Whitelabel Builds

F-Droid can be rebranded and embedded in Android ROMs, building upon F-Droid as the “white-label” version. This is a basic introduction for how to do that. For this, gradle flavors” are used for building rebranded, configured versions of F-Droid.

Starting in app/build.gradle, set the package names and create a flavorDimension and productFlavors:

def fullApplicationId = "com.mycompany.full"
def basicApplicationId = "com.mycompany.basic"
// yes, this actually needs both quotes https://stackoverflow.com/a/41391841
def privilegedExtensionApplicationId = '"com.mycompany.privileged"'


[snip]


android {
    flavorDimensions "base", "mycompany"
    productFlavors {
       mycompany {
           dimension "mycompany"
       }
    }
}

Then gradle will automatically look at whole set of folders for custom versions of files:

  • Java sources: app/src/mycompany/java - Manifest file: app/src/mycompany/AndroidManifest.xml - Android resources: app/src/mycompany/res - Assets: app/src/mycompany/assets

There cannot be duplicate Java classes, but any extensions can be managed there. For anything in res/, i.e. strings.xml or drawable resources, the files in app/src/mycompany/res will take precedence over the default F-Droid ones. For example, override the app icon by providing app/src/mycompany/res/drawable/ic_launcher.xml.

To specify a custom set of app repositories, provide app/src/mycompany/res/values/default_repos.xml. The format of that file is a String array, with sets of 8 elements per repo. For example, here’s the Guardian Project repo config enabled by default with push request always accepted by the client:

 <!-- name -->
 <item>Guardian Project</item>
 <!-- address -->
 <item>https://guardianproject.info/fdroid/repo</item>
 <!-- description -->
 <item>
   The official app repository of The Guardian
   Project. Applications in this repository are official
   binaries build by the original application developers and
   signed by the same key as the APKs that are released in the
   Google Play store.
 </item>
 <!-- version -->
 <item>13</item>
 <!-- enabled -->
 <item>1</item>
 <!-- priority -->
 <item>10</item>
 <!-- push requests: ignore, prompt, always -->
 <item>always</item>
 <!-- pubkey -->
 <item>
   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
 </item>

Basic vs Full Product Flavors

F-Droid itself already has two flavors built-in: basic and full. full is the app known as F-Droid, while basic is the most minimal possible version of the app that still provides the core app store functionality. Since those are in a separate flavorDimension, the added customizations will apply to both. Choosing which one to build is done by specifying the “Build Variant” in Android Studio, and the gradle target, .e.g ./gradlew assembleMycompanyFullDebug.

Customizations

When using gradle build flavors, it is very easy to customize any of the XML files. So this is the recommended way to start with customizing your build of F-Droid. Any XML file in app/src/main/res can be overridden by placing an XML with the same name in app/src/mycompany/res.

Removing ActionBar/Menu Items

To hide things like “Swap Apps” or “Repositories”, override app/src/main/res/menu/main.xml by copying it into app/src/mycompany/res/menu/main.xml, and removing and/or customizing the items there.

Preferences

For a custom build that enables Automatic Updates by default, override app/src/main/res/xml/preferences.xml. You can customize the preferences and their default values in app/src/mycompany/res/xml/preferences.xml. The fully automatic update requires Privileged Extension. With regular access, the updates will only automatically download. The user still needs to click install on each one.