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Theming and Skinning Older SDKs

Theming - 3.7.x and above

You can refer to the following sample app which implements theme inheritance -

HSThemeAppshow theming capabilities of the helpshift android sdk.

Helpshift Android SDK comes with three different themes -

  1. Helpshift.Theme.Light.DarkActionBar (Set by default)
  2. Helpshift.Theme.Light
  3. Helpshift.Theme.Dark

To make the Helpshift SDK look like your app, please follow the steps given below -

  1. Define your custom helpshift theme in your styles.xml and inherit it from one of the Helpshift themes mentioned above.
  2. Create a style named Helpshift.Theme.Base and set its parent to your custom helpshift theme.

For example:

You can customize android's styleable attributes along with Helpshift's styleable attributes. See Customizing Themes for the full list of Helpshift styleable attributes. If you want to customize the Window background, ActionBar background, ActionBar title color and Helpshift's ActionBar icon colors to match your app's colors, you can follow the example below -

<style name="MyCustomHelpshiftTheme" parent="Helpshift.Theme.Light.DarkActionBar" >
<item name="android:windowBackground">@color/custom_theme_color</item>
<item name="android:colorBackground">@color/custom_theme_color</item>
<item name="android:actionBarStyle">@style/ActionBarStyle</item>
<item name="hs__actionButtonIconColor">@color/your_custom_color</item>

<style name="ActionBarStyle" parent="@android:style/Widget.Holo.Light.ActionBar">
<item name="android:background">@color/custom_action_bar_background</item>
<item name="android:titleTextStyle">@style/ActionBarTitleStyle</item>

<style name="ActionBarTitleStyle" parent="@android:style/TextAppearance.Holo.Widget.ActionBar.Title">
<item name="android:textColor">@android:color/white</item>

<style name="Helpshift.Theme.Base" parent="MyCustomHelpshiftTheme" />

Customizing Themes

  • hs__actionButtonIconColor - used to indicate ActionBar icon's color

  • hs__contentSeparatorColor - used to indicate seperator line color of FAQ list

  • hs__searchActionButtonIcon - used to indicate drawable icon for search

  • hs__conversationActionButtonIcon - used to indicate drawable icon for new conversation action

  • hs__faqsListItemStyle - used to indicate Style used for Faqs list items

FAQ footer
  • hs__faqsPagerTabStripStyle - used to indicate style of FAQ pager tab strip
  • hs__faqsPagerTabStripIndicatorColor - used to indicate FAQ pager tab strip indicator color
  • hs__actionButtonNotificationIconColor - used to indicate notification badge icon color
  • hs__actionButtonNotificationTextColor - used to indicate text color on notification badge icon
  • hs__conversationNotificationActionButtonIcon - used to indicate drawable icon for notification badge
FAQ Tab indicator
  • hs__faqsFooterBackgroundColor - used to indicate background color of FAQ footer
  • hs__faqHelpfulButtonTextColor - used to indicate text color of FAQ helpful button
  • hs__faqUnhelpfulButtonTextColor - used to indicate text color of FAQ unhelpful button
  • hs__faqFooterSeparatorColor - used to indicate seperator line color of FAQ footer
  • hs__contactUsButtonStyle - used to indicate Style used for Contact Us button in FAQ footer
  • hs__faqHelpfulButtonStyle - used to indicate Style used for FAQ Helpful button
  • hs__faqUnhelpfulButtonStyle - used to indicate Style used for FAQ Unhelpful button
FAQ footer
  • hs__buttonCompoundDrawableIconColor - used to indicate color of icon drawn with new conversation button
Search footer
  • hs__messagesTextColor - used to indicate chat message text color
  • hs__sendMessageButtonIconColor - used to indicate color of chat screen send button icon in inactive state
  • hs__adminChatBubbleColor - used to indicate admin chat bubble color
  • hs__userChatBubbleColor - used to indicate user chat bubble color
  • hs__chatBubbleAdminBackground - used to indicate 9-patch drawable for admin chat bubble
  • hs__chatBubbleUserBackground - used to indicate 9-patch drawable for user chat bubble
Chat screen icons
  • hs__chatBubbleSeparatorColor - used to indicate chat bubble seperator color in screenshot request and review request message
  • hs__sendMessageButtonActiveIconColor - used to indicate color of chat screen send button icon in active state
  • hs__attachScreenshotButtonIconColor - used to indicate attach screenshot button icon color in request screenshot message
  • hs__reviewButtonIconColor - used to indicate review button icon color in review request message

