Tencent makes first foray into open source

Android auto-updater lands on GitHub

Hammer, spanner and screw

Chinese giant Tencent is dipping a toe into the open-source world, with its own hot-patch system for Android apps.

As it notes at its newish GitHub repo, its Tinker hotfix framework “supports dex, library and resources update” without the user having to restart the app.

It's targeted at app developers: they add the plugin to the build environment for a project's root; edit the build.gradle for the project; make some mods to the apps' subclasses, and make the application itself a subclass of TinkerApplication.

Tencent's devs say they have made support for Android Studio Proguard automatic, and Tinker “will also generate the multiDex keep Proguard file for you”.

Tencent is following another well-known Chinese developer into the open source world.

In September, Baidu published its deep learning models on GitHub. Its other contributions include a file system and an “internet-scale” database.

Tinker is Tencent's second public project so far. The company behind WeChat has also offered up a suite of test automation tools, QTAF, with drivers for iOS and Android.

Given that it's often described as “secretive”, it will be interesting to watch how Tencent – which in September was nominated as Asia's largest company by market capitalisation – responds to the more boisterous world of open source software. ®

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