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Themer
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281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is something I compiled a while ago (last update was a year ago). Yet the information still hold true, it just doesn't have all of the new methods included in it yet.

Updates are in the works by a few members of the community to add some new details in and also add some Theme Engine information and ADW information as well.

Since we know information for creating themes is spread out all over the place and sometimes hard to follow and understand, I have compiled a guide using the information spread throughout XDA and other forums.

I've sent this out to a many new themers and such and they have found the parts that are complete very helpful.

The guide is a collaboration of information from many themers/users. I am making sure to provide credit for all individuals writings. I am writing it in word, but posted it in Google Docs to all can view.

If you are going to link to this, please link back to this thread and not the document, this way we can keep the conversation in one spot and work together as a community, to have a document that isn't tool and utility based, but one that teaches people how to edit themselves, and teach with potential of finding more things we can control.

I will update the copy on Google Docs until it's completion.

Link to the guide:
The Ultimate Themeing Guide

Soon additions (red have been added):

  • Add information on un'odexing,
  • Create a reference table listing the stock apps, and the xml's known to edit inside
  • Add Ted417's tip on editing indexed images, would have helped me if he told me this a long time ago, stingy bastard :p

I'll add to the to do as things come in. If you want to ask questions or faster feedback, follow me on Twitter.

Hopefully it wont take too long for the additional information to come in so we can add to it.
 

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Themer
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281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here are some of the better questions I was asked and answered or information that just hasn't found its way in yet

When porting to a new version of cm what are the usual changes that have to be made to properly port it over?
The services.jar changes in most updates, so safe practice would be to redo that. Same goes for the framework-res.apk.

In apk's the thing you have to redo if you edited when an apk has been updated, is any xml in /layout.

For example, in framework-res.apk there are 4 ( 5 if you want to change the battery % color)
Locations:
/drawable/progress_horizonal.xml (this hasn't changed, it's safe to keep reusing the same on over and over)
Update all of these:
/layout/status_bar.xml
/layout/status_bar_expanded.xml
/layout/status_bar_icon.xml (this isn't in the guide yet, this is the battery %)
/layout/status_bar_latest_content.xml

Same would go for the xml's in the layout of:
DownloadProvider
Music
Phone

If you are trying to get around redoing all the apps, you need to ensure that the apps haven't been updated since the last copy. There is a utility that will do a compare, something that I need to bookmark so I can add it to be able to use as a reference.

Examples are like going from the 5.0.5's to the 5.0.6, when the ability to move apps back and forth between internal and sd-ext, this option was not in Settings, it's in MediaProvider, so if you had themed it before, you need to replace it with the new copy and put the images back in again.

ROM to ROM these things are different also (for services, framework-res; most apps are the same minus the ones carrying options like Settings, MediaProvider and SpareParts). So you want to redo them for that.

Edit: This may be a good question to add to an appendix of the doc as a reference only thing, I'll give that some thought.

From amac25:
Looks great and thanx i hate having to dig thru 7 million bookmarks for different theming posts. Thought i'd throw this out there you might know this already and it may be too detailed but google changed the color code line in the blue_button.xml in Calculator.apk/res/drawable to 08 00 00 1D instead of ending with a C. I haven't seen any other xmls with that change but it's something to keep an eye out for in the future if a search for 08 00 00 1C doesn't get any results and dunno if this will help but here http://markcarson.com/markcarson/ColorCalc.html is a color calculator that i use to get my xml hex colors. It has some presets and you can adjust the lightness and sat to your liking, so all you have to do is reverse it and add the aa after you find the color your looking for.
WarByte:
Kdiff is a free alternative to Beyond Compare
 

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Average Android
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149 Posts
Kookahdoo sent this to me a while ago I've been working on themes since just never released any I'm too lazy to keep them up to date and im not really a people person so I can't deal with people complaining about stuff they don't have to pay for so I just don't release anything but I might in the future. But thanks for the guide it has helped me out tremendously.

Sent from a galaxy far far away........
 

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Just here for teh bewbs
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846 Posts
once you ave all your images made, check out my theme generator. its a WIP still, but it builds the entire theme.apk (if its a theme enigine theme your working on) around you theme images.
 

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Android Lover
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365 Posts
r2doesinc said:
once you ave all your images made, check out my theme generator. its a WIP still, but it builds the entire theme.apk (if its a theme enigine theme your working on) around you theme images.
I have some images I want to port over. I can has help?

Sent from my OMFGB'd TBolt.
 

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Themer
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281 Posts
Webst3r said:
I'd be glad to help update a few things pertaining to .9s. I've gathered a lot of info and trick son them.
If you have a small write up that would be helpful to add, send me a PM. We are working to add sections, and will be fixing to give credit to sections by others.
 

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Themer
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281 Posts
r2doesinc said:
once you ave all your images made, check out my theme generator. its a WIP still, but it builds the entire theme.apk (if its a theme enigine theme your working on) around you theme images.
Once you feel like it is past a WIP it be something we could add as a tool. Part of the rewrite will be adding tool list. I like to keep tools separate since the original goal was to do things the real way themeing was done. These tricks are still as important now as they were 2 years ago.
 

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Themer
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575 Posts
This guide is an absolute must! Like many, it is my Bible. Got me started and still reference it. Can't wait to see some of the additions.
 

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Premium Member
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97 Posts
Don't know if you'd be interested in adding, but I got a few old lock screen mods you can add to your guide if you want. Let me know and I'll send you the mods

-Custom lock screen background (to display a solid image rather than show the wallpaper on lock)
-Custom slider tab background (solid image across rather than the 2 tabs)
-Custom media button background (only displays when media buttons are there) *Haven't got landscape layout right with this one yet*

Screenshot has all of the above + centered text + am/pm removed
View attachment 211
 

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Themer
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281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
CorCor67 said:
Don't know if you'd be interested in adding, but I got a few old lock screen mods you can add to your guide if you want. Let me know and I'll send you the mods

-Custom lock screen background (to display a solid image rather than show the wallpaper on lock)
-Custom slider tab background (solid image across rather than the 2 tabs)
-Custom media button background (only displays when media buttons are there) *Haven't got landscape layout right with this one yet*

Screenshot has all of the above + centered text + am/pm removed
View attachment 350
Yeah if you have a write up how to do that, I would love to include it.
 

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Average Android
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149 Posts
The brick wall I have hit is xml edits. Just can't seem to get them to work all I do is produce bricks. But I keep trying. Hopefully there is some new stuff out that will help me stop making bricks.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
 

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Themer
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29 Posts
Glad to see you brought this over Jai.....this was my learning tool along with DarkEdge and I still reference them both if I get stumped. I would have had valuable information to add on how to setup framework.apk and any other apk correctly so you can decompile and compile using apktool or apk manager once themed images have been added. When I learned that trick it saved Bgill and I tons of time if we wanted to make any changes, I also had tricks to make themes next to impossible for other people to port without permission. But since the theme engine has become the method users seem to like the most it really isn't useful anymore. That being said I would love to see this updated with support for the theme engine and basics of how it works. I think that would be extremely valuable for people, and it would save people time trying to control things that can't be controlled.
 
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