Conan Troutman · May 8, 2013 at 05:30 pm

Say Goodbye to Custom “Stock” Roms and Hello to Xposed Framework

bluedroidEvery so often, an OEM will do things right. Well, nearly right anyway—right enough at least for their stock ROMS to only need some minor tweaks before they are almost perfect. More often than not though, these tweaks are things that can be tricky to implement for the average user—a user who will often find himself looking to install a custom ROM that is pretty close to stock with these desired tweaks added in. Usually that means downloading a pretty large file and then following the obligatory backup/flash/restore process that many of us now have down to a fine art. It shouldn’t have to be this way though, and luckily it isn’t. You just might not know it yet.

You may or may not have heard of the Xposed Framework, the brainchild of XDA Recognized Developer rovo89. If you’re already familiar with this particular mod, there’s really no need for me to tell you how awesome it is. You’re excused and can go play outside. If you aren’t already familiar with the framework, take a seat and listen up. While the Xposed Framework certainly isn’t a new thing, it doesn’t get nearly as much recognition as it deserves, and it’s time to do something about that.

According to the developer, Xposed works as follows:

“Some technical details:
I extended the /system/bin/app_process executable to load a JAR file on startup. The classes of this file will sit in every process (including the one for system services) and can act with their powers. And even more: I have implemented something that allows developers to replace any method in any class (may it be in the framework, systemui or a custom app). This makes Xposed very powerful. You can change parameters for the method call, modify the return value or skip the call to the method completely – it’s all up to you! Also replacing or adding resources is easy.”

What that means is that modifications (known as Xposed modules) can be made to any app or element of the OS itself by simply coding the desired change, packing it into its own APK, and installing to the device. The Xposed Framework takes care  making sure it gets to where it needs to go and stays there. This eliminates the need to decompile the specific item you’re modifying or creating different versions for different ROMs and devices. There may be a need to alter an Xposed module after a major change in Android itself, for example 4.1 to 4.2, but let’s face it: That’s a fairly infrequent occurrence. No files on the device itself are modified, and this means that in the event something does go wrong, returning the device to a stable state is no more complicated than flashing a zip to disable the framework. That’s right, no more lengthy and storage consuming nandroid backup process every time something goes wrong.

xposedinstaller

Installation is incredibly quick and painless, considering the scope of this utility. Simply grab the Xposed Installer from the forum thread and sideload to your device, open up the app once it’s installed and click on “Install/Update,” reboot the device, and you’re good to go. No seriously, it’s that simple.

Installing each individual module is as easy as sideloading the APK, installing, activating it via the Xposed application and rebooting. Some mods will offer a user interface depending on how much functionality they are capable of, others just have one specific purpose and need no attention at all.

So what kind of modifications are we talking about here? Well, if you can think of tweak then chances are it can be packed into an Xposed module. Think of the added little extras that make your favourite custom ROM so appealing. Those are the sort of things that Xposed was created for.

xposedmodules

A perfect example is Smart Alarm Icon, created by XDA Forum Member Mantelinho. This mod will configure the alarm icon in your status bar to only be displayed at a predetermined period before the alarm is due to sound. Let’s say you have your alarm set Monday through Friday. You can leave the alarm set all week but won’t have to see that little clock shaped reminder of Monday morning hanging around in your status bar over the weekend.

There a multitude of mods out there for various purposes, and you can bet that we’ll be highlighting as many as we can in the future. In the meantime, you can check out a repository for various modifications that was put together by Developer Admin pulser_g2. There is also a development tutorial aimed at getting people to create their own modules and making this the single most powerful tool for customisation there is.

Just when you thought this whole thing couldn’t possibly get any more awesome, it’s all open source. Be sure to check out the original forum thread on the Xposed Framework for more information.

Class dismissed.


_________
Want something on the XDA Portal? Send us a tip!

Conan Troutman

Conan Troutman is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Senior Moderator, Newswriter, Recovering Meme Addict.
Chris Gilliam · Mar 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm · 1 comment

Pinsy Brings Social Sketching To Your Watch & Phone

Did you watch Apple's VP draw on his wrist during the Apple Watch announcement and wonder "why can't my Wear watch do that?" In typical XDA fashion, one enterprising forum member has brought similar functionality to Android Wear with a twist; it works on phones and watches alike, with other platforms on the way! The app is called Pinsy, and its release debut is a strong proof of concept with plenty of room to grow. You may remember the developer behind this project, XDA...

XDA NEWS
Mario Tomás Serrafero · Mar 27, 2015 at 04:13 pm · 2 comments

Should You Get Wear? Wearer’s Practical Observations

Wear is said to not offer enough for mass adoption, even though its been in the market for over 9 months. I personally have a Gear Live which I purchased 8 months ago, and my experience with it has had its ups and downs throughout my time with it. For the longest time, I was not able to recommend the platform to anyone. Since then, a lot of updates have hit Wear watches, some improving battery life, others changing the...

XDA NEWS
GermainZ · Mar 27, 2015 at 01:15 pm · 2 comments

SlimRoms: Updates on the Horizon

SlimRoms' website has been experiencing technical difficulties for the last month or so, but it's good to know the team is working hard and is still on top of things. The SlimRoms GitHub repos are getting updated with some major changes showing up. Most notably, some projects are getting a new 5.1 branch: lp5.1! A new, revamped and open source website is also in the works, with a look inspired by material design. We also got a tip about an...

XDA NEWS
Share This