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How to create BlackBerry 7 themes

BlackBerry Theme Studio
By Adam Zeis on 5 Dec 2011 03:24 pm EST
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CrackBerry's Do It Yourself Guide to Creating Themes for BlackBerry 7 Smartphones!

Until last week we didn't even have so much of a glimpse as to what would become of themes on BlackBerry 7 devices. With the release of Deck The Halls however, we finally saw that it is indeed possible to create themes for these BlackBerry 7 phones. Some vigilant forums members have found a way (albeit a fairly hard way) to create themes for BlackBerry 7 devices. Dave of BB Themes has sent along this guide so you can get cracking if you're looking to create some themes on your own. Keep reading for the full walkthrough or hit the forums for more discussion.

How to create BlackBerry 7 themes

Step 1

You need to make a theme that your device deems compatible. For this you need to trick your way past the theme builder. To achieve this, you need to navigate to c:\program files\research in motion\blackberry theme studio 6.0\resources\theme\blackberry6_480x360.

Here you find a few .properties files, grab the 9780blackberry6.properties file and copy it somewhere for safe keeping. Now you need to edit that file so its contents tell the theme studio to export for OS7. To do this you need to change a few lines of code in the file: line 10 is the theme.base which should = BlackBerry7_640x480_b and line 11 is theme.alternate which should = BlackBerry7_640x480_bs1. Next, alter line 25 to read 6.0,7.0 as the supported OS, line 26 to 7.0 as the default export option, then line 27 as 6.0,7.0 for the imported OS.

Now save and rename that file to 9900BlackBerry7.properties and paste the 9780 file saved from earlier. This now means theme builder will export themes for OS7 (because we dont want to wait half a year for RIM).

Step 2

You now need to export an (preferrably blank to start off with) OTA theme from theme builder and catch it in the temp folder. To do this, forums user Deficitism made a cracking thread which covers it for a few variations of Windows, thanks to a few other posters too. The files should appear in c:/users/namehere/appdata/local/temp (but locations per version of windows may be slightly different) and are normally in a pz_ folder. There are also a few files in the root temp directory. From the temp main folder you need the themenameyouexportedas.properties file, and all of the files in the pz_ folder.

Once you've copied these to a safe place then change the permissions on the temp folder back, and close Theme Builder.

Step 3

You now have a minimum of 3 SVG files, plus some other files from the pz_ folder. Using the great guide in the CrackBerry forums I was able to find each element and move them to the correct place, as the svg exports as a 9700 file, so the screen size just simply doesnt fit. This is the bit that takes the longest for all 3 SVG files, however I intend to publish my SVG files for a 'stock' layout once I'm very happy with them.

Step 4

Once you've altered your svg files and any graphics you may wish to use, use the guide in the CrackBerry forums to compile the theme. This guide also has a lot of other info on items for within the theme too.

Once exported, load via OTA to device and test and it's pretty much trial and error from there forward. I've personally only done the 9900 as it's the only device I can test, however one other I know of is molson0 from the forums who is sorting a 9810 too.

This guide of course uses a lot of helpful info from a lot of helpful people on the forums, and credit should definitely go to (in no particular order) russnash, molson0, lucky45, deficitism and the many others that have posted in the linked threads.

For more help and discussion on this topic, check out this thread or our developer forums.

Reader comments

How to create BlackBerry 7 themes

20 Comments

So will these themes still have the Liquid Graphics? I know that's what RIM was saying was the problem causing the delay. My assumption is that a theme made like this would look like a BB6 theme, meaning no Liquid Graphics.

What even is "liquid graphics" but their marketing bullshiz. The themes work and look fine on my 9930. RIM never tells you the truth...oh and there is no Santa. :(

Liquid graphics is RIM's name for hardware accelerated graphics, meaning drawing things with the GPU rather than CPU. If this causes a fall back to CPU graphics it'd mean things wouldn't be as smooth and would be more OS6-like, where say swiping between homescreen panels wasn't perfectly smooth.

Yes but that is not the only part of Liquid Graphics. When they made BB7, they went in and cleaned up all of the code to make things run smoother and more efficiently. This will allow for the themes to run smoother as well, as they are Java just like the OS. I have a couple of themes on my 9360, and they all run just as smoothly as my preloaded BlackBerry 7 theme.

In my eyes, russnash, molson0, lucky45 and deficitism are some of the Jedi of Theme Devs! I've been makin them since 07 and in recent times I have learned a lot from them. All this is makin me think about pullin a Farve and un-retiring! LOL

near perfect timing, can't wait for my semester to end so have NOTHING to do but spend my entire winter break working through this :D

Wats disappointing to me is the # of ppl whose had their hands on the P9981 and not 1 thought to extract the thme cods so we can try it on 9900...

For those wonderful theme developers who now have this news......hmmmm football team themes before the season ends???? ;-)

OP - can you post those "a 'stock' layout once I'm very happy with them. " that you mentioned in the article? Would appreciate not having to duplicate work others have already done.

I have done everything as this post indicated and am sure I have done it right but still no show on blackberry 9900 stimulator. Theme builder now export for 9900 and i grab the pz_properties and pz_directory and edit the svg files and export with a batch file but when i try to load on stimulator nothing happens. please help me! Any one can send me some info at kkevinwilson@gmx.com