Default Guide for Android 2.3

The guide in this post is for Android 2.3 and mainly for AOSP ROMs. It is working with Oxygen 2.0 RC1 by AdamG and it may work with other ROMs (CyanogenMod based, Sense) but since I don't use these ROMs I can't tell. Feel free to check and report your experience.

Always make a backup of the files you are about to edit or do a nandroid backup. If anything goes wrong you will get a bootloop.

Note:
It seems that apktool can change the brightness of some nine patch graphics while decompiling them. I had problems with the lockscreen files (jog_tab_*) where the files extracted from the original framework-res.apk were darker.

Theming got easier with Gingerbread as you don't have to decompile any classes.dex file but harder at the same time as icons, colors, etc. are now located in different files.

If you are modifying an application and you are seeing a textAppearance, color, background or similar: If the value starts with "@android:" then you will find it in the framework-res.apk

Tools, which are used in this tutorial:
  • apktool. I highly recommend that you replace the apktool.jar from the apkmanager with version 1.3.1 if you want to edit .xml files. Version 1.3.2 can create non-working files as it screws up some values in .xml files. Version 1.3.1 is creating *-v4 drawable-directory names. Be sure to remove the -v4 or add it to the directory names you want to keep.
    Version 1.4.1 is working now.
  • text editor
  • adb
  • smali/baksmali
  • ZIP-Tool of your choice
  • Graphics editor


The very first thing you have to do is installing the framework of the ROM you are trying to create a theme for.
Code:
java -jar apktool.jar if <PATH_TO_YOUR>/framework-res.apk
If you don't do this then decompiling of the file SystemUI.apk WILL fail. If you recompile SystemUI.apk or framework-res.apk then you should recompile these files as system apks with keeping unmodified files.

If you are using apkmanager then you should recompile your files as system apk files with the option of keeping unmodified files. Be aware of the fact that apktool.jar version 1.3.1 creates drawable-*-v4 directories (i.e. drawable-hdpi in the original .apk will get drawable-hdpi-v4 after decompile). You have to either rename them back in your project directory or you have to rename the appropriate directories in the directory where you stored the files you want to keep.

1. Status bar
1.1. Clock, Date and notification ticker
It's now much easier to modify the clock in the status bar as it is now located within a .xml-file.
Files that have to be edited:
  • /system/app/SystemUI.apk
  • DECOMPILED_DIR/res/layout/status_bar.xml
1.1.1. Clock
Search for a line that begins with "<com.android.systemui.statusbar.Clock". You now have two ways for changing the font-style and color:
  1. Adding android:textColor="TEXTCOLOR" and/or android:textStyle="TEXTSTYLE", where TEXTCOLOR can be a HTML color (#TTRRGGBB - TT means transparency) and TEXTSTYLE can be "bold", "bold|italic", "italic" or ""
  2. Changing the style of android:textAppearance. This can be easier but keep in mind that this style could be used somewhere else.

A possible new line could be:
<com.android.systemui.statusbar.Clock android:textColor="#ffff0000" android:textStyle="italic" android:textAppearance="@android:style/TextAppearance.StatusBar.Icon" android:gravity="left|center" androidaddingRight="6.0dip" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="fill_parent" android:singleLine="true" />

With this you would get an italic, red clock.


1.1.2. Date
The date which you can see in the status bar can be modified by editing the line beginning with "<com.android.systemui.statusbar.DateView". As with the clock, you can either add textColor and textStyle or change the android:textAppearance

1.1.3. Notification ticker
Search for the line containing "@id/tickerText". It is followed by two other lines which contain "android:textAppearance="@android:style/TextAppearance.StatusBar.Ticker"". As with the clock, you can either add textColor and textStyle or change the android:textAppearance


2. Carrier, Ongoing-Title, Notifications-Title, Clear-Button, noNotificationsTitle
Files that have to be edited:
  • /system/app/SystemUI.apk
  • DECOMPILED_DIR/res/layout/status_bar_expanded.xml
2.1. Carrier
Search for the line beginning with "<com.android.systemui.statusbar.CarrierLabel" . This line contains the text for the carrier and its appearance.
The background for the carrier label can be changed one line above using the "android:background" attribute. It can be a pre-defined color value (@color/NAME_OF_COLOR), a html color value (#TTRRGGBB) or even a graphics file (@drawable/NAME_OF_GRAPHIC).

2.2. Ongoing-Title
Search for android:id="@id/ongoingTitle". This is the Ongoing-Title. As with other texts you can add/change "android:textAppearance", "android:textColor" and "android:textStyle"
The background is defined in the "android:background" attribute.

