How To Port Theme's
(Using Apktool, and Theme Porter)
Since there are some people out there willing to learn but not exactly able to with all of the convoluted information on the forums, I decided I'd start putting together a guide similar to other's to aid those trying to learn. Stay tuned as this is under construction!
All credit is due to original creators of the product's used in this process, without them there wouldn't be a reason for this guide . Please be respectful of other's work, sometimes it's best to ask before attempting (if it is an original product) but at very least give credit and a link back.
What is porting?
Porting very basically is taking .png files and XML changes from one theme (typically created for a different model, but using the same resolution) and copying them into deodexed stock rom's such as EC10/EE19 Pick and Pack so that they can be flashed onto our phones and used with our framework and/or updated framework.
Sounds really easy, doesn't it? At first it will be cumbersome and frustrating, but after you've used the processes enough you will be able to snap these out in 30 minutes or less! The problem lies in the way these files are packaged, they are mainly just a .zip file that isn't compressed, however there is another layer to an .apk that you can only see once you've learned how to use tools such as apktool/apkmanager. The other tool we will use to aid us in this painstaking process is an application called Theme Porter, which essentially is a script that has been written that will do all of the legwork for us. Let's get started!
What will I need?
Apktool I currently use an older version of the program, you can download here, this one I know works for sure - last I heard the other has issues.
Begin by getting ThemePorter setup, you just need to unzip the download and that will be "theme porter" It is basically just made up of a few folders, and has a batch script that you will use to initiate the process. I just place mine on the desktop for easy access.
Secondly, get apktool downloaded and unzipped. place the apt folder somewhere where you can easily navigate to it through a command prompt. C: might be a good place if you want to save yourself some keystrokes.
Next just make sure you have notepad++ or another editor installed for use later.
Lastly, get 7zip installed so that you're able to open .apk and .zip files without actually extracting the files.
Where do I get my source files?
You can use any framework from any rom that can be decompiled correctly with apktool. This means when you decompile it, there are no errors and it generates a folder with the same name. Download the rom of your choice and save it (still zipped) somewhere on your desktop, and make an extra copy in case you mess up and overwrite the wrong files. You will ALWAYS use these in the NEW folder within theme porter, but we will get to that.
As for the theme you're trying to port, I usually use fascinate theme's, because it is basically a direct copy of our phone (Note: As of 2.2 they now have a Data on/off icon in their status pull down, where we have Silence, so this will often need to be taken care of separate from this process.) I've also recently started using Vibrant theme's, as these are also very similar - but there are tweaks with these too and I will try to cover them in the guide at some point. You may find others that will work too, at this point this is all I've had time to mess with. Either way, download the .ZIP file and also place it somewhere easy to access.
This is where it get's sort of difficult.
Stock ROM's have some differences to theme's that theme porter cannot handle for you. These are basically MOD's that may exist in the theme ROM and/or XML changes that have been made to alter text color's to accommodate the theme (black to white, white to black, etc.) These changes WILL NOT be ported over using theme porter and unfortunately also cannot be made AFTER using theme porter, so there is a certain process to go about this.
Now enter's apktool. Apktool is a script brut.all very kindly wrote to assist android developers in decompiling/recompiling .apk files without losing structure that normal compression software breaks. Basically there are two reasons you will need to take this step.
Editing Text Color- When choosing a theme to port you will need to pay attention to the screenshots the original poster has posted, as these will clue you in whether or not this needs to happen.
The Pick and Pack rom is essentially still stock, as far as XML goes - so the text on menu's for example, will be Black text on a white background. If the theme you chose has something different, you will need to take this step so that the text is legible in the final theme.
Adding accurate battery MOD- Also when choosing a theme you will need to take a look at the framework-res.apk file to determine if the themer has added the accurate battery mod. Essentially all this means is the XML and image's have been edited to show you each percentage of battery life vs. the stock one that only shows odd increments of 10/15/20.
Open framework-res.apk with 7zip
Navigate to res/drawable-hdpi (this also may be drawable-hdpi-v4 depending on your theme, I haven't quite figured out why this is)
Scroll down until you see the status_battery icons near the bottom - if there are not images for every percentage - then no mod exist's and you can skip using apktool for this step.
For either change you will follow this process to decompile To gain access to the XML/PNG files that contain these text values, we will need to decompile the framework-res.apk file from the rom.
Copy framework-res.apk from the rom and place in the APT folder created earlier.
Rename this to something shorter such as "FW.apk" for easier command lines
Start a command prompt (in windows 7 type "cmd" in the search bar within start menu)
Navigate to the APT folder, For example;
apktool d FW.apk
This will decompile the .apk into a folder called FW within the APT folder, allowing you access to the files. I will cover the actual changes in a later post.
At this point you have the files in a folder and they can be edited how you see fit (should you choose to just edit the stock ones vs. actually porting already changed ones).
You'll notice when examining the folder that there are quite a bit more files. Also, you will be introduced to the .9.png file type, which essentially is just a .png file that has some black lines embedded in the file to instruct android how to resize and reuse the image within the framework.
Any edits made to these files must be made carefully, as to not alter the integrity of these black lines. When the file is recompiled, the lines will disappear but will be included (if you tried doing this without decompiling - your photo editor would nix these lines and android wouldn't know how to size them)
If all your edits were complete, you would then recompile the file through apktool.(I will continue with the theme porting guide in the next step, this is just a good reference point for these steps.)
Type this into the command prompt
apktool b FW framework-res.apk
This would then create the framework-res.apk file in the APT folder, however there is an important step here. During this process the META folder is lost, and the AndroidManifest file is corrupted.
Delete the AndroidManifest.xml file from the new framework-res.apk
Copy the META-INF folder and the AndroidManfiest.xml file from the ORIGINAL framework-res.apk (now named FW.apk in this example) and place it in the new framework-res.apk using 7zip (do not extract the file, open the archive with 7zip.)
At this point, your framework could be ready for replacing in your theme.zip (will be covered later) with the edit's you've made Or if you're learning how to port theme's, continue reading.
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