Android, Termux and Dev Environment

By R. S. Doiel 2016-09-20

Recently I got a new Android 6 tablet. I got a case with a tiny Bluetooth keyboard. I started wondering if I could use it as a development device when on the road. So this is my diary of that test.


  1. Find a way to run Bash without rooting my device
  2. See if I could use my normal web toolkit
    • curl
    • jq
    • sed
    • grep
  3. See if I could compile or add my own custom Golang programs
  4. Test setup by running a local static file server, mkpage and update my website

Searching for Android packages and tools of my toolbox

After searching with Duck Duck Go and Google I came across the termux. Termux provides a minimal Bash shell environment with support for adding packages with apt and dpkg. The repositories visible to termux include most of the C tool chain (e.g. clang, make, autoconf, etc) as well as my old Unix favorites curl, grep, sed, gawk and a new addition to my toolkit jq. Additionally you’ll find recent versions (as of Sept. 2016) versions of Golang, PHP, python, and Ruby.

This quickly brought me through step 3. Installing go, git, and openssh completed what I needed to test static site development with some of the tools in our incubator at Caltech Library.

Setting up for static site development

After configuring git, adding my public key to GitHub and running go get on my custom static site tools I confirmed I could build and test static websites from my Android tablet using Termux.

Here’s the list of packages I installed under Termux to provide a suitable shell environment for writing and website constructions.

    apt install autoconf automake bash-completion bc binutils-dev bison \
        bzip2 clang cmake coreutils ctags curl dialog diffutils dos2unix \
        expect ffmpeg findutils gawk git gnutls golang grep gzip \
    imagemagick jq less lynx m4 make-dev man-dev nano nodejs \
        openssh patch php-dev python readline-dev rlwrap rsync ruby-dev \
        sed sensible-utils sharutils sqlite tar texinfo tree unzip vim \
        w3m wget zip

This then allowed me to setup my golang environment variables and install my typical custom written tools

    export PATH=$HOME/bin:$PATH
    export GOPATH=$HOME
    export GOBIN=$HOME/bin
    go get
    go get
    go get
    go get

Finally pulled down some content to test.

    mkdir Sites
    git clone Sites/
    cd  Sites/

This started the local static site webserver and I pointed by Firefox for Android at http://localhost:8000 and saw a local copy of my personal website. From there I wrote this article and updated it just as if I was working on a Raspberry Pi or standard Linux laptop.