Developers, YouTubers, and Bloggers: Take Better Screenshots with QuickDemo [XDA Spotlight]
From the creators of PSPDFkit – a PDF framework used in Evernote and Dropbox, as well as its own standalone app – comes a free, open-source application for manipulating the contents of the Android status bar.
QuickDemo for Android is a tool which leverages Marshmallow 6.0’s System UI Demo Mode in creating a user-friendly application for customizing static status bars. This can be useful for taking clean, organized, and purposeful screenshots and videos. Best of all, this app creates its own Nougat Quick Settings Tile, enabling the status bar to be cleaned and staged in just a swipe and a tap. This can be a great convenience for developers and reviewers alike who need to present on-screen content in a clean and consistent way – in fact, it was created by the team at PSPDFKit for just that purpose. In the testing and marketing of their own successful applications, the developers found existing alternatives to be lacking in ease of use and customization – so they created their own – which you can now use too!
This application does not require root access, but you’ll need to have access to an ADB shell to make this app work on an unrooted device. Although there’s currently no QuickDemo application in the Play Store (at least not this particular one), being an open-source project, it can be compiled and installed from Github. Doing so is relatively easy, even if you have little to no experience in using Github or Android Studio. We’ll show you how to do so after our review, if you’re inquisitive enough to learn how to do so. But if you would rather skip having to compile the application yourself, you can download a pre-compiled version made by us.
Take Better Screenshots with QuickDemo
Once installed, using QuickDemo is generally self-explanatory, so we’ll only go over a few quick things.
The GUI consists mainly of on/off toggles for specific icons, such as mute, speakerphone, location, and Wi-Fi. Others, such as signal strength, battery percentage, and time, have manually configurable values. The status bar can also be changed to show as opaque, translucent, or even “warning” – as in the case of the red status bar shown during battery saving mode, for instance.
Hiding third-party notifications is possible, although not configurable per app; as it is right now, QuickDemo can hide all notifications or none of them. This is a minor quibble for most, but the addition of such a feature would certainly be appreciated. For phones running Nougat, a quick tile is added in the notification center which serves to toggle Demo Mode on or off.
The only minor hiccup observed was QuickDemo’s generally infrequent tendency to not recognize a certain icon’s configuration, specifically when switching Demo Mode from “off” to “on.” This glitch can appear whether the user turns on Demo Mode through the Quick Tile or the in-app switch. For example, the Wi-Fi indicator may show full signal strength when QuickDemo is set to show only two bars. In such an instance, the icon will not properly reflect this, unless changed to a different level and then set back to two bars within the app.
It seems this minor glitch is limited to manually configurable items, such as the time and signal strength, as opposed to the other icons which only have on/off values. This annoyance can be avoided altogether by configuring icons while Demo Mode is switched on, but this can be a hindrance for the quick tile, as using it sometimes doesn’t properly reflect your configuration.
All in all, QuickDemo is a capable and easy to use application for creating blank-slate screenshots. Customization and a simple toggle-based GUI highlight this application’s strengths, while the only option currently missing is the ability to configure third-party app notifications individually. Close to perfection, though, this app is a must-have for those who constantly display their screens, be it for videos, reviews, presentations, or otherwise. The fact that it’s open-source only adds to the appeal, as members of the community can easily contribute to the project to patch small issues and even expand its capabilities.
Check out the screenshots below to see QuickDemo in action!
How to Install Quick Demo
As promised, we will provide a download link to a pre-compiled version of the QuickDemo application if you do not want to bother compiling it yourself, or don’t care to. Here’s that link:Download Quick Demo from AndroidFileHost
If you do download the above and install it to your device, you will need to run the following ADB shell command to grant the application the requisite permission to toggle and control Demo Mode:
adb shell pm grant com.pspdfkit.labs.quickdemo android.permission.DUMP
Furthermore, you will also have to enable the System UI tuner to be able to even start Demo Mode. On certain devices, this is as easy as long-pressing on the gear/settings icon when you pull down the status bar. On OEM devices that have disabled this method, you’ll have to enter this command in ADB:
adb shell settings put global sysui_demo_allowed 1
For those of you who want to learn how to compile an application from Github (in case you come across another open-source app like this that you want to install), here are some step-by-step instructions to get compile, install, and get the app up and running.
What You Need
- Android Studio 2.2 or higher
- Android device or emulator running Marshmallow API 23 or higher
- Ensure Android Studio is up to date.
- Open Android Studio, Configure > Check for Updates
- Ensure the proper SDK tools are installed.
- Open Android Studio, Configure > SDK Manager
- Launch Standalone SDK Manager, ensure at least the following packages are installed as displayed in the pictures below:
Original instructions can be found on the dedicated Github page, but setup only requires a few simple steps in Android Studio. First, you’ll need to download the project from Github. On this page, select “Clone or download” and choose “Download ZIP.” Extract the enclosed folder and save wherever you like.
Open Android Studio and select “Open an existing Android Studio project.”
Navigate to the extracted folder, highlight and click “OK.”
After a few moments, your screen should mirror that of the above. Ensure the device on which you’d like to install the app is connected to the PC. When available, click the green “play” button toward the top-middle of the screen.
In a few seconds, your device will show up in this pop-up window, alongside Virtual Devices, if any are installed. Select your device and click “OK.” The application will now be installed on the phone.
When finished, the app will appear on your phone screen with the above instructions. These will be executed in a simpler fashion in the next step.
In Android Studio, move your cursor over to the top right edge of the screen and click “Gradles” – a green icon with the word displayed vertically. This will pop out the sidebar seen above. In this sidebar, click the circular green Gradle icon, and in the pop-up window select the “Gradle Project.” To do this, click the folder to the right of this input box and select the root “QuickDemo master” as highlighted above. In the command line, type “setupDemoMode” (without quotes) and click OK. This will give the app the proper permissions.
In a few seconds, your phone will display the full QuickDemo GUI. Congratulations, you’ve now compiled, installed, and run an application that you pulled from source!
While this application doesn’t contain many bells or whistles, it can certainly be useful to prevent taking distracting screenshots where your battery level is near depleted. That way, you can avoid the hordes of comments from users telling you to charge your phone or clear your notifications already! Try this app out and let us know how it works for you.