Conan Troutman · Apr 14, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Take Control of Those Pesky NinePatch Files

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.


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