With the release of the Nexus 5, I have been searching for options to give me all the features previously only available in custom ROMs. After many prodding and hinting from one of our own staff members here at Ausdroid (who came to rely on the Xposed framework due to using a non-Nexus phone) I looked in the direction of the Xposed framework.
The Xposed framework allows an Xposed module to alter any and every app’s behaviour when it starts, or at “runtime” by effectively hijacking the app_process file. If you are more interested in this process read back over the piece I wrote a few weeks ago. The Xposed framework allows the user to do pretty much any function, assuming a module has been developed for it, and the user has root access to their device. The list of Xposed modules is quite extensive and that is being continually added to.
The problem at the time was that Google has changed the way this process works in Android version 4.4 making Xposed framework non-functional and the developer of Xposed, Rovo89, at the time did not have a device that ran KitKat nor would be expected to for quite some time to test on. Thanks to the generosity of the Android community, and demonstrating the popularity of this framework modification, he had enough to purchase a Nexus 5 within a few days. Only a couple of days after receiving his Nexus 5 he managed to release a beta version of Xposed for 4.4, followed by another beta a few days later (although the first beta worked perfectly for me).
Now, only six days after the first beta release, the framework has lost its beta tag and can be considered safe (but keep in mind a nandroid before installing any mod is ALWAYS a good idea). To say the developer is a fast worker is an understatement. He has also incorporated other developers into his team and the result is a win for open source. Until this recent donation of the Nexus 5, he has never taken donations, nor sold his app.
Xposed framework comes with the same features the first 4.4 beta did last week and maintains the speed increases developed in that beta version. It still does not work with the experimental ART. Xposed works with the Dalvik run time only for now and possibly for a long time to come. Support for ART will require a major rewrite but I expect it will be investigated as ART sounds like it will become the default runtime for Android in the next 12 months. The version of Xposed released today, version 2.4, is backwards compatible to Android version 4.0.3.
Many modules have already been updated to work with KitKat although some functions still need more investigating.
I have run a custom ROM on every device I have owned since I got my G1 only a month or 2 after its release, and I am now running a very basic AOSP rom with only speed tweaks and Dalvik optimisations. However, I have nearly every single function available that I would on a fully customisable ROM.
Xposed allows you to pick and choose what customisations you want on your device without slowing it down with so many customisations that you would never want nor ever use. I now consider the donation to Rovo89 to be the best $20 I have spent in a long time and I also feel good having done it.
If you want to get many of the features of a fully custom ROM, head on over to the XDA thread (linked below), read the first post closely, then read it again. It not only explains what Xposed is but also has instructions of how to recover from a bootloop should that happen. Remember, Xposed framework is still a modification of the Android system and as such does carry some risk with it.
Be safe by reading all you can and performing backups and you should not have any headaches.