review-attach-icon.png / .major-width /

  • hs__acceptButtonIconColor - used to indicate resolved request accepted icon color
  • hs__rejectButtonIconColor - used to indicate resolved request rejected icon color

resolved-request-icons.png / .major-width /

  • hs__csatDialogBackgroundColor - used to indicate csat dialog background color
csat dialog background color
  • hs__attachScreenshotActionButtonIcon - used to indicate drawable icon for attach screenshot
  • hs__startConversationActionButtonIcon - used to indicate drawable icon for staring new conversation
  • hs__searchOnNewConversationDoneActionButtonIcon - used to indicate drawable icon for 'done' in search result FAQ when showSearchOnNewConversation flag is set to true
New conversation screen

Applicable to SDK v3.9.0 and above

  • hs__searchHighlightColor - used to change the color of highlighted highlight color

The above list of styleable attributes will continue to grow in the future depending upon SDK requirements.


For theming of Helpshift SDK v3.2.0 and below refer theming and skinning docs.

Theming - 2.8.x and above

You can refer to the following sample app which implements theme inheritance -

HSThemeAppshow theming capabilities of the helpshift android sdk.

Since SDK v3.5.0 and above, all the resource files have been moved to a single file values.xml under- helpshift-android-sdk/res/values/values.xml.

The Helpshift Android SDK inherits theme styles from the parent set in helpshift-android-sdk/res/values/hs__themes_base.xml file. As the Helpshift SDK depends on the v7 appcompat library, this parent can be readily changed to -

  1. @style/Theme.AppCompat.Light.DarkActionBar (Set by default)
  2. @style/Theme.AppCompat.Light
  3. @style/Theme.AppCompat

To set the Helpshift SDK to inherit from your app theme styles -

  1. Inside helpshift-android-sdk/res/values/hs__themes_base.xml change parent of Theme.Helpshift.Base
  2. Rename helpshift-android-sdk/custom_rules_helpshift.xml to helpshift-android-sdk/custom_rules.xml
  3. Inside helpshift-android-sdk/ set the helpshift.res.parent variable to the path to you project res/ folder containing the parent theme.

Additionally for 3.2.0 and above

  • Inside helpshift-android-sdk/res/values/hs__colors.xml change the following colors to match your app's theme colors

<color name="hs__actionBarTextColorPrimary">#F3F3F3</color>
<color name="hs__actionBarTextColorSecondary">#000000</color>

  • Inside helpshift-android-sdk/res/values/hs__themes.xml you can change the following -
  1. hs__selectableItemBackground - Your Selectable Menu Item background style

<item name="hs__selectableItemBackground">

  1. HSActionBarCompat (android:background) - Your ActionBar background drawable or color

<style name="HSActionBarCompat">
<!-- Action Bar background -->
<item name="android:background">#222222</item>

  • If you are using themes which inherit from either AppCompat or ActionBarSherlock; add reference to these libs inside helpshift-android-sdk/




**Please make sure the paths to the libs are relative paths.**

Skinning overview - 2.7.x and below

The Helpshift 2.7.x SDK for Android comes with two default themes. Viz.

  1. HSThemeLight
  2. HSThemeDark

Each theme consists of three parts. For Example the HSThemeLight comprises the following components:-

  1. hs_resources.xml contains the colors used in the HSThemeLight theme and are prefixed with hs_light.
  2. hs_theme_light.xml in res/values folder for pre-Honeycomb theme values.
  3. hs_theme_light.xml in res/values-v11 folder for post-Honeycomb theme values.

Similarly, the colors used in HSThemeDark are prefixed with hs_dark. The hs_resources.xml file also contains other resources which are common to both themes. Example:- paddings, fonts and font sizes etc. To apply a theme to any activity, simply change the android:theme value for that activity in AndroidManifest.xml.

