September 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If own a Sony Xperia device and have switched out your ROM for an AOSP-derived firmware such as CyanogenMod, you may miss a few OEM-provided pieces of software from time to time. Some of the interesting value-added software provided by Sony include their “small apps,” as well as their upgraded task switcher.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member lukakas has created a guide to help you port these Sony-specific additions to CyanogenMod 10.1 (and perhaps any ROM based on Android 4.2.2). More specifically, the guide allows you to bring the Sony Xperia Z-specific versions of those addons.
The guide is extremely well written, and even features a helpful YouTube video that shows some of these additions in action. The guide walks you through the process of decompiling and modifying android.policy.jar, framework.jar, framework-res.apk, and SystemUI.apk. All of the modifications as well as what to do afterward are clearly outlined and color coded.
Head over to the tutorial thread to get started. Kudos to lukaskas for the well written and easy-to-follow instructions.
One of the most important tools we have for flashing images directly from a PC is fastboot. Almost anyone who’s rooted an HTC or Nexus device has used it, either through command line or through an automated tool making use of fastboot.
After all, this is how we execute that fastboot oem unlock command that we all know and love on Nexus devices. However, there’s much more that you can do with fastboot. Now thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor demkantor, we have a simple and incredibly easy to understand guide that teaches you how to setup fastboot, what it can do, how you can use it, and why you would even want to use it.
After drawing parallels to ADB and giving beginners a brief overview of what it can do, the initial setup is covered with two options: either manual setup via the Android SDK or a more automated tool to obtain the requisite binaries. After this, basic fastboot commands are covered such as erasing an existing partition or flashing it with an image. Sample output text is provided so that you know what to expect when doing it for yourself for the first time.
If you’re a new user who has never used fastboot, now would be a great time to learn. Head over to the guide thread to learn more.
Not too long ago, we covered a pair of guides by XDA Recognized Contributor matt95 aimed UnRUUing and decrypting HTC Rom Update Utilities. As it turns out, these guides aren’t the only contributions matt95 has made to the community.
Matt95 has also penned a simple guide meant to get future developers started quickly and easily with a Ubuntu-based build environment. If you’re been putting off learning Android development because you don’t have the requisite software installed, this guide may come in handy. The guide itself was written with Ubuntu 13.04 in mind, but the steps are nearly identical on other versions of the OS and still relatively similar on other Linux distributions.
Matt95′s guide starts with the extreme basics (i.e. installing Ubuntu). After the OS is loaded, matt95 covers the software needed for the developer environment, as well as how to install it. This includes tools such as JDK, GNU Make, Python, Git, the Android SDK, and additional packages.
If you’re looking to get started with development, make your way over to the guide thread to learn more.
September 17, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
XDA and its members are known for two things: being awesome and custom ROMs. Back in the Windows Mobile days, just about every tweak had to be setup in the ROM by the chef and flashed to your device. With Android, things have become more flexible. The most flexible option is the Xposed Framework. With this, you can cherry-pick different mods you want to add to your device.
In today’s video, XDA Developer TV Producer Kevin talks about the Xposed Framework. He gives a basic overview of what Xposed does. Then, Kevin talks about a few custom modules on XDA and shows what they can provide for you. So if you want to learn more about the Xposed Framework, check this video out.
September 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Yesterday, we featured a quick guide by XDA Recognized Developer KINGbabasula aimed at helping users make sense of the ubiquitous updater-script. While the guide that we shared talked about many of the commands available in Edify, it naturally didn’t cover everything. In order to keep things simple, much was left out.
If you already consider yourself to be facile with the information in the previous guide, it may be worth checking out another guide on the Edify language used in the updater-script files, courtesy of XDA Recognized Contributor kurotsugi.
Based on a guide originally published over at FreeYourAndroid, kurotsugi’s Edify guide covers 26 different commands, many with syntax, parameter details, taken action, and what the functions return if applicable. Related functions are organized near each other, giving the guide’s covered functions more context. And like the previously covered guide, understandable explanations are aplenty.
If you’re relatively new to the platform and want to learn a little more about the Edify language used in modern updater-script files, head over to the guide thread to get started.
[Thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor Deadly for the tip.]
If you’ve ever flashed any aftermarket development work or theme through a custom recovery, installed an OTA update, or used the powerful AROMA file manager, you’ve used an updater-script. No big deal, right? Everyone who reads this site should already know this.
What not every beginner can do, however, is look into the updater-script and make sense of it all. We’ve featured a few tools in the past that help users create updater-scripts, but it’d also be good to know what it all means. Now you can, thanks to a new guide.
Authored by XDA Recognized Developer KINGbabasula, the guide takes an example updater-script and explains various commands. These include getprop, mount, package_extract_file, set_perm, run_program, symlink, set_perm_recursive, and several more.
If you’re a beginner who wants to learn a little more about the ubiquitous updater-script, head over to the tutorial thread and get your reading on.
September 8, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re running an older device as your daily driver or are just something of a hoarder, you will have likely run into your storage limits at one point or another. As someone who got his Android start with the Google Nexus One, I know the feeling all too well. And while I have since moved on to devices with more internal storage that I can ever dream of filling, not everyone has a recent device. Plus, you never know when you’re going to install a few more games.
In order to help make the best of your available storage options, many have taken to using Link2SD to extend their application storage over to their SD card. XDA Forum Member acermedo has created a quick guide to walk you through the process of partitioning your SD card and getting Link2SD working properly.
This works by reformatting your physical micro SD card to also have an EXT partition using a PC-based partition tool. Then, the app is used to link this to the device’s internal storage. Optimally, this is done on devices with physical SD cards, which can be accessed via USB mass storage. Naturally, this will not work with devices that only have eMMC internal storage accessed through Media Transfer Protocol. That is because low-level access is required to do the repartition. Along those lines, it will likely work on devices that use a separate mount point for internal storage via USB Mass Storage (not MTP), but there will be absolutely no speed gain this way–only storage space gain.
Head over to the guide thread to get started.
September 5, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Recently, we featured a guide by XDA Senior Member Dr.Alexander_Breen aimed at bringing lockscreen-like music controls to your app. However, the method was overly complicated for many users. So in order to make the process easier, Dr.Alexander_Breen has created the open source library Remote Metadata Provider. And since it’s licensed with Apache 2.0, you can use in your projects (commercial or not).
Remote Metadata Provider allows you to create your own remote media controls, which behave similarly to the lock screen music controls described in the developer’s previous guide. However, usage of the Remote Metadata Provider library is much simpler than the last. You first add the library to your development project as an external JAR. Then, you follow a clear guide with example code listed within the thread’s main post.
Currently, there is a bug on HTC Sense devices, where you lose lock screen controls after calling RemoteMetadataProvider#acquireRemoteControls(). There is also (temporarily) a bug when using Android 4.3. However, this will be fixed in a future version.
Head over to the library and tutorial thread to get started.
September 4, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan shows you how to root your Nvidia Shield. The Nvidia Shield is a device that is in a class all of it’s own. There is really nothing else like it, and that is a good thing. But as usual, here at XDA we must root all the things and the Shield is no exception to that!
Jordan presents step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access and unlock the bootloader on your Nvidia Shield using tools from the XDA Forums. First, Jordan shows you how to unlock the device. Then he shows you how to gain root access. If you are having trouble installing the proper drivers on Windows 8, Jordan recommends checking out wwJoshdew’s video. So take a moment and check this video out.
August 31, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
One week ago, we featured a guide by XDA Senior Member marty331 posted in our App Development forums aimed at helping application developers create in-app usage tutorials using transparent demo overlays atop application activities. However, not everybody is a designer able to create aesthetically appealing overlays. Luckily, XDA Senior Member nikwen discovered the open source ShowcaseView library by Alex Curran, which makes it easy to generate Holo-themed demo overlays with ease.
In addition to describing the Apache 2-licensed library, nikwen also put together a quick guide that teaches developers how to showcase views, views in fragments, and parts of the action bar. He also describes how to add listeners to the library to trigger the event, as well as add animations such as a virtual finger that performs a gesture.
As we stated before, one of the keys to getting users comfortable and happy with your application is to show them how to use it. Head over to the guide thread to get started.
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.