November 29, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
Well over a year ago now, we brought you news of a tool that solved the problem of users not being able to distribute themes for paid apps. Remote Theme Injector did exactly as its name suggests and “injects” the necessary themed elements into an APK, thereby allowing themers to make their work on paid apps available without distributing warez. The tool was often updated by its developer, XDA Senior Moderator and Recognized Developer Diamondback, whose name you might recognise from another project, Virtuous Ten Studio.
The Remote Theme Injector has since been incorporated into VTS, adding yet another useful feature into an already incredibly versatile piece of software for a variety of Android projects. VTS itself is essentially an IDE and a whole lot more, aimed at everyone from ROM developers to smali gurus, and now themers. It is capable of not only decompiling, modifying, and recompiling applications, but also modifying the m10 files that are a major component of HTC’s Sense UI, as well as the unpacking/repacking of boot images. That’s barely scratching the surface of what VTS is capable of, and I highly recommend checking out the VTS home page and XDA forum thread for more information.
The updated RTI bundled with VTS takes advantage of these features, and now allows for smali modifications to be included as part of the application themes. For a perfect example of just what is possible with RTI, check out the most recent batch of TapaTalk Pro/Free themes by XDA Recognized Developer and Themer Whiskey103. Whether you have the compulsive desire to ensure that all your installed apps maintain a strict theme or just fancy giving TapaTalk a quick makeover, this is definitely something worth looking into.
June 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Nearly everyone who peruses these forums has heard of XDA Recognized Developer JesusFreke‘s tool Smali/Baksmali. For the few who are still in the dark, the tool functions as an assembler and disassembler for the Dex files used by the Dalvik virtual machine on Android. Essentially, with this tool, one can disassemble code, modify it, and reassemble it upon completion. And for the extra curious out there, the names are derived from their Icelandic equivalents—fitting, given that Dalvik comes from the language as well.
While quite a few people are well versed with using Smali/Baksmali, others may find it more approachable with a menu-driven interface. Thankfully, this is where XDA Recognized Themer majdinj comes in. His tool allows users to use the original tool in a more streamlined / newbie-friendly way. And as one would hope for, setting up and using Majdinj’s tool for use is quite easy. The instructions, as stated by the developer:
Run Backsmali_tool.bat file, this will create all needed folders in the first run..
1. Put android apk or jar file in “put-file-here” folder. If Current-file status is set to None, then either you need to set a file in option #3 or you forget putting valid file in “put-file-here” folder.
2. When Current-file status is set to your file, you can disassemble its classes.dex by option #1.
3. Classout folder with name of file project will be created in “project” folder; make your changes there.
4. If finished your changes, assemble classout folder by option #2.
5. If everything is OK, a new file will be created in “finish” folder with tag (Modded_) in its name, just rename it to its original name and push it to your device; don’t forget to fix permissions as well.
It’s fair to say that unless you’ve spent some time digging around inside APK files and making some heavy duty modifications to apps or the Android OS itself, you probably haven’t come face-to-face with a .smali file in its natural environment. They are a common component in many of the most popular Android tweaks and hacks out there such as adding toggles, extending the power menu, and adding CRT screen off animation.
The files themselves can often be found nestled inside APKs and become available for modification once that particular file is decompiled with a utility such as APKTool. Unfortunately, these smali files sometimes have a tendency to squirrel themselves away inside the classes.dex of a JAR file and make themselves a little more awkward and time consuming to reach and manipulate. Following on from his recent guide to ADB commands, XDA Senior Member iamareebjamal has put together a one-click tool that will allow you to decompile the classes.dex from any APK or JAR file with ease.
Simply place the relevant file in the input folder, decompile, make any necessary changes to the newly available files, recompile, and check the output folder for your modified version. It’s as simple as that. Obviously there are a few prerequisites to this, namely some kind of personal computing device running Windows, Java (ideally in software and liquid form), the relevant files and tools (notepad++, an archive manager etc), and some idea of what you’d actually like to achieve as the end result. If you have all of those at your disposal, this could prove to be a great little time saver and well worth a visit to the original thread.
November 19, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
If you spend a lot of time taking apart APK files, you’re probably already intimately acquainted with APK Tool. For the unaware, it’s the go-to tool for decompiling, recompiling, and generally tinkering with APK in any way you want. Despite it’s incredible functionality, some people still prefer to use a nice simple GUI when performing basic tasks, as opposed to the menu driven interface of APK tool. It’s for this very reason that XDA Senior Member elesbb has put together a couple of simple little applications to allow basic APK editing from a GUI.
Both of these programs require Microsoft’s .NET Framework 4.5 to be installed. If you don’t already have it, links to the installer are provided in the forum threads for each program. Be sure to check out the threads linked above for each tool for more info and download links.