely), to call Java back from the correct native thread and let it execute the awaiting Runnable instances. Android sample project doesn't showcase this setup, but it is planned to provide a real world example of this later.

In general, you should anyway minimise the number of calls between Haxe and Java as this is an expensive operation.

Sample Android Studio Project

You can check out The Android Sample project which contains:

  • A Haxeproject that can be compiled with build.hxml
  • An Android Studio project configured to build haxe files to C++, generate bindings and run the result as an Android App
  • Scripts (used by Android Studio project) to compile C++ to Android binaries, to generate bindings
  • An example of class written in Java Language bound to Haxe through JNI

This currently only works on Unix-based systems (Mac/Linux), with haxe, bind library and Android SDK properly installed. Project will also work on Windows in the future.

Roadmap

  • [x] Parse Objective-C classes, with methods, properties and comments in header files
  • [x] Parse Objective-C blocks as Haxe functions in class methods and properties
  • [x] Parse Objective-C typedefs, including block types in typedefs
  • [x] Generate Haxe (C++) to Objective-C bindings from parsed informations
  • [x] Add examples of some Objective-C bindings and a sample Xcode/iOS project
  • [x] Add similar tests and examples for Swift (through Objective-C compatible dynamic frameworks)
  • [x] Add an option to write generated and support files to disk at a target directory to make them ready to use
  • [x] Parse Java classes, with methods, properties and comments in java files
  • [x] Generate Haxe (C++) to Java/JNI bindings from parsed informations
  • [ ] Handle standard Android events through bind.Support
  • [ ] Design a bind.json file format allowing to create iOS/Android extensions with external dependencies
  • [ ] Make Android Studio project sample work on Windows machines (only works on Mac/Linux for now)
  • [ ] Generate single Haxe class from Objective-C + Java/JNI bindings having the same methods and properties
Contributors
jeremyfa
Version
0.4.1
Published
4 months ago
License
MIT

All libraries are free

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