March 6, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Aside from being a famous god in Norse mythology, Odin is the name of an application used to flash Samsung firmware onto Galaxy phones and tablets. With this tool, you are able to revert your phone or tablet to vanilla state, and you can also root it using CF-Root or by changing the kernel without recovery.
Creating Odin- or Heimdall-compatible packages from scratch is not easy. But this isn’t challenging anymore, as XDA Senior Member hnkotnis wrote a simple guide that explains how to create an Odin-compatible firmware in just a few steps. To crate said firmware, you need a Linux machine or VirtualBox with Ubuntu or another Linux distribution mounted as the operating system.
Hnkotnis presents three situations for creating said packages. The first is RSF format with simg2img support, the second is an image with EXT4 format, and the last is RFS firmware incompatible with simg2img. Making a compatible image requires a few files and UNIX commands, which thankfully are described in detail in the thread.
If you own a Galaxy device and want to make your own pre-rooted firmware, head over to the original thread to learn more.
March 2, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Creating an Android build is a fun, but oftentimes difficult process. First of all, you need to use an UNIX-like OS such as Linux or Mac OS, and not everyone uses said OSes every day. Having a native set up of Ubuntu would be great to compile, but not all of you know that Android can be built on Windows as well.
Ubuntu, Windows, and basically every other OS can be run on a virtual machine using applications like VirtualBox. A system image can be shared, and XDA Senior Member sylentprofet has done just that. The OS used in the sylentprofet’s method is a beta version of Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, which was featured here on the XDA Portal not too long ago.
The OS on the virtual machine has been cleaned of all unnecessary applications, and is ready to compile Android. The only thing left is initializing the repository of your favorite ROM and executing the make command.
An image can be imported to every operating system capable of running VirtualBox. But please bear in mind that your PC needs more physical power to run a system on a virtual machine, so don’t forget to tweak the parameters in VirtualBox.
The process of getting Builduntu to work is described in its original thread.
March 2, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Pac-Man isn’t just a funny-looking character from the earliest moments in gaming. PAC ROM is also the name of one of the most popular ROMs available for many devices here at XDA. The developers of PAC take the best features from popular ROMs like CM, Paranoid Android, and AOKP, and put them together while adding their personal flair.
PAC is pretty easy to port, even with a moderate amount of Android building knowledge. If you’ve ever tried to take a stab at building PAC, you might be interested in reading a guide by XDA Recognized Developer iurnait. The developer put together all the necessary information and wrote a step-by-step guide for building PAC. If your device has a working CyanogenMod device tree, you should be able to compile it from existing sources or even add official support for your device. The build process is scripted, so compiling should not be a big challenge. But nevertheless, the guide is very helpful.
[Thanks to my fellow news writer Samantha for the tip!]
February 24, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
With every new Linux distribution, some changes are required to successfully compile an Android build. Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution and is widely used to compile Android builds on home workstations. The most recent stable release is 13.10, but 14.04 is in testing and will be released in less than two months.
Trusty Tahr already can be used to stress test your CPU and compile your favorite ROM. As with almost every distribution, some preparation is needed, but a solution has been posted by XDA Senior Member sylentprofet.
Sylentprofet’s guide compiles all the necessary information, and how to use it. The main issue with Ubuntu 14.04 is Java. To build the Android OS with current tools, the Java version must be reverted to 1.6. Luckily, that can be done with just a few commands. Sylentprofet also shared a list of required tools and libraries needed to compile a ROM. The guide includes everything you need to know about setting up a build environment on Ubuntu and all Ubuntu-based distros like Mint, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and so on.
Daily builds of Ubuntu can be obtained from the official Canonical website. Perhaps it’s a good time to test the beta, since it can now be done without losing the ability to compile Android. More information can be found in the guide thread.
[Thanks to my fellow news writer Samantha for the tip!]
February 23, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Porting a ROM is an amazing adventure, as well as an excellent learning experience. Here at XDA, we have hundreds of ROMs floating around ready to be ported to your device. If your device has a working device tree, you may begin your journey with a repo tool and later on with ROM building.
