Google wants to bring ADB from Android to Fuchsia devices

Google’s Fuchsia team has started a new effort that will allow Fuchsia devices to be managed using an ADB tool, just like an Android phone.

On Android today, developers and enthusiasts can access some of the essential components of their phones and tablets from their PC using ADB. Short for “Android Debug Bridge”, ADB is an important tool that, as the name suggests, is able to “link” the two devices together.

Developers will use ADB to remotely install the latest running version of their app on a physical device or even an Android emulator. Even if they don’t use ADB commands directly, developers benefit from integrating ADB deeply into other tools like Android Studio.

Meanwhile, Android enthusiasts and seasoned users use ADB to access their phone’s command prompt, possibly to enable a mod discovered by the community. You can also use ADB to access real-time logs from your phone, to help diagnose problems or simply learn more about its inner workings.

Most importantly, ADB is able to consistently work well on every major desktop platform – Windows, macOS, and Linux (as well as ChromeOS) – and this is a very important aspect of the Google Fuchsia team.

This week, the fuchsia team Share a new suggestion Titled “ADB on Fuchsia” which shares the team’s intent to support ADB for hardware control and the reasons behind wanting to do so.

Currently, the basic “fx” and “ffx” tools used to control Fuchsia devices are only compatible with Linux and macOS computers. And while there has been an effort to run ffx on Windows, this is not expected to be completed until the end of 2022.

Moreover, even when ffx is supported on all platforms, Fuchsia which supports ADB will still be useful in the near future since ADB is a ubiquitous tool. Over the years, ADB has been integrated into many different workflow and automation tools, many of which can immediately start supporting Fuchsia devices without needing a change.

So what would Fuchsia look like to support connectivity via ADB? One important thing to note is that this Does not mean You’ll be able to connect your favorite Fuchsia device – like a Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max – to your computer via USB. Google has explicitly indicated that the Fuchsia version of ADB “will not be available on user or production builds”, a decision made with security in mind.

Instead, ADB on Fuchsia is only intended to work with devices while they were early in development, making some of those initial development and testing phases — Google cites “creation, engineering, etc.” — possible from Windows devices.

Another notable limitation is that the Fuchsia team currently only intends to “support only a subset” of what the ADB can do. Specifically, there are only plans for four specific ADB commands:

  • ADB shell
  • adb logcat
  • adb . payment
  • adb pull

As mentioned earlier, ADB’s “shell” command is used to access the internal command prompt of a (usually Android) device. When used with a Fuchsia device, you’ll be able to run the same commands you normally access through the ffx shell or by connecting to the device via SSH. Next is “logcat” which, just like Android, will be able to output all the logs of the Fuchsia device.

The most interesting ADB commands included are “push” and “pull”, which are used to send and retrieve files between the two devices. The suggestion doesn’t share exactly how this will work on a Fuchsia device, but it will definitely come in handy during testing.

Internally, all of these ADB commands will effectively be routed to their fuchsia equivalent, as shown somewhat in the included graphic. In this sense, this support for ADB only acts as a compatibility layer.

Overall, it’s interesting to watch Google tie its different projects together in direct, albeit subtle, ways. While it’s unlikely that most of us will need to connect to a Fuchsia device via ADB for the foreseeable future, the addition is still interesting.

In some ways, ADB’s support for Fuchsia is also talking to Google in an effort to make Fuchsia-first device development easier for the company’s partners — or really anyone who wants to make a Fuchsia-powered device — using tools they likely already have.

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