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Quick hacked up app to create soft menu/back keys - SoftKeys v3.06

bpk

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Aug 17, 2009
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SoftKeys provides on screen keys for menu/home/back/search for devices that don't have those keys in hardware.

SoftKeys is also available in the Android Market

If you want to make themes for SoftKeys you will need the tools to build apks (eclipse/android sdk/etc) and the template from the git repository.

http://git.hoopajoo.net

Changelog:
2011/01/11 - 3.06 - Fix notification keys, boot straight to launcher on system startup
2011/01/11 - 3.05 - Fix notification softkeys <b>broken release</b>
2011/01/10 - 3.04 - Adds dpad and up to 6 custom keys, ability to put device
to sleep, improved performance for key injection, built in documentation, bugfixes
2010/12/23 - 3.00 - Most of the layout code has been rewritten to allow for theming, couple of bug fixes, SoftKeys is now gpl3

-----

Old Changelog (I'm too lazy to reorder this newest to oldest):
2010/12/04 - 1.01 - added launcher selector and remembers last launcher
2010/12/04 - 1.02 - added themes layouts from nemith, looks more like his screenshots but the spinner text is still black so the launcher chooser is hard to read, hopefully I'll have some time to fiddle with that soon
2010/12/04 - 1.03 - My fingers are too fat, I made everything in to image buttons and moved the launcher config to a prefs screen, if anyone has nicer icons let me know these are repurposed from generic android icons
2010/12/05 - 1.04 - Added alternate long-press soft home key for secondary launcher like if you want to use the built-in nook home, added configurable options for what to do if you tap or double tap the nook button while in the softkeys screen, long press on menu/back sends an extra back to the app before sending the requested button for apps that bring up pause screens or something when you move them to the background (angry birds, etc)
2010/12/05 - 1.05 - Integrated the dark theme from nemith, you can choose it in prefs now. Added options to disable the "exit" and "configure" buttons. If you disable "configure" you can still get to the preferences using the "menu" button in the notification bar (e.g. the normal menu button)
2010/12/05 - 1.06 - fix broken key handling, menu and back didn't work, don't use 1.05
2010/12/06 - 1.07 - add recent applications to top of the screen since we don't have a long-press-home recent apps dialog, looking in to re-ordering the buttons next
2010/12/07 - 1.08 - This release adds options to re-order the softkeys, insert soft keys in to the notification area, disable the recent apps list, long press the background to configure if you lost the configure button, and some options for changing the background to dim/blurred/none (note: the notification soft keys show up in the notification area, not in the main status bar like the nook menu/back, I can't put things there as an application you would need to modify system jars to get this effect)
2010/12/07 - v1.09 - Default to non-blurred background and added note about slowness, added option to return to softkeys after pressing back button
2010/12/08 - v1.10 - Selecting "SoftKeys" for your single-press home action will make it so if you launch softkeys, it will go to the launcher unless you hit home again, e.g. single-press home to go to launcher anywhere, double-press home to go to softkeys

2010/12/13 - v2.00 - This adds a new service overlay that is displayed above all apps allowing softkeys to be sent without having to mess with the home button. Default home key behavior has changed to be single click home from anywhere goes to your default launcher, double click home to get to the old softkeys interface. I'm still fiddling with service panel layouts and ideas so things will probably change, I just wanted to get some testing with something simple.
2010/12/17 - v2.01 - The service panel can now be dragged around the screen, you can change it from horizontal to vertial by long pressing it, you can adjust the transparency of the panel and the icon size, and also control if it closes after sending key events. If you don't want the dialog background on the panel you can disable it to just have floating buttons. NOTE: the signing certificate has changed to a release cert, you will need to uninstall the old softkeys before installing this one
2010/12/17 - v2.02 - Now you can move the button that brings up softkeys service, slightly better handling for switching horizontal/vertical layout by long press
 

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ddenson

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Mar 21, 2010
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Thanks! I agree with you - I didn't want to permanently re-assign the volume buttons, as I use them in some apps.

One request, if possible ) - Is there any way to make it go to launcher pro (or whatever you want as default) when pressing "Home" in the app? Right now, it asks me to "Pick Home" every time.
 
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bpk

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Thanks! I agree with you - I didn't want to permanently re-assign the volume buttons, as I use them in some apps.

One request, if possible ) - Is there any way to make it go to launcher pro (or whatever you want as default) when pressing "Home" in the app? Right now, it asks me to "Pick Home" every time.
I never personally use the "home" button, I use the quick drawer thing in the notification bar, so I don't really use a launcher. I could probably quickly add a button just for an alternate home or use last home I guess/choose new home I guess. I'll see what I can do. I've also though about adding arrow soft keys, for using in like connectbot, is there any interest in that?

There are also other minor irritating things, like apps that exit when they are not in focus will not work with this hack. For example, monkey kick (a game my son loves to play) will exit if it's not in focus so it never receives the soft keys. I suppose it doesn't matter though since it doesn't use the screen completely anyway, so he just gets to play on my old g1 :p
 

ddenson

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Mar 21, 2010
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I never personally use the "home" button, I use the quick drawer thing in the notification bar, so I don't really use a launcher. I could probably quickly add a button just for an alternate home or use last home I guess/choose new home I guess. I'll see what I can do. I've also though about adding arrow soft keys, for using in like connectbot, is there any interest in that?

