Samantha · May 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

XDA University: Add Beginner Modifications and Themes to Your Own ROM

Modifying and theming your Android device are both key tasks to enriching your Android experience, which is probably why members of the XDA community absolutely love modding and theming their devices. Today, we’ll be going over the basics of creating your own mod and theme for your Android device.

To get a good grasp on the fundamentals of modding, it’s recommended to refer to the  Zip-based rom tweaking guide found at XDA-U. The guide lists what tools you need, and goes on to break down exactly what each folder of a zip-based rom consist of, and what function of the device each folder is required for. Examples include the all important /System folder where the majority of your operating system is located, as well as /Framework which houses the core system framework apps that act as the ‘system skeleton’. The guide also points out exactly what folder, app and file is safe to change, and what possible modifications and customization can be achieved by doing so. This is especially important as changing, deleting or adding files may, in many cases, brick your device, such as with a bootloop.

The guide also details what you can do with the Update-script file located in META-INF. Using the edify language, the guide defines what the most common update-script commands are and outlines what they do. It then goes on to describe what the boot.img is, and how to create your own flashable zip file.

The introductory guide to basic ROM theming guides you on how to proceed with theming your ROM or device. It is to be stressed that a high level of competence with Photoshop or GIMP is required, especially if you are attempting to craft a complete theme. Getting a grip on how Android styles are defined in the XML format is also necessary, and an external link to a very thorough guide is provided. The next stage is the actual modification of aspects of the system’s graphics, requiring the decompiling and recompiling of system apps with tools such as apktool and AndroidSuite, which in most cases, tend to be SystemUI.apk and framework-res.apk. Again, the guide provides a basic outline of the process with external correlative links to more comprehensive and specific guides. Once this process is done, create a flashable zip with the modified files and flash the file or, if the modified apk is not a system app, sign the apk and flash or push it to the appropriate folder.

Creating your own mod and theme can be quite a complicated process, but with it comes countless possibilities to personalize your device to suite your specific taste. If you are interests, make sure to head over to the respective guides on XDA-University for a more detailed and complete learning experience.

If you would like to contribute to XDA-University or get involved in any sort of way, feel free to contact us.


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Samantha

jman2131 is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. View jman2131's posts and articles here.
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