There are several ways to install applications or library files to an Android Phone. You can use Market application to find and install or adb command line tool to install or push the files to Android file system. These are all easy to implement for single file but if you have several applications or library files to install at once, it might be better to use update zip file. The update zip file is Android advanced system to install applications or lib files to Android file system using recovery tool. This method is commonly used by rom or theme developers to distribute their package.
Creating an update zip file is quite easy, all you have to do is put the files in corresponding directory in Android file system and an update-script file to copy the files. For example, to install Calculator.apk into system/app and copy libsec-ril.so file into system/lib :
show_progress 0.1 0 copy_dir PACKAGE:system SYSTEM: show_progress 0.1 10
Line 1&5 : show progress bar
Line 3: copy system folder from update package to Android’s /system
Note: you should add one extra line at the end of the file (Line 6)
java -jar signapk.jar certificate.pem key.pk8 myupdate.zip update.zip
Note: you can find tutorial on how to sign the update.zip file here
update-script syntax reference (definitions from recovery.c android source code):
Syntax: copy_dir <src-dir> <dst-dir> [<timestamp>]
Copy the contents of <src-dir> to <dst-dir>. The original contents of <dst-dir> are preserved unless something in <src-dir> overwrote them.
Ex: copy_dir PACKAGE:system SYSTEM:
Syntax: format <root>
Format a partiti0n
Ex: format SYSTEM:, will format entire /system . Note: formatting erases data irreversibly.
Syntax: delete <file1> [... <fileN>]
EX: delete SYSTEM:app/Calculator.apk, will delete Calculator.apk from system/app directory.
Syntax: delete_recursive <file-or-dir1> [... <file-or-dirN>]
Delete a file or directory with all of it’s contents recursively
Ex: delete_recursive DATA:dalvik-cache, will delete /data/dalvik-cache directory with all of it’s contents
Syntax: run_program <program-file> [<args> ...]
Run an external program included in the update package.
Ex: run_program PACKAGE:install_busybox.sh, will run install_busybox.sh script (shell command) included in the update package.
Syntax: set_perm <uid> <gid> <mode> <path> [... <pathN>]
Set ownership and permission of single file or entire directory trees, like ‘chmod’, ‘chown’, and ‘chgrp’ all in one
Ex: set_perm 0 2000 0550 SYSTEM:etc/init.goldfish.sh
Syntax: set_perm_recursive <uid> <gid> <dir-mode> <file-moe> <path> [... <pathN>]
Set ownership and permission of a directory with all of it’s contents recursively
Ex: set_perm_recursive 0 0 0755 0644 SYSTEM:app
Syntax: show_progress <fraction> <duration>
Use of the on-screen progress meter for the next operation, automatically advancing the meter over <duration> seconds (or more rapidly if the actual rate of progress can be determined).
Ex: show_progress 0.1 0
Syntax: symlink <link-target> <link-path>
Create a symlink (like ‘ln-s’). The <link-path> is in root:path format, but <link-target> is
for the target filesystem (and may be relative)
Definition of roots and partitions (from root.c android source code)
ROOT: (Linux block device) /mountpoint/ fs, size Description. BOOT: (/dev/mtdblock[?]) / (RAM) Raw Kernel, ramdisk and boot config. DATA: (/dev/mtdblock5) /data/ yaffs2, 91904kb User, system config, app config, and apps (without a2sd) CACHE: (/dev/mtdblock4) /cache/ yaffs2, 30720kb OTA cache, Recovery/update config and temp MISC: (/dev/mtdblock[?]) N/A Raw [TODO: Get info on MISC:] PACKAGE: (Relative to package file) N/A Pseudo-filesystem for update package. RECOVERY: (/dev/mtdblock[?]) / (RAM) Raw, [?]kb The recovery and update environment's kernel and ramdisk. Similar to BOOT:. SDCARD: (/dev/mmcblk0(p1)) /sdcard/ fat32, 32MB-32GB The microSD card. Update zip is usually here. SYSTEM: (/dev/mtdblock3) /system/ yaffs2, 92160kb The OS partition, static and read-only. TMP: /tmp/ in RAM Standard Linux temporary directory. Cleared on poweroff/reboot.