Theme structure - 2.7.x and below

  • hs_resources.xml - This file declares the reference attributes which are used to refer different styles depending on the theme applied. It also contains theme specific colors used in the HSThemeLight and HSThemeDark. Example:-

    <attr name="hs_activityHeaderStyleRef" format="reference"/>
    <!-- Light theme colors -->
    <color name="hs_light_header_background_color">#58759d</color>
    <!-- Dark theme colors -->
    <color name="hs_dark_header_background_color">#222222</color>
  • hs_theme_light.xml - This file contains a theme style named HSThemeLight which extends android themes styles. The HSThemeLight style contains the reference attributes previously declared in hs_resources.xml, which now refer corresponding styles depending on the theme in use. Here we can see that the hs_activityHeaderStyleRef attribute refers to the @style/hs_lightActivityHeaderStyle style which is defined in the same file as follows.

    <style name="HSThemeLight" parent="@android:style/Theme.Light.NoTitleBar">
    <!-- Attributes -->
    <item name="hs_activityHeaderStyleRef">@style/hs_lightActivityHeaderStyle</item>
    <style name="hs_lightActivityHeaderStyle">
    <item name="android:background">@color/hs_light_header_background_color</item>
    <item name="android:textColor">@color/hs_light_header_font_color</item>
  • hs_theme_dark.xml - Similarly, this file contains the style for HSThemeDark which contains the same attribute declared in hs_resources.xml. However, this one points to a dark style. Here we can see that the hs_activityHeaderStyleRef attribute refers to the @style/hs_darkActivityHeaderStyle style which is defined in the same file as follows.

    <style name="HSThemeDark" parent="@android:style/Theme.Black.NoTitleBar">
    <!-- Attributes -->
    <item name="hs_activityHeaderStyleRef">@style/hs_darkActivityHeaderStyle</item>
    <style name="hs_darkActivityHeaderStyle">
    <item name="android:background">@color/hs_dark_header_background_color</item>
    <item name="android:textColor">@color/hs_dark_header_font_color</item>

Customizing Themes - 2.7.x and below

Themes can customized in two ways.

  1. Changing color resources - You can either change the color resources directly in the hs_resources.xml file for either a light or dark theme.

  2. Extend and define custom theme - You can extend one of the given themes and customize certain style attributes to refer your customized styles. These customized styles can use custom colors according to your new theme. Example:-

<style name="HSThemeCustom" parent="style/HSThemeLight">
<!-- Attributes -->
<item name="hs_activityHeaderStyleRef">@style/hs_customActivityHeaderStyle</item>
<style name="hs_customActivityHeaderStyle">
<item name="android:background">@color/hs_custom_header_background_color</item>
<item name="android:textColor">@color/hs_custom_header_font_color</item>

You can preview these customizations in Eclipse by selecting the custom theme as shown.

<Image src="/static/books/android/custom-theme-switch.jpg" width="full" alt="custom-theme-switch.jpg" />

List of style references - 2.7.x and below

You can inspect the style references in Eclipse by opening a layout file, double-cliking on the UI element and checking the style="?hs_attributeName" attribute. Example:-


The following style references are declared in hs_resources.xml. These refer to corresponding styles depending on the themes applied, as shown above.

  • hs_sectionHeaderBgStyleRef - used to define the background color for section header.
  • hs_sectionHeaderTextStyleRef - used to define the text style for section header.
  • hs_sectionHeaderDividerStyleRef - used to define the color for the header divider.
  • hs_sectionItemTextStyleRef - used to define the text styles for section items.
  • hs_sectionItemDividerStyleRef - used to define the color for the section items divider.
  • hs_sectionFooterTextStyleRef - used to define text color, font, size etc. for text in section footer.
  • hs_searchFooterButtonStyleRef - used to define style for "Report a new Issue" button in the search screen.
  • hs_messagesTextStyleRef - used to define the text style of all messages in chat. The color for messages inside chat bubbles is taken from hs_messagesTextColorRef
  • hs_activityHeaderStyleRef - used to define the header styles for all activities.
  • hs_activityBgStyleRef - used to define the background of all activities
  • hs_listStyleRef - used to define the background color of the various list views
  • hs_stubStyleRef - used to define the horizontal stub color.
  • hs_editBoxStyleRef - used to define the background color of the edit text boxes used for the search and chat.
  • hs_messagesTextColorRef - used to define text color for messages inside chat bubble in HSMessages activity.
  • hs_webviewTextColorRef - used to define the text color of the content of web view inside HSQuestion activity.
screen-1.png screen-2.png screen-3.png screen-4.png
  • On the Settings page of the agent dashboard under the Apps tab you can find details of your added apps and additional configuration options for the SDK.