Recently, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the Android Studio IDE. Launched originally at Google I/O 2013, Android Studio aims at replacing Eclipse + Android Developer Tools, and bringing a few niceties such as live code rendering for different layouts.
As with any big change, some developers have experienced a few growing pains ranging from differences in handling external libraries to pains during initial setup. Aside from problems, just learning a new way of doing things can also be a hassle. Luckily, XDA Forum Member JoshieGeek has a guide in our App Development Forums geared at helping developers make the move to Android Studio.
The guide begins by giving a brief overview of the IDE, as well as pros and cons when making the switch. Then, JoshieGeek covers installation across three platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), as well as creating your first project. Next, he covers the differences in exploring your project when compared to Eclipse, as well as how to view your app in different layouts. Finally, the guide covers how to generate a signed APK.
August 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve written about Android Studio a few times in the past. Google’s would-be replacement for Android Developer Tools first made its appearance at Google I/O 2013. Based on Jetbrains IntelliJ, Android Studio offers many benefits over the older ADT such as live code rendering to see how your app will look across a variety of devices and layouts, as well as the ability to easily add any Android API into your app’s code. However, the transition hasn’t been without its share of growing pains.
One such issue that has popped up isn’t an issue per se, but rather a difference in how things are done. Since Android Studio is based on Gradle-build, the way it references external libraries (such as Google Play Services) is a bit different. Luckily, XDA Forum Member JoshieGeek has already gone through the process of learning how this is done, and has shared it in our App Development forums.
If you’re a developer looking to make the switch to Android Studio but you’ve either held back due differences in external library support or have just been waiting for the growing pains to subside, JoshieGeek’s guide will likely be of use. Make your way over to the tutorial thread to get started.
We’ve talked quite a bit about Team Win Recovery Project in the past. After all, having a nice touch-based recovery with a graphical and user-friendly interface makes the root and modification process easier and much less error prone. And ever since TWRP2 saw the light of day, it has offered some of the best functionality and undoubtedly the most user-friendly interface in the sea of custom recovery choices.
What do you do if you want to use TWRP but there isn’t an official build for your device? Well, thanks to XDA Recognized Developer (and Team Win lead developer) Dees_Troy, there is now an official porting guide.
The guide walks users through the make process as well as what all of the parameters in the BoardConfig.mk file mean and how to adjust them. After the image is created, it shows you how to make sure that it works by booting it in an emulator, thus protecting your device from potential damage.
I’m not going to lie to you; while it isn’t overly complicated, the process to build TWRP for your own device isn’t simple. In other words, you’ll definitely want to grab a cup of coffee or two before sitting down and getting started. However, those who put in the effort will be rewarded by having a working build of TWRP.
To get started with the recovery building fun, head over to the guide thread. Just make sure to grab a few cups of Joe before getting started.
August 24, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
By now, you should all be familiar with AROMA Installer by XDA Recognized Developer amarullz. As a brief primer for the uninitiated, AROMA installer is a powerful GUI that is accessible via most modern aftermarket recoveries such as TWRP and CWM.
The main purpose of AROMA Installer is to allow you to customize the installation of whatever tweaks, ROMs, kernels, and mods you may be installing. A popular example of this in practice is the popular ElementalX kernel for a range of devices by Recognized Developer flar2. Rather than simply installing when selected in your custom recovery of choice, this kernel gives users a host of options including max clock speed, GPU overclocking, thermal settings, governor options, and much more. In fact, these options (along with the kernel‘s generally superb performance and features) have earned a loyal user out of this particular 2013 Nexus 7 device owner.
So how do you go about using the AROMA Installer with your own development work? XDA Senior Member pankaj88 has created a brief guide showing you exactly how to get started quickly and efficiently. However, this is only a brief guide that doesn’t cover much of AROMA’s customization power. For that, XDA Recognized Contributor Dblfstr has created a separate tutorial thread that covers AROMA, as well as various other questions related to the Edify language and updater-scripts in general.