2.3. Notifications-Title
Search for android:id="@id/latestTitle". This is the Notifications-Title. As with other texts you can add/change "android:textAppearance", "android:textColor" and "android:textStyle"
The background is defined in the "android:background" attribute.

2.4. noNotificationsTitle
Search for android:id="@id/noNotificationsTitle". This is the text when no notification is displayed. As with other texts you can add/change "android:textAppearance", "android:textColor" and "android:textStyle"
The background is defined in the "android:background" attribute.

2.5. Clear-Button
Search for android:id="@id/clear_all_button". This is the text of the Clear-Button


3. Notifications
Files that have to be edited:
  • /system/frameworks/framework-res.apk
  • DECOMPILED_DIR/res/layout/status_bar_latest_event_content.xml
In this file you find the texts for
  • the title of the notification: Search for android:id="@id/title" . Textcolor and textstyle are editable via style or directly in the xml (see point 1.1.1.)
  • the description of the notification: Search for android:id="@id/text"
  • the time of the notification: Search for android:id="@id/time"

4. Color of the progress bars and seek bars
4.1. progress bars (like the one the market is using while downloading)
Files that have to be edited:
  • /system/framework/framework-res.apk
  • DECOMPILED_DIR/res/drawable/progress_horizontal.xml
The progress bar uses gradients to set the color which goes from top to bottom. You have to set three colors: start (top of the bar), end (bottom of the bar) and middle.
  • <item android:id="@id/background"> is for the unused part of the progress bar.
  • <item android:id="@id/progress"> is for the used part of the progress bar.

4.2. seek bars
Files that have to be edited:
  • /system/framework/framework-res.apk
  • DECOMPILED_DIR/res/values/styles.xml
Seek bars are progress bar like components which enables you to change a value within a range (you will see some in the sound settings (Settings -> Sound -> Volume) or when changing the brightness of the display).
By default, the seek bars are using the color settings of the progress bar to display the current position (so it should be possible to use different ones by using another .xml than the progress bars).
To modify it, open the styles.xml and search for <style name="Widget.SeekBar" parent="@style/Widget">. Here you can change the height (<item name="maxHeight"> and <item name="minHeight">), the appearance (<item name="indeterminateDrawable"> and <item name="progressDrawable">) and the graphic of the thumb (<item name="thumb">, [b]res/drawable/seek_thumb.xml).
The thumb itself comes in three files, located in res/drawable-hdpi:
  • seek_thumb_normal.png
  • seek_thumb_pressed.png
  • seek_thumb_selected.png



5. Color of selected text within text fields
Files that have to be edited:
  • /system/framework/framework-res.apk
  • DECOMPILED_DIR/res/values/styles.xml
Search for <style name="TextAppearance"> in the styles.xml. The color for the selected text is the node textColorHighlight


6. Transparency
6.1. notification drawer
If you use a ROM that doesn't have a transparent notification drawer by default, then you have to do this:
Decompile your SystemUI.apk using apktool.jar (or just decompile the classes.dex using baksmali). Browse to the folder smali/com/android/systemui/statusbar/ (or com/android/systemui/statusbar/ if you have just decompiled classes.dex). Edit the file StatusBarService.smali.
Search for the following line:
Code:
invoke-direct/range {v0 .. v5}, Landroid/view/WindowManager$LayoutParams;-><init>(IIIII)V
above that line you must have
Code:
    const/4 v5, 0x2
change this to
Code:
    const/4 v5, -0x3
After recompiling SystemUI.apk and pushing it to the phone you can get something like this (this is a screenshot out of the android emulator):


6.2. Status bar
If you use a ROM that doesn't have a transparent status bar by default, then you have to do this:
Decompile your SystemUI.apk using apktool.jar (or just decompile the classes.dex using baksmali). Browse to the folder smali/com/android/systemui/statusbar/ (or com/android/systemui/statusbar/ if you have just decompiled classes.dex). Edit the file StatusBarService.smali.
Search for the following line:
Code:
invoke-direct/range {v0 .. v5}, Landroid/view/WindowManager$LayoutParams;-><init>(IIIII)V
directly above it you will find
Code:
const/4 v5, 0x2
change this to
Code:
const/4 v5, -0x3
Recompiling SystemUI.apk and pushing it to the phone (I tested it with the emulator).