If you happen to be looking for a list of ROMs available to compile, XDA Forum Member PixCM created a thread with a list of repo initialization commands, making the search much less fatiguing. The list contains 17 positions including Gingerbread ROMs, MIUI, Mokee, and other Jellybean and KitKat ROMs. The guide also contains links to teams’ Github repositories, so the code can be verified before syncing.
This guide, combined with some other guides available on XDA University, allows you to create a ROM for your device. And with a little bit of practice, reading, and Java/C++ work, you will be able to create your own, unique ROM. Every opportunity is good to start. But before flashing a homemade ROM, it’s recommended that you make a backup of your current software in the event that something goes wrong.
The commands and a short explanation of repo tool can be found in the original thread, so head over there to get started.
February 22, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Java is a programming language that is used to code software for many devices, including Android. It’s criticized by many, but Java is still widely used, mostly because its ability to run properly across many OSes as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Quite a few tools available on XDA are written in Java, including the Sony-specific Flashtool application, CASUAL, and so on.
Here at XDA, we’ve already presented a couple of applications, guides, and tutorials for Java. You may have already noticed that Java uses classes to handle various tasks. One such class, FileFilter, was recently presented in the form of a picture guide by XDA Senior Member Beatsleigher. The guide shows you how to write a custom class from scratch, so it’s pretty nice for all beginning programmers to understand the language better.
FileFilter can be used to display only a given file extension in an open window. So for example, a user can select .apk or .mp3 files only, and the rest won’t be visible. If you are working on your first Java project and it opens different file types, this guide will probably be very helpful.
You can find all needed resources in the guide thread.
When I first saw the game Flappy Bird, my reaction could be perfectly described by this meme. What’s so exciting about tapping a screen like a maniac to see a flapping bird going through pipes? But I decided to play, and I realized my mistake 3 hours later. Flappy Bird is simply addictive, and it’s one of the biggest hits in mobile gaming at the moment.
If you ever wondered about modifying Flappy Bird to see some other flying objects like your XDA avatar, a ball, or other things, you should check out a great guide made by XDA Recognized Themer and Contributor PulseDroid. With this guide, even a newcomer to the development world can learn how to change the game to fit his/her flapping needs.
The tool used by PulseDroid is the well known APKTool, which offers the ability to decompile an application to smali code and recompile it back. After following a set of simple instructions, your flying object will be the only one of its kind. The process is pretty simple and should not take more than 10 minutes if you have already made your replacement graphics.
You can get started by visiting the guide thread. So go there and customize your game experience.
February 17, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Being able to say “OK Google” from the comfort of your home screen was introduced alongside the Nexus 5′s Google Experience Launcher a few months ago. It allows users to control their devices with just their voice, as saying “OK Google” launches the voice command detection mode. With the newest update of Google Search, “OK Google” can finally detect languages other than English, and it works perfectly fine with other devices, but a little “hack” is needed.
XDA Recognized Developer memnoc wrote a handy guide describing how to activate this functionality on a device other than the Nexus 5. The hack isn’t overly complicated, and all you need is root access and a decent file manager.
The method is a chain of copy-paste operations and one simple bin file edit. The described method should work on all devices with Android 4.4.2, and was confirmed on the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, and HTC One S—and even non-AOSP ROMs are supported. It’s definitely great that the hot word detection is finally available for other devices and languages, as not everybody can speak English with a perfect accent.
If you have Android 4.4.2 on your device and want to speak to your device, go to the guide thread, follow the steps, and enjoy your device’s newly found abilities.
February 9, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Every new version of Android offers a tweaked graphical style. KitKat’s UI differs a bit from the more prominent Holo blue from Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, as that blue color was replaced by aesthetically appealing white. Unfortunately, some elements still appear to be taken directly from Jelly Bean, which is most likely true.
If you’ve ever wondered how “proper” KitKat should look, you should take a look at the guide presented by XDA Senior Member enricocid, who made a KitKat look more KitKat-like. Enricocid used some values from the SlimROMs repositories and shared the smali code, which can be used to complete the look of KitKat. Many elements were changed, such as the buttons, progress bars, page indicators, and more. More screenshots with applied changes can be found in the thread.