As you may all be aware, plenty of mods are available for the picking that offer customized settings menus. Usually, they include the addition of the standard CPU frequency settings, on-screen buttons, and a bit of shifting here and there of the settings layout. However, it’ll still be nice to know the process behind such mods, either for curiosity’s sake or because the available offerings are just not clicking with what you had in mind.
Well, XDA Recognized Themer RomWiz brings you one step closer with a guide teaching folks how to customize the settings menu with the addition of shortcuts to apps on an Android 4.0+ device. Requiring APKtool and Notepad++ ready at hand, RomWiz guides you through the way with clear, understandable steps, from the initial decompilation of the settings.apk, to including a custom app icon, and the recompilation.
Visual learners will be glad to know that the tutorial is very much visually orientated, with each step accompanied by screenshots and points of interest. Furthermore, RomWiz has even created and attached the guide in video form to make sure you don’t miss a beat when you’re going through the procedure yourself. A generic zip file has also been conveniently provided, which when you have placed your customized settings.apk in it, can be flashed to the appropriate directory through a custom recovery.
If you would like to learn more, head over to the original thread for both the written and video guide.
August 20, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
To say that the Google Chromecast has had its share of ups and downs would be an understatement. Not too long after its launch, we learned of a method to root the device, thanks to broken image signature verification. Not too long afterward, however, this hole was plugged and root access was removed on OTA-updated devices. In the time since, we’ve also seen an application that emulates Chromecast functionality on any Android device, as well as an app that reverse engineered the protocols to get around Google’s whitelist restrictions. However, here at XDA, we are power users. And power users want, among other things, ADB access.
Now thanks to XDA Senior Member death2all110, those lucky enough to have held onto root by using alternate system images can now easily access ADB with this guide. To get started, you take your rooted Chromecast and telnet into the device with PuTTY or any other telnet client. A few commands and a wget (to download adbd) later, and you’re ready to enable adbd. Next, you simply chmod the newly downloaded adbd to have the appropriate permissions, and then you execute it. Finally, you use adb connect [Chromecast Local IP Address] to connect to your Chromecast from your client computer.
The guide has lots of pictures and even a video walkthrough to make sure you don’t get stuck. Basically, it couldn’t be easier if you’re already rooted. Head over to the tutorial thread to get started.
August 18, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’ve ever thought about building a mobile application but put these dreams aside for whatever reason, now’s the time to get started. And with over a million new device activations per day, the mobile platform that will give you the most potential reach is clearly the Android OS.
So how do you go about building your first Android application? Well, that’s where XDA Senior Member Nachiket.Namjoshi is hoping to chime in with his tutorial thread. The guide is aimed at individuals just getting started with Android app development, but who have some experience with object oriented programming, Java, and Eclipse.
Nachiket.Namjoshi’s guide walks you through initial setup of an Eclipse-based development environment on Windows, as well as the Android SDK, Android Developer Tools (ADT), and the JDK. Once you have the prerequisites installed, the guide defines some of the fundamental staples of Android apps, including activities, services, content providers, broadcast receivers, as well as how to declare permissions and a minimum API level in the AndroidManifest.xml file. After the explanations, the guide shows you how to create activities and intents, as well as how to call them.
Budding application developers, be sure to head over to the tutorial thread to get started.
August 14, 2013 By: Samantha
Xperia users are no doubt familiar with FTF files, a file extension used for official firmware packages on Xperia devices. We see plenty of them floating around the forums, but not everyone knows exactly how they’re created. Some may want to know this because of curiosity, or would just like to share a certain version with the community. To help out with that, XDA Senior Member Apollo89 created a tutorial that guides you through the process.
A rather simple procedure, the guide is accompanied by plentiful images separated into four different parts. Each part details a major step of the way, them being:
So now you’ve got the gist of it, if you’d want to learn more, be sure to visit the original thread.
