Set minimum API to 21 (Android 5.0)?

Hello everyone,

I come here today to discuss a current issue with App Inventor, that is supporting older versions for Android. In some peoples eyes, working on older versions can be a life saver, this way you can continue to get more downloads on your apps. However, the main problem is working to keep these alive because you have to always monitor branch changes (for example, adding a new block to App Inventor. It could be catastrophic for older versions of Android).

I feel as if I am ready to take on the change to supporting the minimum API as recommended here (Android 5.0; API 21). There's a possibility that with this change, code can be reduced and there would be less to worry about. So what do you think about this possibility? How will you be affected? Let me know!

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For extensions, you can assert that the extension requires a particular minimum SDK (e.g., 21) by specifying a value for the androidMinSdk field. Compiled apps will have a min SDK value that is the maximum of all min SDKs of the components in the app. The BluetoothLE extension does this, for example, to specify a min SDK of 21. As for the core of App Inventor, we have no intention to increase the min SDK above 7 at this time.

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And what is the reason exactly? Certain devices can't even open the browser or "Market" on devices equivalent to Android Jellybean or below. They are not fit to be supported. And I understand that this would be difficult for developers, however at a certain point in history, a change must be made.

AI2 is a learning tool, not a commercial one for developers. Therefore it will only progress in line with teaching / learning needs and not commercial ones.

You can sideload APKs. This has always been true on Android devices.

That's your call to make for your own projects, but not yours to make for App Inventor.

According to our stats, 4% of our users are using the companion on a version of Android below Android 5.0. The older emulator packages are also running Android 2.1, so that's the hard floor until everyone upgrades to one of the newer emulator packages.

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But what is the problem with specifying the min API in the Manifest:

<uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="21" android:targetSdkVersion="29" />

Not everyone who wants your app is going to go the slightly more difficult and confusing route.

I never said it was, but a majority of apps have a minimum API level of 21. App Inventor is behind in many ways, let this subject not be one of them.

Your computer can run an emulator because there's more RAM than in an Android device below Android Lollipop.

There is no problem, a great amount of apps on the Google Play Store don't support older versions of Android for the sake of saving time... Which is why it would be so good for App Inventor.

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