There are also other minor irritating things, like apps that exit when they are not in focus will not work with this hack. For example, monkey kick (a game my son loves to play) will exit if it's not in focus so it never receives the soft keys. I suppose it doesn't matter though since it doesn't use the screen completely anyway, so he just gets to play on my old g1 :p
Thanks again. Using the last home would be great, if that's possible. I don't personally have any use for additional buttons, but maybe someone else can comment? Rgds.
 

nemith

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Awesome.

Code would be cool it would be nice to have them popup at the bottom of the screen like when you press the menu button in an app.

Also to take a screen shot you hold the 'n' button and tap the Vol - button. If you have as much trouble as I did with this method, you can also install drocap2 (root required) which does nice job.
 
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bpk

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I put the source up at

http: // git.hoopajoo.net

(take out the spaces I can't post links apparently)

That page has a list of my public git urls available, the last one is SoftKeys

if anyone wants to check it out, I'm currently looking at remembering the last launcher picked and defaulting to that for people that use launchers.

-- the rest of this is just for people looking in to the source, to provide some background to why I did it this way and alternate ideas I had --

If any devs look at it I thought I'd post some of my reasons for doing it this way:

1) I looked at creating a custom init service bound to a keycode at first, this would have made it so you didn't need superuser but would have required modifying your ramdisk. Even just making a daemon and communicating through some kind of pipe would require modifying the ramdisk to get it in init. In the end I abandoned the idea because it seemed easier for most normal people to just install an apk.

2) I looked at binding this to the camera button and remapping it in the keylayout, that would preserve the default home screen selections, but would require modifying a file in your /system/ so people would need to adb their stuff. Again I thought an apk would be easier and adding in shell commands would just complicate things for people and I'm not very good at support :p

3) I spent a LOT of time looking through git repos from aosp to find out if there was some way to bind to the long-press home and take over the recent apps list, since it doesn't even work. This would preserve your home settings and not even remove an existing function. After several hours grepping through the core.git stuff I decided this was just easier to do. If figured good enough is usually good enough. Though if someone can figure this out it would be sweet.

4) I really was hoping that we could just pull whatever archos is doing since that seems ideal, completely soft buttons. However after downloading the aos firmware I found it was encrypted and apparently currently can only be decrypted by the devices using the public key stored on them somewhere and I'm not aware of anyone having dumped their system images yet.

Also I've been looking through the superuser source to see how they handle the popups, they do a good job of not killing the running app and being all around unobtrusive, doing it their way for the popup buttons would be really sweet since it never seems to break the currently running app.
 
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Pinesal

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Great except one thing!

I have LauncherPro so when I click the home button, it always gives me a choice between LauncherPro and the original home. Can you make it so I can set a default? I want to just go straight to launcher pro then I select home.
 

Droidish

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Great except one thing!

I have LauncherPro so when I click the home button, it always gives me a choice between LauncherPro and the original home. Can you make it so I can set a default? I want to just go straight to launcher pro then I select home.
The thread is one page long and your question was already discussed.

One page was too much reading?
 
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nemith

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I have taken the source code and modified it to a be a row across the bottom of the screen, I think this looks a little bit better


Note the bar at the bottom of both. Ignore that ghosting on the second image.

If anyone is good at graphics I can use some images to create a fancier looking bottom bar.


How about double click home button for menu and hold the button for back? Just my 2 cents.
I am going to play to play with doing stuff like this. For example. Press Home for the menu. Press Home again to make the meny disappear. Double tap home for menu. Long Press for back.

I think next on my plate is setting a default launcher application to use when you hit the soft Home button.

Here is the github respository for anyone interested: https://github.com/bennetb01/SoftKeys
 

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lovelacer

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Aug 10, 2010
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I can't get this to install. The first one instaled fine but when I kick this off it says it will replace the first version then "application not installed" should I remove the first one manually?

Great work BTW. Thanks
 

chuffykow

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I can't get this to install. The first one instaled fine but when I kick this off it says it will replace the first version then "application not installed" should I remove the first one manually?

Great work BTW. Thanks
You can uninstall the first one via the following:

Code:
adb uninstall net.hoopajoo.android.SoftKeys
Install the second one normally via:

Code:
adb install SoftKeys.apk
 
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lovelacer

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Interestingly enough the adb uninstall command resulted in a failure as well. I just uninstalled via long press at my app screen and was able to install via root explorer on the nook.

Thanks for the help though.
 

bpk

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I do like those buttons, I'm not much for making things look nice, typically I just do back end stuff. If you want to rebase against head and post your git repo I'll merge those changes in to main.

I started using launcher pro and realized it does suck way too much to have to select your launcher every time. It's just 1 button press but I'm too lazy.

And for people re-installing, from adb you have to do:

adb install -r <APK>

Also to remove packages I use appremover, or you can use astro file manager with the package manager under the menu.
 
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kaicherry

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I have taken the source code and modified it to a be a row across the bottom of the screen, I think this looks a little bit better

Note the bar at the bottom of both. Ignore that ghosting on the second image.

If anyone is good at graphics I can use some images to create a fancier looking bottom bar.

Thanks very much for this, sir.

About those images: what size do ya need? i can do them right now.

-K
 

deeoh

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Jun 28, 2010
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I didn't want to start a new thread for this piece of information, so this looks like a good place to discuss it. My wife noticed that you can always access the back button by swiping from right to left across the notification toolbar. This worked on her non-root NC as well as my rooted one. Pretty cool!