August 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that many mobile devices, especially older ones, often struggle with GPU-intensive drawing tasks. This generally manifests itself in choppy UI performance. And if you’re an app developer, this results in a kludgy application that your users will find burdensome to use.
We all know that excessive overdraw is bad. But how do we go about limiting it? Using Android’s built-in developer options, you can easily visualize the amount of overdraw in any hardware accelerated view. XDA Forum Member alobo has created a mini-guide that shows you where to locate the requisite options and how interpret the results, ranging from blue (1x overdraw) to red (4x overdraw). He also gives a few pointers on how to limit overdraw in your own apps, as well as pointing to an excellent guide by Romain Guy on the matter.
If you’re looking to optimize drawing operations in your next app, all you have to do is head over to the tutorial thread and get started. Your app’s users will appreciate the snappier UI performance.
We previously featured a mod for the Samsung Galaxy S3 teaching folks how to unlock the device with NFC. This is quite a useful function if you’ve teamed your device up with an NFC-enabled case or with a Tasker setup. However, it was unfortunate that only one device could take advantage of this. Now thanks to XDA Senior Member peurocs4, a few more devices will be able to enjoy this function.
Peurocs4 has created a guide enabling users of devices with the ‘NFC on lockscreen’ mod such as the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, and Samsung Galaxy S4 to unlock their devices with NFC. Additional requirements include a rooted device, the apps Secure Settings, Tasker and NFC Task Manager, and of course, an NFC tag that can be written over. Instructions are written with clear and easily understandable steps, and are aided with accompanying screenshots of the various settings and steps so you won’t miss a thing.
In addition to the already established end result, once the process is done, you’ll also be able to bypass the lock screen straight to your home screen with NFC, and lock the device again. If you’d like to see it done yourself, peurocs4 has attached a video demonstrating just exactly how it works.
If you want to give this a whirl, check out the original thread for more information and detailed instructions.
August 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Not too long ago, we covered a couple of interesting and useful apps created by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen. They were, of course, Floating Music Widget and Android Control Center. If you haven’t already checked them out and are looking for floating music controls and an iOS-inspired settings panel, now would be a good time.
You may be wondering what these apps could possibly have in common, aside from their creator. Well, they both feature prominent music control integration. And it’s not just these apps; music controls can prove useful in a range of different application categories. And since Dr.Alexander_Breen already went through the process of figuring out how to do it himself, he has shared the knowledge so you can implement similar controls in your own apps.
One thing to keep in mind is that due to the guide’s technical level, it is not meant for the beginning Android developer. Rather, it’s meant more the intermediate developer who already understands Android development and is just looking for an efficient and streamlined way of using android.media.RemoteControlClient.
The guide starts off with a brief primer and continues with sample code and explanations on how to implement this in your own app. In a future update, Dr.Alexander_Breen will also cover how to use the Android 4.3+ playback position functionality.
Head over to the guide thread to get started.
July 30, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin shows you how to root your New Nexus 7 (2013). To go along with Android 4.3, Google announced that they had refreshed the Nexus 7. Ever since, the Internet has wet its pants in excitement. Everyone is excited about the new device. As usual at XDA, we must root all the things.
Kevin presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access on your New Nexus 7 (2013) using tools from the XDA Forums. First, Kevin shows you how to unlock the device. Then, he shows you how to install TWRP custom recovery, and finally gain root access. So take a moment and check this video out.
July 23, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Here’s a scenario for you: Your friends, family, or annoying neighbors are over at your house watching the latest cricket match. They see a commercial, or they realize they are American and don’t know the rules of cricket, so they want to connect to your WiFi with their phone or tablet to look up some information. However, you don’t want to help them type in your WiFi password of “XDAistheBESTsiteintheW0rLd!!1eleventy.”
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin shows off InstaWifi from XDA Forum Member meltedxice. Kevin shows you how to set up InstaWifi to use NFC or QR codes to share your WiFi information with your friends. All they have to do is scan and then they are connected. Check out this video.