So much of our Android experience is dependent on modifying various APKs. Modding, theming, ROM and app developing in one way or another often require some sort of tweaking, modifying, or refashioning of an APK. So XDA Senior Member XperienceD has decided to create a ‘Definite APK Modding and Theming’ thread intended for everything to do with modding and theming.
XperienceD starts this thread off with a thorough, ‘all-in-one’ guide on APK decompiling and recompiling, signing and zipaligning, .9PNGs, and flashable CWM zip files. Categorized into these respective sections, the guide comprehensively covers every tool, step, and code with sufficient detail and covered minutiae needed. He does so in such a way that any novice or aspiring developer without an engineering or computer science degree can follow. XperienceD eases the process with asides of advice, links to other guides, external resources and sites, and the inclusion of numerous helpful visuals and videos.
XperienceD’s guide is most definitely one of the more thorough and comprehensive guides that I’ve come across. Not only is it a great starting point for the beginner, but even the experienced folks may find the guide worth a read and a bookmark. So if this has gotten you curious, make sure to check out the original thread for more information.
NinePatch or .9 PNG files are a nuisance for many. These awkward little blighters are the number one cause of Android themers throwing their PC out of the window. Despite being incredibly frustrating, once mastered they are also incredibly useful and allow the use of a single image in various different shapes and sizes. Getting to grips with them can take a little time though and there are various tools out there to help. If you’re just starting out with these particular files, there’s no better place to start than a good old fashioned tutorial.
XDA Recognized Contributor iamareebjamal put together an incredibly detailed (and I mean incredibly detailed) guide to NinePatch files. The guide takes you through the process of decompiling and editing them, along with a rundown of all the tools you will need to do so. As an added bonus, it also covers some of the most commonly themed areas of the UI and where to find the relevant image files as well as how to edit a batch of PNG files at once.
Packed with screenshots and information, this guide is well worth a look for anyone getting to grips with Android theming. Even those who have been theming for a while might learn a thing or two from this one. You can find more in the tutorial thread.
Everybody has a nemesis of some kind. Odysseus had Poseidon, for Captain Ahab it was the white whale, and Sherlock Holmes had Professor Moriarty. As for Android themers, well they have NinePatch (.9png) files.
If you aren’t familiar with NinePatch, check out this great tutorial which deals with the intricacies of working with these particularly troublesome image files. In summary, they are “stretchable” image files used for elements of the UI that often require resizing, such as a speech bubble used to contain a text message. Instead of storing multiple different sizes of the same image, it makes much more sense to simply resize the same one as needed, and that’s where NinePatch comes into play. Although on paper these files are an incredibly efficient solution to a problem, they can be a real nightmare to work with, as they need to be edited properly to avoid horribly misshapen and downright ugly images after the stretching takes place. And if you hadn’t already spent enough time messing around with one single file, when it dawns on you that you need to resize it for use on different screen sizes, this becomes a tempting solution to the problem.
Android Drawable Resizer by XDA Forum Member ~RoN~ should help to alleviate some of the frustration caused by these pesky images by allowing you to automatically resize the images for use on different resolutions. Once you have one size edited to your liking, simply use this Windows-based tool to specify it’s original density, select which densities you wish to create from your original, and the tool handles the rest. This is a fantastic time saver for any themers out there who aren’t afraid to tackle the NinePatch.
Check out the original thread for more information if you often find yourself spending too much time on this type of file.