8. Graphics
After you have decompiled your .apk files you will end up with a lot of graphoc files in res/drawable-hdpi (or res/drawable-hdpi-v4 depending on your apktool.jar version).
This is the right place to edit notification icons, the notification bar und drawer, menu item background (list, grid, etc.), buttons, etc.
Some files will have .9.png. These are Nine-Patch-files. You will find more information on those files HERE and HERE

Let's begin with the status bar and notification drawer:

8.1. Status Bar
To get a new status bar background, you have to edit the file statusbar_background. You find it in the SystemUI.apk. Can be .png or .9.png

8.2. Notification Drawer
The notification drawer constists of several files.
8.2.1 Carrier/Provider area
To change the background for the Carrier/Provider area you have to edit the file status_bar_header_background. You find it in the SystemUI.apk. Can be .png or .9.png

8.2.2 Ongoing and Notifications
To change the background for the Ongoing and Notifications area you have to edit the file title_bar_portrait. You find it in the SystemUI.apk. Can be .png or .9.png

8.2.3 Notifications
To change the background for the notification area you have to edit the file status_bar_item_background_normal. You find it in the framework-res.apk. This will be the background if you're just look at the notifications.
When focusing a notification it will be the file status_bar_item_background_focus and when you push/press it you have to edit the file status_bar_item_background_pressed.
The notifications are divided by the file divider_horizontal_bright. Can be .png or .9.png

8.2.4 Unused area
The area where no notification is displayed is set in the file SystemUI.apk/res/layout/status_bar_tracking.xml.
You have to change the attribute android:background of the View-node. It can be a color-value, a predefined color or a graphics file. Depending on your ROM it will even display transparency. Can be .png or .9.png

8.2.5 Bottom
The bottom part of the expanded drawer is status_bar_close_on. You find it in the SystemUI.apk. This will use transparency too. Can be .png or .9.png

8.3. Animated notification icons
8.3.1 Battery (uncharging)
Depending on your ROM there will be more or less files for the battery gauge. They begin with stat_sys_battery_ followed by a number.
The order how they are get displayed is configured in the file res/drawable/stat_sys_battery.xml. You find it in the framework-res.apk.

8.3.2 Battery (charging)
Depending on your ROM there will be more or less files for the battery charging gauge. They begin with stat_sys_battery_charge_anim followed by a number.
The order how they are get displayed is configured in the file res/drawable/stat_sys_battery_charge_anim.xml. You find it in the framework-res.apk.

8.3.3 Download and upload animation
The files for the upload and download animation begin with stat_sys_download_anim and stat_sys_upload_anim followed by a number.
The order how they are get displayed is configured in the files res/drawable/stat_sys_download_anim.xml and res/drawable/stat_sys_upload_anim.xml. You find it in the framework-res.apk.

8.4. Other files
8.4.1 Title for detailed view in call history
You will find the background for this in the file title_bar_tall. You find it in the framework-res.apk.

8.4.2 Title for contacts
You will find the background for this in the file title_bar_medium. You find it in the framework-res.apk.

8.4.3 Background for the grid menu
What I mean is the grid menu when you press the menu button within an application.
The following files are used and you find them in the framework-res.apk.:
menu_background: This the background for one grid element.
menu_background_fill_parent_width: the whole grid
To change the text color you have to set the color for the style TextAppearance.Widget.IconMenu.Item in the file res/values/styles.xml (thanks for SimonVT for this hint)
After pressing "More" you will find another menu. The text colors for this menu can be found in the style Theme.ExpandedMenu.

9. Applications
9.1. Ongoing downloads
You should have noticed that the text color of ongoing downloads in the notification area doesn't look like the text colors for normal notifications.
To change this color you have to change the file /system/app/DownloadProvider.apk. You'll find the color values in res/layout/status_bar_ongoing_event_progress_bar.xml. It uses the same names as the one in the framework-res.apk. After you have recompiled it you can flash it to your phone. You should see the new colors at the next download.

9.1. Notifications of music player
If you are using the default music player (/system/app/Music.apk) then you can change the colors it uses for notifications as well.
After you have decompiled it, open res/layout/statusbar.xml and edit the values of @id/artistalbum and @id/trackname.


* All tools mentioned here have links to the corresponding project or forum page. If you have problems with these tools ask the creators.
* I do not take any responsibilty for any bricked phone.
* Thanks to: str355 and ClassicalGas for providing me with hints on how to change additional colors, graphics, etc.
* Thanks to: one_love_420 for giving me the link to HIS TUTORIAL to make the background of the contact list transparent.
* Thanks to: Yorzua for a faster way to make the notifaction area transparent (your "entry" point is easier to find)
Device: Nexus 5
Rom: RASTAKAT

Device: Nexus 7 (2013 LTE)
Rom: stock rooted


Follow me: @KBanause