“Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik!” Google Replaces Dalvik With ART In Next Major Android release

Previous year the Android 4.4 KitKat update came with many exciting features and improved user experience, however one major feature that happened to be unnoticed by many KitKat users is the inclusion of ART compiler in the Developers option. This option is available to the KitKat users as an On-demand feature in the Developers menu that can be activated if needed. However, the ART reference attracted many tech geeks for its better performance compared to the dalvik runtime compiler.

Google has finally decided to take down the venerable Dalvik runtime machine to set the ART as the default Virtual machine on the next major version of the Android OS. In the KitKat version the ART is available as an alternative to the Dalvik which can be opted in the Developers option and Google also reported that ART was still in beta phase at that time. But recent changes done by Google Senior Software Engineer Brain Carlstom to the master branch of the Android Open Source Project shows that the Dalvik is dead and it is replaced by ART.

The two code review changes clearly shows that Dalvik is terminated for the next version of Android. The code review changes 98553 show a crystal clear message that Dalvik is terminated with a note that Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik! and the 98618 code change address the switch to ART by the comment Switch from core to core-libart. This change is anticipated by many of the developers ever since the ART surfaced in the KitKat builds and now it is finally executed.

So what’s the big deal with ART when compared with the Dalvit Runtime compier?

ART has the advantage that it pre-compiles bytecode when the app is installed unlike Dalvik which uses JIT compilation technique when app is launched. The pre-compilation of byte-code cuts the launch time of the apps by almost half as said by Google but it may not matter much to the normal user who uses normal apps which merely takes a fraction of second to a few seconds to launch, and the notice wouldn’t be much to notice. However, it reflects in the overall performance of the device by offering a smooth and lag-free user experience.

ART still face issues with few of the apps and the developers have to get used to the ART and develop or update their apps to run smoothly on it. Nevertheless you can expect the next version of the Android with the ART running as the default Virtual machine on your device.


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