If you own a Nexus 4, 5, or 7 and don’t want to look deep inside into smali code, you can easily download a ready-to-use modifications that can be applied in the recovery. But if you want to play with smali code, don’t forget to download some tool to recompile the application, and of course make sure that your device is rooted.
Here at XDA, you might have noticed lots of ROMs with associated GitHub links. If you’ve ever wondered how to use it, you should visit Roofers Guide to Git or my guide posted some time ago. However, GitHub isn’t the only revision control system. There is another you should know: Gerrit, which is completely different beast.
Gerrit is a free, web-based team software code review tool. Software developers in a team can review each other’s source code modifications using a standard Web browser. It integrates closely with Git, which is a distributed version control system. You can view a sample Gerrit by visiting Omni or the main AOSP tree. In short, it’s great way to accept a new code from people not directly involved in the project.
If you’ve ever wondered how to use Gerrit, we have a good news for you. XDA Senior Member #Superuser wrote a handy guide for XDA-University and explained how to use this tool. With his guide, you will know Gerrit better, and you will be able to configure it and upload your patch sets containing changed code. It’s a powerful tool that can help you keep your project organized. So if you’ve never used it, you should consider installing it on one of your servers.
Without further ado, the guide can be found in the original thread. Go there and get a lot of +2s.
If you’ve ever had a chance to build a ROM from source, no matter if it was AOSP or some other distribution, you might have noticed that the source tree has a lot of folders. Some of them are responsible for keeping device-specific parts, while others are used to coordinate the whole process of building.
If you ever wanted to know what is kept inside of these mysterious folders, you should definitely read a guide written by XDA Senior Member #Superuser. The folder structure will no longer be a mystery, as most folders are described. #Superuser also described the build-specific parts to help you better understand the process of inheriting the source on various configs.
Folder structure isn’t all that’s covered in this guide. Basic build commands are also presented in detail, so even beginners can find something to read about. Every moment is good to learn something new, so if you use Linux or Mac, you should definitely try to build a ROM from source and analyze the folders.
If you are new to the development world, you should definitely give this guide a shot. The best thing you can do is to visit the original thread and read it carefully while syncing source.
Android 4.4 KitKat was released two months ago, and it brought a lot interesting changes like a transparent status bar. But not many of you know that you can get a very similar effect on any ROM, even Gingerbread, and all you need to do is to visit the thread we’re going to describe below. With APK tool and good text editor like Notepad++, Gedit, or any UNIX-based notepads, you can easily make your status bar use a gradient background.
XDA Senior Member kk9999gada wrote a guide to describe the process of decompiling SystemUI.apk to make the status bar transparent. He also provides the resources (a PNG file) needed to get this effect on your MDPI or LDPI device. The process of making your status bar more KitKat-like is very simple and takes a minute or two, so can be done while sipping some British tea. This modification proves that not only new, powerful devices with official and unofficial KitKat builds can have some of the best of Google’s UI tweaks.
If you have a Gingerbread device and want to add a transparent status bar to your favorite ROM, head over to the original thread and learn what exactly needs to be done.
December 29, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
Android development is not easy. There are a variety of APIs to manage, and compatibility issues make it even more complicated. Luckily, there are such places like XDA, where you can learn and share your knowledge with other members of the community. Showing how to make a simple launcher from scratch is a good opportunity to learn some more advanced stuff than simply flashing a ROM.
Frederick Barnard once said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and he was totally right. In the age of YouTube and other easily accessed social media outlets, sharing knowledge is very easy. XDA Senior Member powerpoint45 seems to agree, with a quote from tge famous English caricaturist and a series of videos to illustrate the process of launcher creation.
This video series is not a tutorial, so you need to know a bit about development before hopping into really advanced coding. To make an application, you need Eclipse or another tool able to compile an APK file. But with these seven videos, you will then understand what to do to make a perfect launcher. Perhaps, you will create the next Nova or Apex launcher.
The videos can be found in the original thread, so if you want to take a walk in a programmer’s shoes, head over there and get started. What do you think about this form of knowledge sharing. Do you prefer video guides to standard text guides? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.