Customize the look of your device (Homebrew) | webOS Nation

Customize the look of your device (Homebrew)

by Adam Marks Fri, 22 Oct 2010 9:45 am EDT

Welcome to "Homebrew Week" for PreCentral's Tip of the day. We will be focusing on some simple Homebrew apps, patches or hacks that will help you add some key functionality to your phone. No advanced knowledge is necessary, as long as you know how to use webOS Quick Install and Preware

One of the great aspects of webOS is the level of customization that you can make to the base Operating System, without any real coding knowledge on your part. While you can install the SDK to get access and manually tweek various file, tools such as webOS Quick Install and Preware make the job really easy. For this tip, we are going to review a number of (non patch) styling modifications that you can make to your device to really personalize it as your own.  Keep reading after the break to learn how


Using webOS Quick Install

webOS Quick Install Styling Mods

Jason Robitaille's webOS Quick Install is not only for loading apps and patch on to your device, but also has a number of "Styling Mods" that you can apply to your device. Just put your phone in Developer Mode, attach it via USB to the computer, load up webOS Quick Install, and then select Tools - Tweaks. In the Tweaks dialog box, select the "Styling Mods" tab and you will be presented with a number of options. Some of these, such as "Hide Nascar app" or "Battery % in top header" can be applied here or via a patch (also available in Preware), but the options on the right of the screen can not be applied via patch. Here, you can make changes such as replacing the boot logo (the glowing Palm logo that you see on a device reboot), changing the look of the Phone app's dial pad, or remove the rounded corners of the screen.

For a full more complete explanation of these tweaks, refer to the Tweaks Guide.pdf in the webOS Quick Install forum thread. And for some options of boot logos or phone backdrops, simply do a search in the forums and you should be able to find a lot of great options

Customizing your Lock Screen

While webOS Quick Install provides a number of common tweaks, you can really update almost any image that you see throughout webOS. For example, let's say you want to update the "Drag up to unlock" screen that you get when you turn on your phone. Take a look at the screenshots below. You can see the image on the left is your typical lock screen, with the shaded gradient covering the majority of your image and the yellow lock icon (displayed is both the "on" and "off" versions of the icon). However, the screenshot on the right isn't covered by as much of the shading, thereby displaying more of your photo, and you can see that the lock icon is replaced by a Yankee logo, in grey color when you are not touching the screen, and blue with a white outline when you tap the picture.

Lock Screen - Original         Lock Screen - updated

In order to change these images, you first need to find them. Using a file manager program like Internalz can help, or you can always ask around in the forums. For the lock screen, there are 5 key files you need, all located in the "/usr/palm/sysmgr/images/" directory:

  • screen-lock-padlock-off.png (84x84 pixels)
  • screen-lock-padlock-on.png (84x84 pixels)
  • screen-lock-wallpaper-mask-bottom.png (the bottom part of the shading)
  • screen-lock-wallpaper-mask-top.png (the top part of the shading)
  • screen-lock-target-scrim.png (the half-circle you see when you touch the screen).

If you want to get an original version of these files, you can use webOS Quick Install by selecting "Tools - Receive File" and including the directory/filename you want (e.g. "/usr/palm/sysmgr/images/screen-lock-padlock-off.png"). Then, just modify the file using a photo editing software, save it, and then use the "Tools - Send File" option webOS Quick Install to send the file back to where you need it. Once you perform a Luna Restart you should see the changes.

If you would like to get a copy of the four updated files for the screenshot above (excluding the "target-scrim"), I posted them in this forum thread. Also, note that it does not seem possible to change the "Drag up to unlock" text, or at least it has not been discovered yet.

Homebrew Apps, Patches and Themes

The tweaks above just scratch the surface as to what is possible in webOS with access to tools such as webOS Quick Install and Preware. There are literally hundreds of patches available to you that will let you do everything from hiding the Quick Launch Bar, changing the color of the background of the launcher, or updating the Top Bar by changing the carrier string (e.g. "Sprint") or adding the date. You also have access to almost 2,000 themes and a number of apps that are not available in the App Catalog that can affect the look of your device. For example, the Homebrew app Switcharoo Free will randomly change your wallpaper like many apps in the App Catalog (including an official Wallpaper Switcharoo app), but what sets the homebrew version apart from apps available in the official App Catalog is that it can use your own images on your device, a feature not available in the current webOS SDK.

So, what other tweaks, mods, hacks, apps, patches, etc have you all installed to make your device your own? 

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