Modernizing our Android build system: Part I, the planning

One of the biggest challenges of the mobile developer community at Dropbox in 2018 was our custom build system. Our build system was slow, hard to use, and didn’t support some use cases which were out of scope of the original design. After 4 months of work by our Mobile Platform team, we were able to remove our unicorn implementation for something much more modern and easy to maintain.

In our new build system, we wanted to improve on a couple of things that our current build system was hindering:

  • Make it easy to create new modules
  • Allow developers to easily modify the build files
  • Improve on build times for local development
  • Industry standard approaches and tooling,

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